HOTELS in Henley have increased their rates for the Olympic Games.
The Red Lion, Hotel du Vin and Milsoms Hotel have raised prices by up to 64 per cent for the duration of the event from July 28 to August 12.
A Henley Standard survey found that Hotel du Vin, in New Street, increased its rates from £150 for a standard double room on May 12 and 13 to £195 on July 28 and 29.
Sales manager Katherine Selby said: “People are going to come here because they will enjoy the area while being able to go to London and the rowing events at Dorney.
“It’s positive that the events are happening nearby.
“We only increase our rates within normal parameters if there’s supply and demand. I wouldn’t say the event is being exploited.”
Normal rates at the Red Lion, in Hart Street, are between £145 and £165 but the hotel was charging £225 for Olympic dates.
Manager Amit Kumar said: “It all depends on availability. We’re not exploiting the event, we’re just trying to make money. In the main Olympic area in London there are hotels offering rooms for £500 to £600.
“There will be people coming to stay in Henley for the Olympics and negotiated rates can be done if I see the hotel isn’t filling up.” Milsoms Hotel, in Market Place, increased its normal Saturday price of £100 to £135 and the Sunday charge of £60 to £95 for the period of the Games.
Front of house manager Tom Leader said the rates had been set by the company’s head office.
He said: “It’s the Olympics and a special occasion. They’ve put up the prices because they can get away with it.
“We’re really nowhere near the London Olympics and it’s exploiting the event a little bit. Personally, I would have kept the same prices.”
Phyllis Court Club has kept its rates the same at £175 for weekends and £140 for during the week.
Front of house manager Janina Bohle said: “We’re keeping the rates at the same price as the rest of the year and there may be special deals around this time as well.
“We’re a private members’ club so we want to keep our members happy, although we also accept bookings from non-members.
“If you look at the other hotels, they are just doing the same as they do during the regatta and we also put our rates up then.” Bed and breakfasts contacted by the Standard said they had no plans to raise prices.
Pamela Stewart, who owns the Amanchris bed and breakfast in Baronsmead, Henley, said: “Let’s face it, everybody is finding it very tough at the moment so why should we profit from people who are finding it very hard to get here?”
David Bridekirk, of Abbottsleigh bed and breakfast in St Mark’s Road, Henley, said he had no plans to raise prices and was already fully booked during the Games.
John Williams, of Lenwade bed and breakfast in Western Road, said he was maintaining his £85-a-night charge.
He said: “We know at the regatta we’re going to get people to pay the premium but I don’t think the Olympics reach here.
“Prices do go up everywhere though. Anywhere you go where there is something happening and people tend to do it to cash in.”
Henley Mayor Elizabeth Hodgkin said the prices reflected a free market.
She said: “Everyone is going to judge the market as they see fit. If they can let the room at those prices they are going to do the business and if they don’t sell the rooms then it’s their choice.
“Henley has a massive connection to the Olympics. We have had two Games here and have the original rowing course. It’s the home of rowing and we have Dorney just up the road.
“Hopefully, people want to come and see our lovely town during this time.”
Henley town manager Peter McConnell believes the charges are a reflection of the summer holiday period rather than the Olympics.
He said: “I don’t think the hotels are capitalising on the Olympics. It’s quite simply supply and demand.
“The rates are way lower than what they charge during the regatta. The rates will go up in midsummer because there’s a lack of availability, which is the main problem.”
Karen Wade, who chairs the Henley Partnership’s tourism group, said: “I think people expect to pay more for events like this so it’s not exploitation.
“Hotels worldwide put their prices up in the peak season and I think the Olympics will be good for tourism.
“I don’t think the hotels will put their charges up so much that people don’t come. They are business people and know what they have to offer.”
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