EDINBURGH’S hoteliers have been warned they will ‘reap what they sow’ unless they back down on hefty room rates at Hogmanay.
The warning came after one city centre hotel, the Ibis situated on South Bridge, offered rooms on New Year’s Eve starting from £400.
The last-minute New Year’s Eve rates represented a massive 344 per cent increase from those offered by the same hotel a week ago.
At the 5-star Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh - The Caledonian, which is considered to be one of the Capital’s most exclusive and swankiest hotels, the average rate across its 241 rooms on Hogmanay was £428.
Last month a survey by French website Allovoyages revealed that Edinburgh is second only to Amsterdam in a list of Europe’s most expensive destinations for overnight stays on 31 December.
The average price of a 3-to-5-star Hogmanay stay in the centre of the Capital is £260, equating to a premium of over 200 per cent compared with avearge hotel rates during the slower months of the year.
The average price of an equivalent room in London on the same night is £195.
Critics have argued that high room prices will eventually have a negative impact on tourism in the Scottish Capital - even at the most popular times of the year.
Economy Convener for Edinburgh Council Gavin Barrie said the city’s hoteliers may ‘reap what they sow’ and that he hopes they will lower their prices to provide more value for money going forward:
“You would hope that hoteliers wouldn’t take advantage of the demand at this time of year.
“£400 appears to me to be a rather large amount, but it would be up to the hotelier to justify that price and up to the consumer to pay it.”
But despite Edinburgh boasting the highest occupancy rates outside of London, does Councillor Barrie believe the city will experience a downturn in visitor numbers if prices continue to remain high?
“I think the hoteliers will pay the price and the public will find other places to stay,” the SNP councillor said.
“People will get smarter and they (the hoteliers) may reap what they sow later.
“I would hope that they would seek to moderate to make the charges more accessible, but at the end of the day hotels are being built in Edinburgh and there are more planned. It’s a supply and demand thing that they can’t maintain these high rates across the city.”
Today, Ibis South Bridge were offering rooms starting at £100, with prices dropping to as low as £40 by the end of the week.
Accor Hotels, which owns the Ibis chain, was unavailable for comment.