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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

PostHeaderIcon Looking for a room for the Beijing Olympics? Be patient

Patience will go a long way when trying to find a reasonably priced hotel for the Olympics.

Prices for rooms during the Aug. 8-24 games reportedly have skyrocketed, and it is unclear where the rates will eventually settle. Prices invariably rise for hotel space at all big sports events.

Penny Xiang, who works on accommodations for the Beijing organizing committee, said this is "like a game the hotels play with the market."

"On the one hand they want to sell the rooms at a very good price. On the other, they are not very certain about the market," Xiang said Tuesday. "As for Chinese, when we are not sure about something we just wait and see."

China newspapers have reported hotel rooms rates going for up to 10 times their normal price. However, she said most hotels had vacant rooms with most waiting to see where the prices would go.

"There are few hotels which have signed contracts," said Xiang, a deputy director of games services. "For those that have signed contracts, the price is not very high."

She said the supply of hotel rooms in Beijing was likely to be larger than demand, which should restrain price gouging. Xiang said Beijing had about 300,000 hotel rooms. Of those, 30,000 rooms at 120 topflight hotels have been reserved by the organizing committee and held under contract for Olympic officials, sponsors and dignitaries.

The average price for a standard room at a five-star hotel - under the organizers' contract - Xiang said was $380 a night. She said the remaining 270,000 rooms would slightly exceed the "daily flow of customers," expected to be about 250,000.

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Welcome to Olympic Updates, my continuing blog to following the Olympic Games. Founded in 2007, I have enjoyed providing news and information on the 2008 Beijing Summer Games and I look forward to keeping you up to date on the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games.

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