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Last Updated: Friday, 8 July, 2005, 18:53 GMT 19:53 UK
Hotels 'cash in' on bomb attacks
Thousands of commuters chose to walk for hours to reach home
Thousands of commuters chose to walk for hours to reach home
Hundreds of commuters spent Thursday night stranded in London and some have accused hoteliers of cashing in on the bomb attacks.

Prices at a number of London's hotels increased by more than double on Thursday night, the BBC has learned.

Lastminute.com said price rises for hotels featured on its site had been set by hotels themselves.

However, some hotels offered blankets and use of showers for free and other businesses donated goods to casualties.

The attacks on the Tube network and a double-decker bus killed at least 50 people and injured more than 700.

'250 room'

A Trading Standards Institute spokesman said hotel profiteering after a bombing attack was reprehensible.

With the transport networks down and no way of returning home, one businessman from Manchester told the BBC he had paid 250 for an 80 room.

Commuters said they were appalled, and thousands chose to walk for hours to reach home rather than stay the night in a hotel.

A spokesman for the British Hospitality Association, which represents hotels, said he was surprised by the increases.

Grant Hearn, the CEO of hotel chain Travelodge, said the price rises were a "disgrace".

"Travelodge is outraged to hear reports of hoteliers taking advantage of the situation to increase rates and deplores the idea that anyone should have had the insensitivity to take advantage of the tragic circumstances," he said.

Forensic officers search the bus blast site
Police are looking at whether the blast were suicide attacks

"That type of behaviour has gone, and was never acceptable in the first place. It makes us all look bad.

"It's outrageous, and I believe the companies doing this should be named and shamed."

The BBC News website received e-mails from readers who said higher than expected prices were charged by some hotels belonging to the Thistle Group.

A Thistle Group statement said: "Following press speculation Thistle Hotels would like to confirm that it did not raise its hotel prices as a result of the tragedy that occurred on 7 July 2005.

"An emergency conference call took place at midday with all London, Heathrow and Gatwick hotels to discuss the incident and to confirm that there would be no rise in prices and other contingency instructions were issued."

Treatment centres

The statement added customers who had booked rooms but cancelled or did not show up on Thursday were not charged, and that this information was posted on the company's website.

London's hotels were 80% full before the blasts, and on Wednesday the UK tourist industry was celebrating the news of London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games.

But some US tourists have cancelled bookings for the coming week.

Scene of bus explosion
A bus as well as Tube trains were hit

The Hilton Metropole, located near the Edgware Road bomb blast, was used as an emergency treatment centre for casualties.

The Marks & Spencer department store on Edgware Road also allowed rescue staff to use it as a treatment unit, gave food and water to rescue teams and casualties, and also provided blankets and clothing.

A spokeswoman said: ""They just did whatever they had to do. The priority was making sure the casualties were OK. That meant giving them blankets and clothing from the shop floor.

"It's what anybody would do in that situation. We are part of the community."

Your comments

Last night I stayed in a hotel in North Acton. When I rang to inquire about a room, during the middle of yesterday morning, I was quoted a price of double the normal charge for a room. When I queried this, the woman at the hotel said "well London is blocked up and nobody can get out". I took the room because I felt (like many others) that I had no hope of getting home - not so much a free market as a captive one. To boost profits in this way is abhorrent and those doing so should be ashamed.
Martin Poulter, Croydon

Rising prices in response to increased demand is a proper business response. An everyday transaction you'd expect from a business/economic centre like London. Business life goes on - despite the insanity of the bombers - just as it should.
Barry Coidan, Walthamstow, London

I am appalled by what I have just read. This is utterly shameful behaviour by people who are supposed to be in the hospitality trade. If these are the people that tourists and visitors often have first contact with when they come to London I feel very sorry. The Londoners I know would never dream of behaving like this.
Caroline, Bristol, ex Londoner

I can't believe everyone is complaining about these hotels. It's simple supply and demand. If you don't like it perhaps you should move to a country that isn't based on capitalism.
Andrew, Manchester, UK

Staff from our Call Centre had to stay at the hotel as they could not go back home, even the fact that we have a corporate rate, and situated in zone 4 they charge us 100 for a triple with a single occupancy, the normal price is 55. It's pathetic that they are cashing in during such bad circumstances.
Dominick, Wembley

It appears we have a split, with the vast majority helping and assisting, shops giving out blankets, clothing, drinks and drivers giving lifts to stranded strangers and then those who profiteer. Why not name and shame, then I, like many others can choose on my next trip whom to give my business to. In the long run who will then profit?
Sharon, Manchester

My company managed to arrange a hotel room for the night at the usual rate. The travel adviser told me, however, that some hotels she had spoken to were charging up to 600 per night. I agree with all of those who say hoteliers profiteering from yesterday's events should be publicly named and shamed and asked to donate last night's takings to the emergency services and hospital trusts. They are a disgrace to the city.
Jonathan, Woodford, Essex

