The London Olympics Hospitality Business

The London Olympics is set to radically transform the UK tourism industry for years to come. UK hoteliers can expect to discover new markets and new revenues – but are they truly prepared for the London Olympics?

The greatest long-term benefit to every hotelier in every region of the UK is the strengthening of “Brand Britain”.

Although the UK has good visibility as an international destination, the Olympics will open new source markets for hoteliers to exploit in years to come.


“Brand Britain” will also be strengthened by the substantial investment into the country’s infrastructure and amenities. New and refurbished sporting venues and arenas will continue to attract visitors after the Olympics closing ceremony.

Also, the Games have regenerated parts of London that would not otherwise have been touched. For example, the Olympic Park is the transformation of 2.5sq km of industrial, contaminated land in east London and, after the Olympics, the park will create new revenue generating opportunities for nearby hoteliers.

For “Brand Britain” to be successful in the long-term, hoteliers and other tourism operators must ensure that new visitors receive a consistent, high-quality experience. Only then can the industry experience repeat custom from the games.

Already, 300 venues and suppliers have signed up to the 2012 UK Event Industry Fair Pricing and Practice Charter (FPPC), designed to ensure that pricing for the period around the 2012 Games is both consistent and reasonable.

Hotel Industry Magazine has turned to a leading brand and marketing strategist, S Harrison from The Profitable Hotel Company and asked him how hoteliers can prepare themselves for the London Olympics. You can see their interview with him below:

How should UK hoteliers prepare and position themselves for the London Olympics?

Harrison: I think firstly, they need to consider the before-and-after impact of visitors arranging their holidays around the event itself. This may include pre and post stays and I think the impact will be felt right across the country.

Secondly, they should consider the impact of the event itself. This will be intensive in terms of occupancy and rate and most London hotels have sophisticated models in place to deal with this. For example, some are holding out and others have done deals selling all their rooms at a known price.

For the provinces this could be a “curate’s egg”. We will see high occupancies in those pockets of activity located near Olympic venues, while other areas could suffer from the lack of both domestic leisure breaks and residential meetings.

Do you think it’s important for hoteliers to incorporate London Olympics-related ideas into their packages?

Harrison: In terms of the “welcome mat”, clearly all hoteliers should use the occasion to create a unique atmosphere – whether directly benefiting or not. It is fundamentally important that the entire UK hotel industry recognises that it will have to step up to the plate and offer a first-class welcome to what could possibly be completely new inbound markets.

What kind of investment is expected in the UK’s sports and leisure infrastructure as a result of the games?

Harrison: Although there will be an increase in sporting activity post the Olympics – as witnessed by the use of tennis courts post Wimbledon – it would be folly in the economic climate to expect a whole new infrastructure of investment in facilities. In the first instance, Government will have to ensure that those facilities that had to be built for the Olympics retain a momentum within those sports.

There will be an opportunity for some hoteliers – or even wider accommodation providers such as universities – to ride a longer wave with some sports. New awareness will be built many sports and we could find certain sport-proud nations becoming a new niche market. Similarly, a regional area that has experienced significant investment for a particular sport could see a more international presence going forward – this is especially true for cycling, sailing and rowing.

What happens after the games? Should we prepare for a decline?

Harrison: Certainly not: we are likely to experience a long-term “halo” affect! With the UK under the spotlight, we can expect a sudden surge of interest in the country and a rise in inbound visitors.

2012 presents an opportunity to the UK hospitality industry – how should we best maximise that opportunity?

Harrison: The overall opportunity has to be grasped for the good of Brand Britain. Sadly, few people understand how to think strategically let alone invest in their product at that level of thinking. So yes, of course there are huge long-term opportunities to build on a fresh awareness of Britain as a country that has more to offer than just history.

We keep our fingers crossed for all the hoteliers to do a good job during the Olympics. Remember, that you should have already started doing the hard work in order to be successful.

Is your hotel already fully booked? If you answered yes, then it is perfect. But Ozg might help you to generate even more revenue.

Ozg Hospitality Consultant
Ozg Consulting (P) Limited
Website: http://hospitality.ozg.in

Email: hospitality.consultant@ozg.co.in