The following post is from Kyle Barber, TIG Global Client Service Manager.
Have you ever thought about the impact these centuries-old Olympic Games has on a host country’s tourism and hospitality industries?
Historically, cities that host the games experience a significant drop in tourism and revenue in the years surrounding the event. Would-be tourists either delay their travel plans until the big games or avoid going altogether to dodge the masses, creating what’s called the “Olympic” or “displacement” effect. Economic growth in these cities drops just before the games and weakens further immediately after. Beijing (2008), Athens (2004), and Sydney (2000) are all prime examples, having experienced a major disruption in their tourism post-games. Is the UK’s hospitality industry ready for the potential fallout?
“At the moment there is simply no availability for leisure traffic during the London Olympic Games”, advises Tom Jenkins, Executive Director of the European Tour Operators Association. “Rooms are only available in 14-day blocks at a 100% premium. It essentially closes out the period around the games—visitors cannot start or end visits in early August, creating an extended crater effect.”
Some European tour operators are even dropping London altogether as a tour destination for most of 2012. There is concern that the Olympic crowds may not be enough to make up for this loss. “Hotels are now actually looking at lower yield than … in 2010”, added Jenkins.
How will London’s Olympics affect you and your business?
If your business relies heavily on the UK tourism market, then you should expect to see fewer visitors this summer. Many would-be British travelers are planning on hunkering down and staying local to see the Games instead of going on their usual vacations. A recent poll from The Independent shows that one in four British adults are planning to attend one or more of the 2012 Olympic events.
According to the BBC, they are expecting an estimated 500,000 spectators and another 50,000 athletes to attend the Games.
How can you prepare yourself against the Olympic Effect?
Strategic marketing is key here. Start pushing advance deals to attract your customers early on and pique their interest (“Book in advance and save!”). Use the natural hype of the Games and create a fun experience that will entice an Olympic crowd (“Join us for our own ’Olympic Weekend’ and participate in the Olympic Event of your choice!”).
Stay tuned for a follow up article on having the Olympic effect work to your advantage.
Interested in ramping up your online strategy? Check out the full suite of TIG Global interactive marketing tools, send us an email, or give us a call +1 301.841.4700(US) | +44 (0)20 3004 9468(UK).