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While many hoteliers are anticipating a bumper year in 2012, the Olympics may not provide an easy cash crop warns a leading travel researcher.
Hotels in London not only need a plan for the Olympics, but for before and after the event, according to Andy Storey, managing director of market intelligence company Rubicon.
He said hotels in Vancouver were left virtually empty in the weeks leading up to the winter Olympics in February.
Storey warned hotels would need to actively market their rooms during the weeks before the event, especially as business travel is likely to reduce dramatically.
"Everybody seems to think it will look after itself," said Storey, but if hotels are left empty, they could lose out financially.
It's "potentially more important" than during the Olympics itself, he added.
Hotels should also avoid overcharging for rooms, said Storey. "In Vancouver there were still rooms available because people did charge twice as much."
This sentiment was echoed by David Levin, who was featured as one of ABTN's hoteliers of the week in September.
Levin said it is important that hotels look after their regular guests, as it is these that provide future business.
"In 2012 the Olympics will make a very big impact on the hotel industry," said Levin.
"It's very important that the hotels treat it seriously and look after the people coming for the Olympics from all over the world, and my colleagues seem to be saying they want a huge price, [but] it's very important that we should look after our regulars."
Storey's comments come as research by the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) warns against expecting overly large numbers of travellers in London for the games.
According to the study, the number of foreign visitors expected at prevous Olympics did not materialise.
Sydney anticipated 132,000 visitors, but received only 97,000 during the games, while Athens hoped for 105,000 per night, but received fewer than 14,000, said ETOA.
No host city has predicted the demand for an Olympics correctly, said Tom Jenkins, ETOA's Executive Director, but travel agents are already having difficulty bookings hotels in London in 2012.
"At the moment a false expectation of bookings is in danger of destroying an export industry," he said. "For August 2012, ETOA members - who alone regularly deliver over 15,000 hotel rooms per day - cannot reserve space."