Hotel prices in London and flight prices to the British capital are rising as hundreds of thousands of people flock there ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday.
he Queen’s death, 96, on September 8 ended a 70-year run on the throne that made her Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and one of the most recognizable faces in the world.
Since the announcement of her death, the average rate for a hotel in London has risen from €242 a night to €381 a night, according to Hayley Berg, chief economist at travel startup Hopper.
The rush for shelter comes as members of the public visit the capital to pay their respects and foreign delegations arrive for the September 19 funeral, with authorities preparing for a large turnout.
Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to pass by her coffin 24 hours a day from Wednesday evening until the early day of her funeral.
High-end hotels – Claridge’s, The Connaught, The Dorchester and the Berkeley in posh Mayfair – sold out on Sunday night, their websites showed.
Prices for a five-star hotel had topped £1,200 on Monday and are expected to double in the next five days as the city’s hotel system hits 95 per cent occupancy, HotelPlanner said.
More than 60 percent of travelers are foreign visitors, she added.
Even standard hotel chains were inundated. More than a dozen hotels operated by Premier Inn owner Whitbread in the city center were booked, a Reuters search revealed.
Travelodge, which has 78 hotels in the capital, said it was seeing an increase in bookings from all corners of the UK.
Average fares for a return flight from the US to London departing on September 15, 16 and 17 were $1,120/€1,112, $1,054/€1,046 and $967/€960, respectively, according to Hopper’s data.
This compares to an average fare for a transatlantic round trip of $710/€705.
The rush of visitors could potentially provide some respite for the city’s tourism business amid the economic woes.
Increased travel due to the easing of pandemic restrictions has pushed hotel prices to record levels this summer, data from analytics firm STR showed.
Brits also splurged on celebrations to mark Elizabeth’s platinum anniversary over a four-day weekend in June.
A weaker pound is also attracting people from abroad and the influx could give a boost to restaurants, pubs and museums still recovering from the pandemic and amid inflation records.
However, it is still too early to assess how large the impact could be.
Most businesses are likely to be closed on Monday, which has been declared a bank holiday, limiting benefits for the hospitality and tourism sector, said Samuel Tombs, UK chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.
Still, many will be able to make amends, as most of them did in June, after the extra anniversary bank holidays and similar events have had a minimal impact on consumer confidence and their purchasing decisions in the past, he said.
For now, Pantheon expects the funeral to drop GDP by 0.2 percent to September’s GDP levels.
https://www.independent.ie/life/travel/travel-news/london-hotel-rates-and-flight-fares-surge-ahead-of-queens-funeral-41988030.html Ahead of the Queen’s funeral, London hotel prices and air fares are on the rise