Hotels cash in on London attack...

Cite, full story.

How the hell do these people sleep at night? (Ignoring the obvious).

Yes, despicable.

Although the ‘businessman from Manchester’ is a moron who behaved in a typically-English way: willingly stump up the cash, and then complain about it. Why not tell’em to fuck off and walk out the door?

Sounds like some ‘Name and Shame’ is called for.

Absolutely. I hope someone takes out a full page in the Times and lists all the pricks.

[McBain]on a big pile of money surrounded by many beautiful ladies [/mcbain]

Just a thought - the prices on Lastminute may have been changing according to a predeterminted yield management structre, not by any direct decision being taken yesterday. If the hotels had previously set their last few rooms to be more expensive, they wouldn’t necessarily realise that it looked like they actively cashing in.

On 9/11 a few of the gas stations around here dramatically raised their prices.
People noticed. TV reporters noticed. The newspapers noticed.

All of those stations are out of business now except two.

The exceptions? A station that was sold to another businessman who placed a big sign that said “UNDER NEW OWNER/MANAGEMENT SINCE 9/11”.

The second is a station in a very convenient spot. It still has business but I never see more than two cars there at a time. My guess is it lost over half of its business.

The others have been converted to other businesses or torn down.

Heck-check out prices of plywood, tarps, batteries, and related stuff in the Gulf states right now. Maybe they call it hurricane tax, but every storm season brings a story or two of merchants pressing the supply/demand equation.

Just to back upi this point, I used to work for a major chain that started with an M and ended in -arriot…

There are price tiers. The last rooms are automatically programmed to command a premium price, regardless of a reason. Certainly this is done before a tragedy is on anyone’s mind. It is simpy what has been called before “yield management”. Now hoteliers should have realized that they were in possession of a commodity that was in great need in light if the attacks. They should have immediately made their inventory of rooms available for free up to regular prices based on waht they could afford to give.

I would also like to point out that there have been no specific examples given. Someone will quote a rate gouge but not give the hotel, or someone will mention a hotel or hotel group, but give no example of gouging.

Personally, knowing many hoteliers, I call BS on this story.

Yeah, that was my first thought. Many of these types of websites quote prices based on indicated availability at each of the companies (airlines, hotels, whatever) represented on their site. There may have been no human decision at all in this price hike; simply a computer database adjusting prices based on availability the way it was programmed to do.

Can i also play devil’s advocate for a minute, though? People who extol the virtues of the free market often tell us that the great thing about free market mechanisms is that they provide the best and fairest solutions under all possible circumstances. What would be the problem, then, with hotels adjusting room prices to reflect increased demand? Isn’t it a perfectly logical, free market thing to do?

Actually, not true. There are circumstances (usually unfortunate ones) where the Free Market consistently gives sub-optimal results. In fact, it always gives sub-optimal results; they’re just more optimal than anything else.

Yes. However, most Free Marketers would like to see people helping each other out without payment when people need help. They just don’t want it enforced by laws.

For example, after the big power outage in New York and Pennsylvania, several stores in New York got sme boys in a truck, went out of state, and bought up every generator they could find. They had to charge a high price for them; they bougt the items at full retail price and paid for gas, the truck, and the employees on top of that. The genertors sold very well anyway. This is perfectly acceptable. However, the state of New York then called this “profiteering” and set about building a case against the stores. Regardless of what the outcome of the case is, those stores are likely not to do this again should there be a next time.

They are not likely to accept a huge loss to get people generators at the normal price. This means that should there be another problem, there won’t be any generators for sale.

On a higher note, it has also been reported that Marks and Spencers closed their stores yesterday and were handing out their food to those helping the victims. I’ve never been a fan of M&S but i wish them all the best after hearing that.

Sadly, though possibly unsurprisingly, i cannot find an article for that online. I heard it mentioned on BBC News 24(TV).

The hotels are guilty of the same thing too during Hurricane season here (South Florida). When thousands of people are told to evacuate, the Hotels in northern Florida and Georgia suddenly raise the prices of their rooms.

They do the same thing with services after they hit (i.e. fixing roofs, cutting away downed trees).

Of course, if anybody does this after a state of emergency is declared then they’re going to have a problem.

Well I will go on record witha bit of contrary news.

I used to be the GM of a Marriott hotel in Virginia. There were 2 emergencies while I was there. One was a hurricane bearing down in our area. We were inundated with people fleeing the coast. Our regular rate was around $129 and we offered rooms for $49, which barely covers our cost for renting a room. We did the same thing when a severe ice storm knocked out electricity in December. Some people had no power for 2 weeks. We stepped up and offered discount rooms because it was the right thing to do for the community.

We never made the news though. Go figure. :rolleyes:

More contrary news I was in Vancouver BC on 9/11. As you are probably aware all the trans-Pacific flights were diverted there. I spoke with several of the passengers. They were being put up at the Hilton and the Marriott in Richmond BC. No charge, but it was dorm style in the ballrooms. Food was free. Buffet style, from what they told me, the hotel managers instructed the catering manager that they did not want anybody to go away with a bad impression of the food at their hotel. They were served prime rib, roast turkey, baked ham you get the idea.
Bunch of class people those Canucks. :smiley:

I love M&S, especially their “Per Una” line. :slight_smile:

I routinely have trouble finding hotels in the City that are under £150 and sometimes end up paying £200-300 a night. I would think that £80 would be uncommon, but I guess we’re talking different neighbourhoods (I tend to stay in Knightsbridge if I stay in the City). I have found prices to vary considerably according to availability too, much moreso than one would see in the US. I think it is likely that the hotels in London are just much more capacity-conscious in their automated pricing.

Yeah - I wonder if the guy in the oiginal article actually spent his time at a ‘hotel’ in Kings Cross…£200 would be for the room service :wink:

Or even better, tell you to do the same until you can talk some sense.

First of all, you are unable to back up your assertion that this is a ‘typically’ English way. I’m English. I’ve been English all my life! I’ve lived in England all my life. I think I probably know more Englsh people than you. There is nothing about this story that I would classify as ‘typically’ English.

Second of all, if we assume for the present discussion that this story is true, perhaps the man found himself in a position where he had no alternative at the time. Maybe other hotels were raising their prices the same way. Maybe there weren’t any hotels within easy walking distance with rooms free (remember most forms of transport were no longer available). Maybe this man had had a terrible day. Maybe he was tired, hungry, exhausted and scared. Maybe he knew people who had been directly hurt or injured. Maybe he himself had minor scratches and bruises from the blasts. Maybe in the circumstances, having walked a long time trying to find a hotel with an available room, he figured best to just slap it on his credit card and worry about it later rather than walk back out into a city swamped with emergency vehicles, with most modes of transport shut down, and carry on walking around for what could have been hours looking for a cheaper alternative that he might never find.

Your post was ill-conceived, unfair, crass and insensitive. You know they say there’s only one rule around here: don’t be a jerk.

GorillaMan’s location is in some sort of secret code, but I believe he hails from northern England. Just so’s you know.

Calm down. And that’s a nicely-impossible of a pissing-contest you’ve set up, there.

They were? Plenty of people have remarked here that there’s not much evidence for it.

If so, why the fuck was he so concerned about a bit of cash?

…and they also say don’t junior-mod, don’t they?

:: cough splutter ::

I beg your pardon. I did my stint up north, as all good citizens should. Suffolk ‘n’ proud (say it quickly, ten times over :wink: )