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For Business, Corporate Travel & Meeting Buyers & Arrangers

Ash cloud brings mixed fortunes for UK hotels

Hotels in London have experienced a sharp rise in business since the start of the travel lockdown caused by volcanic ash in European air space.

Properties in the capital and at airports across the country have seen burgeoning occupancy levels as business travellers and tourists remain stranded from home.

However, some hotels have seen cancellations of rooms and meeting spaces, as people have been unable to travel to their destination, instead remaining at home.

A spokesperson for Marriott hotels said: "Marriott has seen a slight increase in reservations, including London, Paris, Amsterdam and Frankfurt.

"There has been an effect on  business, but it's too early to assess the overall impact, because some hotels have a lower demand and other hotels are obviously very busy, particularly in London."

Travellers may fear that hotels will take advantage of the situation and increase rates, but Marriott says this is not the case for its hotels: "Our pricing policy is not to take adantage of pricing opportunities that arise from circumstances like this. Rates are staying the same as they would have been had this not been happening."

It's a mixed situation for Rezidor hotels also. Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport has seen increased bookings for rooms after flights were cancelled on Thursday, but a large conference, with people due to fly in from abroad to attend, has had to be cancelled.

Radisson Blu Hotel London Stansted Airport had a large number of guests on Thursday and Friday, but over the weekend the hotel saw its lowest occupancy in the past year.

The Heathrow Park Inn Heathrow is still busy, with cancellations being filled by stranded passengers.

Hotels on the continent have also been affected. The Park Inn at Charles de Gaulle Paris International Airport was full on Thursday, with occupancy now stabilised at between 85 and 90%.

Rezidor said the hotel is hosting stranded passengers until the end of the week. Local corporate guests who travel by car or train have not changed their plans to stay at the hotel, but groups due to arrive from outside Europe have cancelled, as have three residential seminars.

Rezidor said it has not increased rates due to the current situation.

Once the situation with cancelled flights eases, however, hotel companies may worry about a sharp drop in occupancy and what to expect when it's over - whether business travellers will be put off leaving home.

www.marriott.com   www.rezidor.com

Comments

Weetwood Hall in Leeds has a great solution for this situation. The Data Conferencing centre at the hotel is available Free of charge during the no-fly period. Meetings can be held and interactive access to documents by remote attendees via a pc, video camera and telephone. Worth checking out to keep business moving. www.weetwood.co.uk

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