Hotel operators near London’s Heathrow airport have reaped the benefit of the chaotic opening of the new Terminal 5, figures have revealed.
A host of problems with BA’s baggage system led to 430 flights being cancelled during T5’s first week in operation following the 27 March opening.
This saw average room rates and occupancy levels hit a five-month high as stranded passengers looked for accommodation, according to research group STR Global.
Its figures showed that average occupancy for Heathrow hotels in March was 78.3% while average room rate was £79.25, the highest levels since November.
James Chappell, vice-president of sales and marketing at STR Global, said with hotels in the area operating at such high capacity before the T5 delays it would be difficult for operators to push up the average room rate at such short notice.
Anuraag Badola, senior consultant at TRI Hospitality Consulting, told Caterersearch: “It is because of the delays that hoteliers in Heathrow have been able to charge a higher rate.”
A spokesman for BA said that mistakes had been made in compensating passengers: “An old style customer disruption letter was initially handed out in error in T5 which said that customers could claim up to £100 for hotel rooms. We are investigating as to how the letter was printed and given out in the terminal.”
BA has promised to compensate passengers for cancelled flights, hotel accommodation, food and drink and transport costs, in accordance with the EU regulations.
By Christopher Walton
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