Booking a Hotel during Tokyo 2020

Old Oct 1, 19, 6:20 am
  #1  
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Booking a Hotel during Tokyo 2020

Hi,

in the past, I used to enjoy booking Starwood hotels 18mths in advance, but now, as we can only book 50weeks ahead, I have not been able to find proper accommodation during the Olympics.

I started monitoring the website a year before the Olympics. And have contacted several Marriott properties (as Titanium, I tried to use my room guarantee)... the response I got was that they were either full, or had not yet started accepting bookings.

Any tips or advice on how to proceed would be appreciated. I have checked expedia, and a few hotels have started appearing recently.
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Old Oct 21, 19, 11:38 am
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We'll obviously never know for sure, but I have a feeling you still would not have been able to book accommodations at a Starwood property 18 months out even if they were not bought by Marriott. Every four and five star property in Tokyo has been blocked out for the Olympics and the earlier booking window would not have helped that.

At this point, no one knows how this will shake out. From what I have read, some of the contracts holding room blocks may have to release unsold inventory six months before the Games. If that's the case, we may start seeing opportunities at some Marriott properties as early as the beginning of the year. But I also wouldn't be surprised if availability didn't pop up until a month or even a couple of weeks before the start of the Games. Even then, I bet we only see premium rooms for sale as to eliminate possible points bookings, and available rooms will probably be nonrefundable and three to ten times above normal rates. That's just my guess, but we are already seeing something similar with the one "chain" hotel that has available inventory in the Hilton Tokyo Bay. They are currently offering nonrefundable multi-night reservations for almost 100,000 per night, and the location is less than ideal for the Olympics. My advice would be to continue to hold out and keep watching availability; as long as you aren't counting on using points, you will likely have opportunities to book a Marriott property at some point before the start of the Games.
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Old Oct 21, 19, 12:06 pm
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A similar thing happened in London 7 years ago. Large chain hotels were block booked out by the organizing committee, IOC and other big organisations. Gradually inventory came back onto the market as genuine needs were assessed, and in the end occupancy during the Olympics was actually lower than it normally would have been as business travelers stayed away

I would imagine a similar pattern for Tokyo 2020
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Old Oct 21, 19, 12:35 pm
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Originally Posted by ajeleonard View Post
A similar thing happened in London 7 years ago. Large chain hotels were block booked out by the organizing committee, IOC and other big organisations. Gradually inventory came back onto the market as genuine needs were assessed, and in the end occupancy during the Olympics was actually lower than it normally would have been as business travelers stayed away

I would imagine a similar pattern for Tokyo 2020
The difference is that Tokyo has less than a fifth of the Western style four and five star properties that London has. There could easily still be a shortage at the top end, which makes me think it might be tougher than seven years ago. People could get lucky and have opportunities to use points, but I'm not counting on it this time. I do think premium rooms for cash will pop up though.

If there is a glut of inventory, it will probably be at the three star and lower level. Given the Japanese standards of cleanliness and service, that should be good enough for a lot of folks if they can handle staying in tiny spaces.
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Old Oct 21, 19, 6:31 pm
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el_tigre,
Yes, I agree. If there will be any inventory, January is when you should start looking.
Could you provide your recommendations on where to possibly stay during the Olympics based on easier access to transportation and venues? Most of my events will be in the Tokyo Bay Zone.
Thank you
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Old Oct 21, 19, 7:24 pm
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Originally Posted by Bud Florida View Post
Could you provide your recommendations on where to possibly stay during the Olympics based on easier access to transportation and venues? Most of my events will be in the Tokyo Bay Zone.
Thank you
There will be a new Autograph Collection property opening in April that is just a couple of minutes walk to Takeshiba Station and should have the best access to the Tokyo Bay Zone. I am guessing a new and not yet established hotel might also be more likely to have inventory available at some point.

Barring that, I would look at the two Courtyard properties in the Ginza/Tokyo Station area. I have staying in both. Both are fairly simple but functional. Rooms are really small at Tokyo Station and I like the location of the Ginza Tobu better. I have a feeling finding inventory at either will be more difficult though.
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Old Oct 21, 19, 7:27 pm
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I've been told that some of the top Hyatt properties were booked out long ago for IOC members and other officials.
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Old Oct 22, 19, 6:37 am
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As noted, this happens in every Olympic city. Shortly after a city is announced as the host city, the local "Organizing Committee" (in this instance the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympics Games or TOCOG) sends requests out to all hotels asking whether they want to allocate rooms to official Olympics organizations (IOC, IOC sponsors, NOCs, sport Federations). Most hotels put 100% of their rooms on this list. Those rooms then are untouchable by the general public until the hotel allocation process is complete (ie each official Olympics organization reviews and selects which hotel they want and submit their room needs through TOCOG).

