London hotel rates and flight prices rise ahead of Queen’s funeral

Hotel prices in London and airfares to the British capital are soaring as hundreds of thousands of people flock there ahead of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday.

The death of the Queen, 96, on September 8, ended a 70-year run on the throne that made her Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and one of the most recognizable faces in the world.

Since news broke of his death, the average rate for a hotel in London has risen from €242 to €381 per night, according to Hayley Berg, chief economist at travel startup Hopper.

The rush for accommodation comes as members of the public tour the capital to pay their respects and foreign delegations arrive for the September 19 funeral, with authorities bracing for a huge turnout.

Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to file past his coffin in a 24-hour display from Wednesday evening until the start of the day of his funeral.

The upscale hotels – Claridge’s, the Connaught, the Dorchester and the Berkeley in upmarket Mayfair – were fully booked on Sunday night, according to their websites.

Rates had topped £1,200 (€1,383) for a five-star hotel on Monday and are expected to double over the next five days as the city’s hotel system hits 95% occupancy, HotelPlanner said.

More than 60% of travelers were foreign visitors, he added.

Standard hotel chains were also inundated. More than a dozen hotels operated by Premier Inn owner Whitbread in the city center were fully booked, according to Reuters research.

Travelodge, which has 78 hotels in the capital, said it had seen an increase in bookings across the UK.

The average prices for a return flight from the United States to London departing on September 15, 16 and 17 were $1,120/€1,112, $1,054/€1,046 and $967/€960, respectively, according to the Hopper data.

This compares to an average price for a transatlantic round trip of $710/€705.

The influx of visitors could potentially give the city’s tourism business some respite amid the economic difficulties.

Increased travel as pandemic restrictions eased has pushed hotel rates to record highs this summer, according to data from analytics firm STR.

Brits also spent heavily on celebrations to commemorate Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee over a four-day weekend in June.

A weaker pound is also attracting foreigners and the influx could give a boost to restaurants, pubs and museums still recovering from the pandemic and as record inflation levels bite.

However, it is too early to estimate the magnitude of the impact it could have.

Most businesses are likely to be closed on Monday, which has been declared a public holiday, limiting benefits for the hospitality and tourism sector, said Samuel Tombs, chief UK economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics.

Still, many will be able to catch up, as most did in June after the extra Jubilee holiday and similar events in the past had minimal impact on consumer confidence and spending decisions. , did he declare.

For now, the Pantheon expects a 0.2pc drop in September GDP levels following the funeral.

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