Accommodation overpricing is a perception rather than a reality
The results of an independent accommodation survey conducted by capeinfo.com and endorsed by Cape Town Tourism, show that reports on overpricing by accommodation establishments are based on perception rather than reality. The survey was launched in January to establish accommodation booking and pricing trends for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ and revealed that the majority of accommodation establishments are charging responsible rates for accommodation during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
Spokesperson for Cape Town Tourism, Lianne Burton says: ‘This survey aims to distinguish perception from reality. The astronomical prices of luxury private villas on the ocean’s edge are not a true representation of the cost of staying in Cape Town during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Cape Town Tourism and its industry partners are committed to building the tourism sector and our members are critically aware that exploiting people during events like the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ undermines their own sustainability as it discourages repeat business. We are also encouraged that many of the businesses that guilty of overpricing have now embraced the call by Cape Town Tourism, and tourism stakeholders like FEDHASA, to cap rates in the region of peak season levels during the 2010 FIFA World Cup™”.
In January, 31.63% of the respondents were charging the same price (or less) as they would in peak season. That amount has shifted to 57.37% in February. The survey also shows that 75.32% of establishments are currently charging no more than 20% above their peak season rates. Establishments who had received actual bookings were up from 34.61% in January to 46% in February.
Cape Town Tourism has also drafted a Tourism Code of Responsible Pricing for Cape Town. The Code calls for a moderate approach to pricing – responsible peak season rates – and a mindfulness of tourism sustainability and transparency. The code will be signed by key tourism industry stakeholders, representatives and membership organisations.
Cape Town Tourism spokesperson Lianne Burton has had a lot to say on the subject of overpricing, particularly after attending the World Travel Market in London (Nov 2009) and finding that overpricing was a bigger issue for UK travellers than perceptions of safety and security in South Africa. She has also reminded tourism business owners that cities such as Sydney and Athens experienced a decline in visitor numbers after their Olympic events, due to perceptions of ‘greed’. Burton says, “We know that, in line with current travel trends internationally, there will still be a lot of last minute bookings ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, but we cannot afford to be complacent and allow a skewed perception of pricing to turn a potentially positive experience into a highly negative one. We are on the tail-end of a recession, one that hit America and Europe very hard. These are key FIFA World Cup source markets and they need a great value proposition, right now.”
Western Cape Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism Alan Winde, reiterated this view, stating that we cannot afford to scupper our reputation as a value-for-money destination, and must encourage the media and our industry to put out the positive message that there is a wide range of accommodation available at a reasonable price.”
With MATCH having recently released 65 000 bed nights due to slow initial sales, accommodation establishments are in a more competitive market than ever. Using accredited portals will get establishments further than only advertising on their own websites. Cape Town Tourism will soon launch a dedicated section on their website (www.capetown.travel) where members who adopt responsible pricing strategies in line with the Code, can advertise their accommodation offerings directly to prospective 2010 FIFA World Cup™ visitors.
The accommodation survey will continue to track changes in accommodation availability and pricing trends with monthly surveys until May. It can be completed on http://capeinfo.com.
For more information about 2010 FIFA World Cup™ accommodation and activities in Cape Town, please don’t hesitate to call Cape Town Tourism’s contact centre on + 27 (0)21 487 6800 or visit www.capetown.travel/2010.
For further information about Cape Town Tourism, please contact Cape Town Tourism’s PR and Communication Manager Skye Grove, firstname.lastname@example.org, +21 21 487 6800.
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