ACCCOMMODATION DURING THE LONDON OLYMPICS
Sunday January 16, 2011 by Alex Wood
Many of our clients are already asking about accommodation during the Olympics and it certainly looks like it's going to be a challenging time for Serviced Accommodation providers.
The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics will take place on 27 July and the closing ceremony 16 days later, on 12 August. Taking into account the build-up in the weeks beforehand, as well as the numbers of people who will be staying on to enjoy tourist and cultural attractions in the capital and further afield, the disruption could last for weeks. The Paralympics, which run from 29 August to 9 September, will also impact on the short-term property picture around that time.
I'm recommend that our clients plan ahead now to ensure their needs are met and now is the time to start managing their expectations!
We're suggesting that they consider what their normal volume of inbound assignees would be over the summer months, and how can they manage numbers for 2012. For example they could change dates or locations of graduate programs to take into account the Olympics. Re-arrange when projects are due to start or finish that might require more personnel to be moved to London. They may also need to revise budgets to take into account potentially inflated prices if they do need to bring people here during that time. They should also make their staff are aware of the capability for bringing spouses or children with them. Larger apartments will be at a premium in particular and so this should be discouraged during the Olympic period.
The serviced apartment providers themselves mostly seem to be taking the attitude of business as usual. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has taken a small allocation of apartments with some providers but most companies are viewing their existing relationships as the main importance and are trying to protect their corporate clients. Many serviced apartment providers are not taking advanced bookings for the 2012 Olympic period however, with the usual seasonal increase in demand and the extra Olympic requirements, it's likely that there will still be a big shortfall in availability of service apartments.
The serviced apartment buildings that are taking advanced bookings are certainly taking advantage of the increase in rentals that they can demand and mostly are already fully booked. All very well in the short term but it's a risky strategy for their long term business.
Posted by Alex Wood