For sports fans, regardless of whether it is soccer or rugby, horse racing or whatever, for those travelling to an event the cost is not just about getting there or the actual ticket price: if there is the need to factor in accommodation, then it is highly probable that cost will be a considerable outlay, fuelled by the market reality of supply and demand.
Traditionally, the Six Nations – which springs into life this weekend – has provided the most obvious indicators of spiking, or what some might call gouging, when it comes to a sudden increase in the cost of hotel rooms.
Historically, though, Dublin prices don't skyrocket as much as other cities involved in hosting matches in the annual tournament: Cardiff is perennially at the top of the list when it comes to price hikes, followed by Edinburgh. Rome is usually down the bottom of the six host cities when it comes to witnessing an increase in hotel room rates.
Sports fans are well-acquainted with raised accommodation costs on their travels, although the advent of Airbnb has changed the dynamic in recent years
Indeed, when the travel technology company Trivago analysed data relating solely to hotel prices during the 2016 Six Nations, it found that hotel prices in Cardiff jumped by up to 318 percent on a match day above the average cost of a stay in the Welsh city!
Anyway, as far as Dublin is concerned, there is competition to the Six Nations this year, especially with the prospect of England, should they top their Euro 2020 group, playing a last-16 match in Dublin in June, while there is also a clash of sporting cultures come a certain weekend in August when the All-Ireland Football Final and the Aer Lingus College Football Classic take place.
The American Football takes place at the Aviva on Saturday 29th August, with the Gaelic Football final at Croke Park the following day.
That American Football game will see an influx of visitors – mostly on official package tours – for an encounter between Notre Dame and Navy that has heightened demand for hotel rooms on what is already a very busy weekend in the hotel industry.
P.S. the arrival of those Fighting Irish-Navy supporters has also brought a boom to golf courses, with it nigh near impossible to get a green fee tee-time on links courses that week.
The itinerary for those visiting American Football supporters is such that, for the most part, the visit to the capital is a short and sweet one with many packages taking in build-up days in Galway, Kerry and Donegal and also post-match days outside of Dublin. The top Notre Dame package is a nine-day excursion which features stays in The G Hotel in Galway, the Dylan Hotel in Dublin and the Hotel Europe in Killarney.
Sports fans are well-acquainted with raised accommodation costs on their travels, although the advent of Airbnb has changed the dynamic of searching for accommodation in recent years.
Still, an example of how hotel prices are inflated for major sporting events is that of the upcoming horse racing festival at Cheltenham: a room in the Holiday Inn Express on March 12th, the night before the Gold Cup, will now cost any latecomers to the party a whopping €543 for the night; a week later, on March 19th, the same room is available for €58.
As a regular attendee to the racing festival said, “accommodation at the Cheltenham Festival comes as part of your inheritance because it gets passed down from father to son,” referring to how those who first ventured to the festival booked privately year-on-year and kept it within the family through the years.
Such spiking is a worldwide phenomenon, especially when it comes to the major sporting events. Another example is that of the US Masters, where a room at the two-star Red Roof Inn in Augusta on April 11th – the Saturday night before the final round – costs €339 on hotels.com, while the same room a week later, on April 18th, comes in at €53 for the night. If you must know, that is a 539 percent differential.
These are extreme examples admittedly of how hotel room rates can dramatically escalate – it is not confined to sporting events, it also comes into play with music concerts – when demand outstrips supply in a free market.
And, of all the sporting dates in the diary this year, that is just how it is panning out for June 30th, when Dublin – one of the 12 host cities for Euro2020 – can, if England top their qualifying Group D, expect hotel beds in the city to be at a premium. It is evident in hotel pricing for the night in question (see panel below).
England are drawn at home in Group D along with Croatia, Czech Republic and a yet to be decided team from the playoffs and, should they top that group, will advance to the last-16 match in Dublin. Hotel operators in the city have cottoned onto the fact, with prices reflecting the expected invasion of those supporting the Three Lions. Should group results go a certain way, there is even the prospect that England’s last-16 match could be against Germany, in which case even the Aviva wouldn’t be big enough to meet demand.
Dublin will actually host three group games in Euro 2020 and one round of 16, with the dates confirmed for Monday June 15th, Friday June 19th, Wednesday June 24 and Tuesday June 30th.
A spokesperson for the Irish Hotel Federation, in a statement, observed: “Dublin hotel room rates are highly competitive compared to other European city destinations and represent good value. Typically, well over 80 per cent of room bookings for large events, such as the Six Nations, and busy weekends are booked well in advance – often months.
“It is generally the final 10 per cent of room stock that would experience any noticeable movement in price. We are talking about last minute, ‘last availability’ rates – sometimes for non-standard rooms. This represents a minority of cases and is similar to booking a seat on a flight only days in advance. However, even during busy times, hotel room rates rarely approach their registered published rates, which is the rate displayed at hotel receptions.
As always, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) recommends that people book early and shop around so they know they are getting the best value available, including contacting the hotels directly.”
Ireland’s opening match of the Six Nations brings Scotland here on Saturday, with the two other home games featuring games against Wales on Saturday week, February 8th, and the visit of Italy to the Aviva on March 7th. The good news for those arriving and yet to book a hotel room is that there is still plenty of availability, and – on a trawl through various hotel booking websites – no evidence of any price gouging.
Dublin hotel prices for England’s potential Euro 2020 last 16 match
First rate for Tuesday June 30th – the night of the match. Second rate for Tuesday July 7th when there is no match.
The Beresford Hotel
June 30th: €305
July 7th: €152
Hotel St George
June 30th: €243
July 7th: €113
June 30th: €406
July 7th: €220
June 30th: €501
July 7th: €361
Destiny Student The Point
June 30th: €123
July 7th: €62
Staycity Aparthotels Dublin Castle
June 30th: €395
July 7th: €224
June 30th: €360
July 7th: €117
Clayton Hotel Charlemont
June 30th: €272
July 7th: €145
Jurys Inn Parnell St
June 30th: €325
July 7th: €167