London hotels desperate for guests slash prices


Hotels in London, until recently one of the world’s most expensive cities to visit, are slashing prices as they compete for a dwindling pool of overseas visitors.

Average room prices in the capital are £10 lower than in 2008 and could fall by as much again this year as competition intensifies, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers. Hotel prices in the UK dropped by 8.1% in 2009 – worse than the falls of almost 6% in 2002.

Deep price cuts are being offered by hoteliers despite a weaker pound already making travel to London better value than it has been in many years. Research by the investment bank UBS last month suggested London had fallen from the second most expensive city in the world to the 22nd most costly.

PWC’s Robert Milburn said hotel groups had been under pressure to cut rates because of a dramatic reduction in business travel and conferences. “While room rate declines will slow, economic and travel fundamentals remain weak … the evidence points to more savage trading at the end of the year,” he said.

Last month official figures showed overseas visitors to the UK fell by 9% for the year.