Hotel Rates Set to Rocket
During Economic Forum
Hoteliers were asked to follow basic business ethics and not raise their prices during the forum.
Published: May 18, 2011 (Issue # 1656)
PRICES MAY DOUBLE DURING THE FORUM.
For participants in the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), which will take place on June 16-18, 1,000 hotel rooms have been set aside — a 20 percent rise on last year, St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko has said via her press service. This year, the forum’s budget will amount to 880 million rubles ($31.2 million), as opposed to 790 million rubles ($28 million) in 2010, the head of the Economic Development Ministry Elvira Nabiullina informed Prime-TASS.
Almost all rooms in the key hotels in the city have already been booked up for the SPIEF dates, experts in the local hotel market say. A member of staff at the Park Inn Hotel Nevsky said that the hotel is booked out for the forum, and that single rooms had been priced at 12,900 rubles per day ($457). From June 20 the same rooms are priced at 7,650 rubles ($271).
At the Park Inn Pribaltiiskaya only standard rooms priced at 9,800 rubles ($347) remain available for the SPIEF dates, and prices will fall to 5,500 rubles ($195) immediately afterwards.
The Courtyard by Marriott on Vasilyevsky Island, according to a member of staff there, also has just a few remaining rooms available for the forum dates. A standard room on June 16 costs 19,000 rubles ($67), whilst three days later the price for the same room will fall to 8,000 rubles ($284), he said. “The SPIEF dates are a period of heightened demand for hotel services in St. Petersburg, and we offer rooms at open prices,” a Marriott spokesperson said.
At the Sokos Hotel Vasilievsky the price of a standard room on June 15-18 is 13,000 rubles ($46), while it is 8,400 ($300) after the SPIEF. A member of staff at the bookings department said, however, that reservations had to be made for the full four days of the event. A spokesperson for the marketing department at Sokos declined to comment on the reasons for the price hike.
For St. Petersburg hotels, hiking prices during the forum is standard practice, complains a top manager from a major federal company. Apart from prices, however, there is another catch — the hotels force guests to book for at least three or four days, he said. Members of City Hall’s Investment Committee met last week with representatives from 15 of the city’s largest hotels, including the Astoria, Sokos and Park Inn, as well as representatives of the Russian Consumer Watchdog and the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, committee representative Zarina Gubayeva said. The hoteliers were asked to follow basic business ethics and not raise their prices during the forum, as it has a negative impact on the image of St. Petersburg as a tourist and business center, she said.
The hotels have no grounds for such price hikes, and the city is monitoring the issue with the Anti-Monopoly Service and the business community, Matviyenko said.
The city authorities cannot ban price rises and the hotels are operating within the law, Gubayeva said. Last year, hotels suspected of price-fixing by the Anti-Monopoly Service managed to clear their names in court.
The organizers of the forum are offering accommodation on two motor yachts: The Utopia (72 meters in length) and The Northern Light (45 meters), according to the forum site. The minimum rental period is five days. The yachts can accommodate up to 12 guests and can be used to host corporate events. The cost of renting The Utopia is 3.6 million rubles per day ($128,000) or 18.45 million rubles ($654,000) for the week, while The Northern Light will cost 1.25 million rubles ($44,300) or $6.3 million rubles ($223,360) for the same periods.