Originally, this process was scheduled to have been completed by March 2019, however the hotel I have a room block in said they are still awaiting confirmation on final TOCOG requests and will know in November if they have available rooms (unfortunately, they did not provide a specific date in November), so there should be rooms coming back onto the open market soon.

Another consideration, though, are Consolidators. These are companies that buy up Olympics "assets" (hotel rooms, event tickets, etc.) and sell bundled packages at greatly inflated prices to companies looking for one-stop-shopping hospitality packages. They will be waiting in the wings (if not already having an agreement putting them at the front of the line) for hotel rooms if they become available.

Last edited by bosman; Oct 22, 19 at 6:41 am Reason: corrections
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Old Nov 3, 19, 2:16 am
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Originally Posted by el_tigre View Post
We'll obviously never know for sure, but I have a feeling you still would not have been able to book accommodations at a Starwood property 18 months out even if they were not bought by Marriott. Every four and five star property in Tokyo has been blocked out for the Olympics and the earlier booking window would not have helped that.

At this point, no one knows how this will shake out. From what I have read, some of the contracts holding room blocks may have to release unsold inventory six months before the Games. If that's the case, we may start seeing opportunities at some Marriott properties as early as the beginning of the year. But I also wouldn't be surprised if availability didn't pop up until a month or even a couple of weeks before the start of the Games. Even then, I bet we only see premium rooms for sale as to eliminate possible points bookings, and available rooms will probably be nonrefundable and three to ten times above normal rates. That's just my guess, but we are already seeing something similar with the one "chain" hotel that has available inventory in the Hilton Tokyo Bay. They are currently offering nonrefundable multi-night reservations for almost 100,000 per night, and the location is less than ideal for the Olympics. My advice would be to continue to hold out and keep watching availability; as long as you aren't counting on using points, you will likely have opportunities to book a Marriott property at some point before the start of the Games.

thank you for your analysis. It makes sense and reassures me in my current holding strategyz
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Old Jan 14, 20, 1:39 pm
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As an update, these properties are currently available during the Olympics
Sheraton Grande Tokyo Bay - $780 nightly
Courtyard Tokyo Station - $590 nightly
No points redemption available
First trip to Tokyo. The SG looks isolated if you won't be going to Disneyland. While the CY seems well known for it's tiny rooms.
Holding out hope for availability at mesm AC or the new Aloft Ginza also opening soon
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Old Jan 14, 20, 2:23 pm
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Originally Posted by bosman View Post

Originally, this process was scheduled to have been completed by March 2019, however the hotel I have a room block in said they are still awaiting confirmation on final TOCOG requests and will know in November if they have available rooms (unfortunately, they did not provide a specific date in November), so there should be rooms coming back onto the open market soon.
Ended up TOCOG didn't confirm final allocations until December. As another poster mentioned, most room block contracts have a date by which the contracting company can release a certain number or percentage of rooms back to the hotel with no penalty. In my case, that date is February 29, but it likely will vary hotel by hotel/contract by contract. It may be a good strategy to check early in each month (assuming most contracts have an end of month release date and it takes a day or two to get released hotels back into the "for sale" system) for rooms coming back on for sale.
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Old Jan 14, 20, 3:56 pm
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I've seen lots of different situations come up. In some years, NBC would themselves put rooms for rent that they didn't use in their block.

Keep trying, something should work out. Unfortunately, last minute often wins best in these situations. Don't overlook agoda or booking.com and related where there might be many people renting rooms or their flat if they wish to leave town.
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Old Jan 14, 20, 4:29 pm
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Reminds me of ‘Walk, Don’t Run’ (1966, Cary Grant’s last film, with Samantha Eggar, Jim Hutton and George Takei in a small role), a comedy dealing with accommodation shortage during the ‘64 Tokyo Olympics.
Unfortunately my contribution to the discussion is not very helpful.
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Old Jan 15, 20, 8:26 pm
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I somehow got very lucky. A few days ago I managed to get a room at one of the hotels for about a week using points. Amazingly it was at the standard rate and not even peak point pricing. It no longer showed as being points bookable after I reserved. Guessing I somehow got super lucky.

Last edited by uibd; Jan 15, 20 at 8:37 pm
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