My firm also put some of us up. A normal room that cost 100.00 last night cost 270.00/295.00. How anybody can profiteer from any atrocity (no matter how big or small) is outrageous. I was fortunate that I wasn't the bill payer. I also agree in that any hotel room that was taken because of yesterday should be donated.
Tracey, London

I run a hotel in Earls Court and we offered rooms free of charge up until 6pm to guests who were due to depart yesterday but had to stay until transport was available. We also waived any cancellation charges, as did some of the travel agents. Room rates were the same as usual and we offered free internet use and assisted with alternative travel arrangements and made sure all guests were looked after. I know that other hotels in the area were doing the same.
Connie, London

At the opposite end of the scale. I booked four rooms at a local hotel at about midday, only to find out later that my staff didn't need them after all. Although it was well within his right to charge me, the manager was happy to accept my cancellation with no charge at all.
Suzanne Goodenogh, Earls Court, London,

I needed a booking in a hotel as the Docklands area was completely gridlocked. I called the International Hotel and they accommodated me for a very reasonable rate under the circumstances. Maybe the Hotels in the City were cashing in on the unfortunate incidents.
Cilla Andrews, Docklands, London

My daughter's firm were putting up some of their staff at a local hotel in Baker Street - the hotel upped their tariffs dramatically - people who take advantage of this sort of horror are totally disgusting and their hotel and owners and/or managers should be named and shamed now. There is absolutely no doubt at all that rip-off Britain will prosper at the 2012 Olympics. Well done to our brave emergency services and our courageous population.
Catherine Pordage, London,

So much for the human spirit, it makes you wonder what goes through peoples minds you have builders walking off building sites, giving blood to help out, and hotel managers thinking how they can make a quick profit. Not only should the government step in to make them pay the money back (it would be great to find out if they can be sued for doing something like this as well). But if these are major hotel chains they should be named and shamed and companies should put them on a black list.
James Mason, London

I was due to spend a weekend in London - my first time in 30 years, the hotel I have dealt with has been exemplary, we have had a full refund. I hasten to add I have not postponed my trip due to fear but due to the logistics of getting in and around the city. I will not allow terrorists to dictate to me whether I visit a city or not, my trip is merely delayed!
Gwenda Mayers, Manchester, UK

Surely the hotels could be happy simply with the money they made from keeping their prices the same?! By raising their price they're only pushing people to other hotels, most likely rivals. So if they had kept their prices the same then they would have inevitably made a similar amount of money. It's disgusting that they're taking advantage of people who are scared and panicked from the recent events in London.
Eve, Birmingham

Hmm, why should the hotelier not raise his prices when it is possible? He is not running a charity and he doesn't owe you a hotel room. Of course, you're entitled to not rent the room. If you do, then by renting it at that price, you proved the hotelier right to charge this money (it's a free market in a free country, remember)
Cinnamon, London

Perhaps the price rises reflect the difficulty of providing a service, the hotel staff and services being affected just like everyone else.
Illi, East London UK

Working in Docklands with little prospect of easily crossing a stricken capital I booked a room quite early on in the day. No problem: 47 room-only. Maybe I was lucky.
Mark Powell, Maidenhead, Berkshire, UK

The hotels caught profiteering on Thursday must be named and shamed in the media, with a list posted at all the major railway stations and airports for all to see. In contrast, we should also acknowledge those hotels and businesses which opened their doors without question to help injured victims and passengers. This is the real spirit of London, not a few greedy hotels, giving the rest of us a bad name.
Mandy Friend, Croydon, Surrey

Let's really name and shame these appalling hoteliers. I remember at the time of the Paddington rail disaster how Sainsbury's automatically assumed a key role of their premises being used as a point for injured people or people caught up in the confusion. Hoteliers should have followed their example and opened their lobby doors - as a minimum - to those who weren't able to pay for a nights' accommodation.
R Sooknanan, Berks

One hotel chain raised their rate for police officers from 85 to 150, despite having a prior arrangement in case of major incident! Disgusting!
Name Withheld, Woking

If it does come to light that some of London's hotels capitalised on yesterday's atrocities, after knowing that London had been attacked by terrorists, then they should be named and shamed, the least they can do is donate the day's takings to the ambulance or emergency services. When the rest of London pulled together and a terrible day they should be ashamed.
Helen, London Bridge, London Bridge

I had to stay in a hotel that cost me 270 when normally the price is 65. Its pathetic that they are cashing in during such bad circumstances.
Matthew Montichinos

Raising prices for rooms in hotels last night is disgusting behaviour and those hotels should be forced to repay the extra. But in the long term the hotels of London will become a victim, they have been suffering reduced business since 9/11 and now this will finish a lot of them off as tourists are already cancelling their stays in London.
Graham, Wallington

See scenes across London after the bomb attacks

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