2022 Pricing - UK Marriott Hotels

Old Feb 20, 2022, 4:42 pm
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Question 2022 Pricing - UK Marriott Hotels

Hi fellow FT friends,

I haven't been on here in a while as the pandemic basically meant no travel for me. But now with late 2022 looking potentially like I can return to going to my favourite nations for vacation (UK being one of them), I thought I might as well ask a few things.

Pre-pandemic travel to London was reasonable. Depending on when I would be booking (dates-wise and how far in advance), I felt like the average weekend I could get about 110-150 quid per night Sat/Sun in some Cat 5/6 hotels (Marriott "main brand" - i.e. Marriott Canary Wharf, Marriott Maida Vaile, Marriott Regent's Park) or under 100 quid at the Moxy branded locations like the one in Stratford.

Right now I see that hotel prices are elevated in March (not travelling then) and even more elevated in Sep/Oct (when I was thinking of going). Even Oxford has some sky high rates. I swear Jan 2020 I was there and I paid only 112 quid for the one night but I've been seeing prices around 200 quid the dates I would want to potentially be there.

Would love all of your expertise - is this because the pandemic drags on and hotel chains are unsure if/when restrictions would return and they have to counter-balance that by raising rates now for anyone willing to book to travel OR is it an excuse based on "worldwide inflation"? If it is due to the pandemic dragging on, do you think we will see nightly rates start falling later this year if you're booking up to one month out with no special events going on nearby? After all, the hospitality sector is a business so they all have to make money to cover the cost of being open even if they get fewer patrons and then some money on the side to show they are profitable.

I appreciate everyone's thoughts in advance.
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Old Feb 20, 2022, 8:50 pm
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The expectation is that this will be a busy year for hotels in the UK. The prices reflect forecast demand.
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Old Feb 20, 2022, 11:10 pm
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Originally Posted by EuropeanPete
The expectation is that this will be a busy year for hotels in the UK. The prices reflect forecast demand.
Is there a reason that makes UK so special this year all-year round? I would highly doubt that there would be as much demand in Sep-Nov because youth are back in schools + young adults in universities, so it's supposed to be slower season - especially weekdays, wouldn't it? I mean if you can't do family travel or even friends travel and it's not a study break week during the semester, how could there be forecasted demand above and beyond 2018-2019? That's what I'm failing to grasp.

I tried checking other destinations in their non-high seasons outside the UK and even they are elevated (Germany excl. Munich, Spain, Denmark) and I'm finding the same pattern.
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Old Feb 20, 2022, 11:51 pm
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I think booking early is a key. I have several reservations early March and they are all below the 300 Range. I also have a great rate at the Sheraton Grand for 209 GBP.
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by LovetoTravel83
I think booking early is a key. I have several reservations early March and they are all below the 300 Range. I also have a great rate at the Sheraton Grand for 209 GBP.
I'm used to 100-130 GBP for where I would consider staying "out of season". I just don't see those rates right now.

I'm thinking the whole industry is price skimming and it is not just a Marriott thing at all. If a hotel (any brand/company) charges 20% more per person and 1 cancels out of every 5, they're making the same revenue as they would have before the pandemic... so with unstable times it could be that there is skimming to hedge for absenteeism. I just wonder when prices will fall to something near 2019 levels (i.e. 10 quid more per night max per 100 quid) or are the increased prices now permanent?

Also for my fellow EU and non-EU (UK) friends, has Brexit caused accommodation costs to rise within the UK or is it mostly traded goods like food, alcohol, and automobiles that have potentially increased in price since it became official?
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 12:40 am
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Originally Posted by wildace
I'm used to 100-130 GBP for where I would consider staying "out of season". I just don't see those rates right now.
I have never seen those prices in the Mayfair/Knightsbridge area.
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 12:48 am
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Originally Posted by wildace
Is there a reason that makes UK so special this year all-year round? I would highly doubt that there would be as much demand in Sep-Nov because youth are back in schools + young adults in universities, so it's supposed to be slower season - especially weekdays, wouldn't it?
I know it has been a while since business travel has been a regular thing, but that period in London has always been busy and expensive during normal times. It is a peak period after the summer holidays in August to get things done before the end of the year.

You mention Canary Wharf, where I stay regularly. Have noticed the prices slowly climbing back to normal. Before Covid the entry level price was 240 on weekdays, though much cheaper at weekends. Can still get it for around 130-150 just now, but heading up over the next few months.

Will be interesting to see if the demand does head that way.
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 2:40 am
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Originally Posted by LovetoTravel83
I think booking early is a key. I have several reservations early March and they are all below the 300 Range. I also have a great rate at the Sheraton Grand for 209 GBP.
Re. low season, ie. March, I have better success booking last minute in the UK. A different story in peak season of course.
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 4:22 am
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You are booking too far in advance for good rates in September. It's not like low cost airlines where you can book far in advance to get substantially lower rates.

