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Hotel Prices

Tourism Minister seeks research into 'price spikes' at Irish hotels during big events

Minister Catherine Martin warned that the spikes have the potential to damage the sector’s reputation.

THE MINISTER FOR Culture and Tourism has asked Fáilte Ireland to carry out research into pricing in Irish hotels amid frustrations over high costs.

The issue of hotel stay prices has been simmering in recent years and came to public attention in the last few weeks as costs soared for events such as St Patrick’s Day and Taylor Swift’s scheduled concerts in 2024.

Tourism Minister Catherine Martin has confirmed that she has requested Fáilte Ireland, the statutory body for Irish tourism, to commission independent research into the scale and frequency of pricing issues.

The minister said that Ireland is not a low-cost destination but that the hotel sector must provide value for money to maintain its reputation. 

“The long-term impacts of short-term thinking need to be carefully considered by all tourism businesses in setting their prices,” Minister Martin said.

“While there is fair value to be had in tourism accommodation, including hotels, around the country for much of the year, there are specific price spikes at specific times and locations, often coinciding with concerts and sporting events.”

She warned that the spikes have the potential to damage the sector’s reputation.

“I am advised by Fáilte Ireland that this is not necessarily representative of the wider hotel sector in general but, to bring some definitive facts to bear on the situation, I have asked Fáilte Ireland to commission independent research to better understand the potential scale and frequency of any pricing issues based on the best available empirical evidence with recommendations for actions arising, as appropriate.”

The minister raised the issue at a recent Hospitality and Tourism Forum in June, which she co-chaired.

Officials in the Department of Tourism are engaging with Fáilte Ireland on a “range of issues” related to tourism, including potential concerns around pricing, according to the minister.

“I think it is recognised that businesses, including hotels and others within tourism, continue to face significant cost pressures due to inflation and other economic factors. Rising costs however are not unique to the tourism industry and are a challenge for the wider economy.

“Businesses need to be able to make a sustainable trading margin but they must also pay attention to their pricing and how they can continue to deliver added value to ensure their long-term viability.”

She said that the issue of price spiking appears to coincide with certain concerts or major sporting events but that she wants “the hard data” and recommendations from Fáilte Ireland’s research.

“I know that apart from the research that I have asked Fáilte Ireland Ireland to do, that they would have even written last winter to registered accommodation providers and would have asked every business to consider Ireland’s long-term value-for-money reputation when setting prices.

“That was repeated again at the industry information events, which were attended by over 2,000 industry members, and by invitation at the Irish Hotels Federation, IHF, conference earlier this year too.

“As I said, I have asked that the research report be delivered in the autumn and in addition I have asked that the research make recommendations. These can inform both the Department and Fáilte Ireland in considering how to proceed.”

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