Glasgow 2014 hotels price rise raises concerns

By Chris McLaughlinCommonwealth Games reporter, BBC Sport
Glasgow urged not to 'fleece' fans

Glasgow hotels have been urged not to "fleece" visitors seeking accommodation at the 2014 Commonwealth Games and risk losing the city's "friendly" tag.

The BBC looked at 10 hotels, picked at random, and compared their prices during Games time against prices outside of the 11-day event.

It discovered the average price increase on a daily rate for a standard double room during the Games was 410%.

Glasgow 2014 organisers are encouraging people to be patient.

They have also pointed to Edinburgh and Stirling as alternative bases during their visit.

Both cities are less than an hour's commute from the host city and are expecting to see an overspill.

"Trying to find somewhere to stay has been a very unpleasant surprise," said Chris French from Rugby, who has secured tickets for the boxing event at next year's Games.

"Everywhere I looked, the prices just seemed to have zeros added to them. Some rooms that are usually £100 per night are now going for £800 - and you don't even get your breakfast with that.

"I don't mind paying above the average for accommodation, but please don't fleece me. It's not fair."

During the investigation, it was discovered that one budget hotel in the centre of the city that usually offers a room for around £25 had priced the same room at £250 during the Commonwealth Games.

Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, says the price increases can be justified in part, but concedes that those pitching prices too high are not helping.

"It'll turn people away from their property for sure," he said.

"There is a bit of a 'wait and see' from the smaller hotels and guesthouses where they are not sure about the level of demand, so we are encouraging them to really look at their prices. There are mitigating circumstances that will reduce those prices.

"At the moment, some hotels have allocations with companies and with tour groups linked to the organisers. Some of those allocations will come back onto the market in January."

Natalie Cuttings, the manager of Babbity Bowster Hotel in Glasgow, said "people putting up their prices just paints a very different picture of the place".

"Visitors are coming here trusting that we are not going to take advantage," she added.

There were similar complaints of overpricing during the London Olympics in 2012, with one report showing an average price jump of about 300%.

Glasgow had promised to learn lessons from London, but it seems there is only so much they can do.

When asked by the BBC to comment about concerns of overpricing, the organisers of next year's sporting event said they were working with "tourism and travel partners", including Glasgow City Marketing Bureauexternal-link and VisitScotland,external-link to "ensure visitors fully enjoy their experience of visiting the Games, the city and Scotland".

A statement added that there is "a range of accommodation options" offering "affordable pricing, excellent hospitality and value for money".

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