Book a flexible rate placeholder and then monitor the situation every once in awhile. If your dates end up expensive, well you already have something booked. Whenever you notice a rate decrease, you cancel and rebook...
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 7:04 am
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The VAT concession for hotels is ending.As announced at budget 2021, the government will be legislating to:
  • extend the temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% until 30 September 2021
  • prepare for a new rate of 12.5% from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022
So from 1 April, full 20% VAT applies. I am sure hotels are putting up prices to accommodate.
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 7:24 am
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Originally Posted by Markie
The VAT concession for hotels is ending.As announced at budget 2021, the government will be legislating to:
  • extend the temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% until 30 September 2021
  • prepare for a new rate of 12.5% from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022
So from 1 April, full 20% VAT applies. I am sure hotels are putting up prices to accommodate.
Bear in mind that the VAT concession only started on 15 July 2020. The OP is comparing to pre-Covid pricing, when VAT was at the rate it's going back up to on 1 April.
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 9:55 am
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Inflation may be the reason. Prepaid rates are more affordable
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 10:22 am
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Originally Posted by wildace
Is there a reason that makes UK so special this year all-year round? I would highly doubt that there would be as much demand in Sep-Nov because youth are back in schools + young adults in universities, so it's supposed to be slower season - especially weekdays, wouldn't it?
The answer, unsurprisingly is Covid. After a couple of years London is not only getting a surge of tourists, but also return business visits from work teams which need strengthening and Arab/ Russian visitors in "Qatar season".
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 10:26 am
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I've got lots of replies and additional inquiries to very helpful answers below. But first let me ask an important question as I feel clueless on this: is there any major event happening in the UK (not just London) the week of September 12th during the weekdays?

Originally Posted by LovetoTravel83
I have never seen those prices in the Mayfair/Knightsbridge area.
Mayfair/Knightsbridge has never been cheap! The hotels I pay attention to generally are Canary Wharf (Marriott) and Stratford (Moxy). One time I got an exceptional Sunday night deal at the Threadneedles Autograph (116 quid price when I know normally it's double that or more), but that doesn't count!

Originally Posted by ao40
I know it has been a while since business travel has been a regular thing, but that period in London has always been busy and expensive during normal times. It is a peak period after the summer holidays in August to get things done before the end of the year.

You mention Canary Wharf, where I stay regularly. Have noticed the prices slowly climbing back to normal. Before Covid the entry level price was 240 on weekdays, though much cheaper at weekends. Can still get it for around 130-150 just now, but heading up over the next few months.

I was considering flying into London and then for the weeknights heading up to Oxford but Oxford itself is sticker shock. Not sure if it is because of students still settling in middle of September so parents stay for a couple of weeks or if Oxford is indeed pricey during the week.

Typically in Canada / US I know that hotels in cities that have federal and/or provincial/state parliaments that the hotels are expensive weeknights and cheap on weekends due to the fact that lobbyists and media personnel all book up rooms as they have to stay there during the week (no parliamentary sessions on weekends unless during emergencies). But I don't consider a city like Oxford to fall into that category like a lot of parts of London for example.

Will be interesting to see if the demand does head that way.
I've had Canary Wharf at about 109-119 quid in September on the weekend and when I periodically check (pre-pandemic) I would generally see that rate for pre-paid. Sometimes the regular (post-paid) rate was only about 10 quid more. It has actually been my favourite spot to stay on when I do weekends in London... a bit out of the way of Central London but the prices I had been paying are totally worth being away from the craze. After all, there is night tube on the Jubilee Line!

Originally Posted by Markie
The VAT concession for hotels is ending.As announced at budget 2021, the government will be legislating to:
  • extend the temporary reduced rate of VAT of 5% until 30 September 2021
  • prepare for a new rate of 12.5% from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022
So from 1 April, full 20% VAT applies. I am sure hotels are putting up prices to accommodate.
Originally Posted by Oxon Flyer
Bear in mind that the VAT concession only started on 15 July 2020. The OP is comparing to pre-Covid pricing, when VAT was at the rate it's going back up to on 1 April.
So basically VAT won't matter because it goes back to 2019 levels so I won't be noticing any price difference then.... I haven't been paying attention the entire Covid-era but the September rates do look like sticker shock to me!

Originally Posted by craigthemif
You are booking too far in advance for good rates in September.
Are you saying that in August I shall be finding better prices?

All my previous London trips have never been booked up more than 2 months before I actually am supposed to be there, except New Years 2020 - that was booked up a little bit earlier to make sure I had the rooms (I used all points for the 4+1 free that time and only paid for the Saturday night prior to the usage of the free points).

Originally Posted by EuropeanPete
The answer, unsurprisingly is Covid. After a couple of years London is not only getting a surge of tourists, but also return business visits from work teams which need strengthening and Arab/ Russian visitors in "Qatar season".
Forgive my noviceness, what is "Qatar season"?

Last edited by wildace; Feb 21, 2022 at 10:34 am
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Old Feb 21, 2022, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by wildace
Forgive my noviceness, what is "Qatar season"?
There's an influx of tens of thousands of Arabs and a few nationalities which enjoy socialising with them in London each side of Ramadan every year. They take over entire hotels and large parts of some London neighbourhoods. The Qataris are disproportionately noticeable as they fly their supercars over as well.
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