The final sprint

Aerial view of the Olympic Park, in Stratford, east London
Aerial view of the Olympic Park, in Stratford, east London
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With only days left until the Olympics, hotel rates in London are plunging by more than 50 per cent because the impact of the Games on summer tourism has been dramatically over-estimated by planners, say leading travel websites.

The deals currently on offer are believed to include top hotels, such as The Hempel and Claridge’s, while Thomas Cook has packages of Olympics tickets and accommodation.

Joel Brandon-Bravo, UK managing director of Travelzoo, says: “Many hotels kept inventory back, hoping interest in the Olympics would allow them to charge top rates. “As with the Royal Wedding, however, many hoteliers may have overestimated demand and are stuck with empty rooms to fill.

“August is traditionally a quiet time for many London hotels, and a post-Olympics lull points to the best deals in late-August. Those coming to London during the Olympics will have to look a bit harder for deals, but shouldn’t have to pay rates previously highlighted in the media.”

Rival hotel deals website, Secret Escapes, confirms the pain is greatest among the pricier hotels: Apex City of London offers up to 54 per cent off, with rooms from £189 per night between July 27 and August 12.

Secret Escapes founder Tom Valentine says: “Prices and occupancy rates during the Olympics were always difficult to predict, and we’re very happy to be able to support the Games by helping hotels clear their existing supply.”

The Trivago Hotel Price Index previously reported that hotel bookings in London for the July 27-August 11 period hit an average of £242, against £96 for the rest of Europe, and 75 per cent up on the London average for August 2011.

On the most expensive day, July 28, the average peaks at £251, says Trivago. But it admits prices have been falling in recent months. Now that hotel prices look much softer, many travellers could make last-minute plans to see Olympic events following reports that more than 400,000 tickets could still be available in the public system.

For last-minute Olympic visitors chasing a ticket plus a hotel, Thomas Cook, Official Short Break provider to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, has launched a range of new offers with “best prices ever”. In this final sale, Thomas Cook Breaks include the Men’s 200m Semi-Final, Men’s 110m Hurdles Final and Women’s 200m Final (Aug 8) from £399, including B&B in a four star hotel at Brentford Lock.