Some London hotels charging Olympics premiums of 5-times or more

LONDON With just over a year before the 2012 Summer Olympics kick off in London, hoteliers in the notoriously expensive UK capital are charging rate premiums for the Games that are several times normal prices.

Olympics organizers worry that high hotel rates could suppress attendance at the Games, as well as unrelated UK tourism. Financial Times quotes the general secretary of UKinbound, a trade organization for tour providers, as expressing shock over the rates hoteliers are posting for next summer. “Hotels appear to be gripped by a frenzy of greed,” says Mario Bodini.

Government tourism agency Visit Britain is asking hoteliers to sign a fair pricing agreement for the Olympics. A spokesman says the organization is bracing for reports of exponentially high rates. “The potential for people to stay away from London is a live issue,” says spokesman Chris Foy. “The issue is what we do about it.”

While most hotels have yet not begun publicly listing rates for late July and early August of 2012, wholesale tour companies say 4-star hotels are quoting prices several times what they would normally charge. In one case, an unnamed 4-star London hotel is reportedly charging £1,100—more than five times the regular rate.

Financial Times further reports that a hotel is charging a 100% cancellation fee for Olympics bookings.