Hotels finally cash in on Ski-VM

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Most hotels in the Oslo area were fully booked this week and through the end of the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships (Ski-VM) on Sunday. After a disappointing start to the championships, in terms of business, some hotels have now grabbed the chance to double their rates, reports newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN).

Ski-VM fans like these have descended on Oslo, and finally filled up hotel rooms. It's also winter vacation for schools outside Oslo this week, so more families are traveling to Oslo. PHOTO: Iselin Næss/Oslo 2011

Hotels including Best Western Bondeheimen and First Hotel Grims Grenka in downtown Oslo boosted their rates for a double room by NOK 1,000 (USD 182) or more.

DN reported that the Best Western’s website, for example, was quoting rates of NOK 2,195 (USD 399) for March 3-4, when the sold-out relays take place and ski jumping off the new Holmenkollen Ski Jump begins. That’s  NOK 1,100 higher than the rate of NOK 1,095 quoted for a double room when the championships end.

Hege Ramm of Best Western told DN that most hotels set their rates according to demand. Two of Best Western’s hotels in downtown Oslo doubled their rates, but lowered them a bit last week when expected demand failed to materialize.

Helge Krogsbøl of First Hotels seized the opportunity to capitalize on strong demand this week, but complained that the demand “came much too late. We had expected our rooms would be full last week, too, when the championships began and it was winter holiday” for area schools. “Things have picked up this week,” he said. While Oslo students have gone back to school, the annual winter holiday week started on Monday in many counties outside the capital. Families from western Norway are thus more likely to travel to Oslo for Ski-VM this week than last week, and unlike the locals, they need a place to stay.

Not all hotels are gouging visitors in Oslo this week, with the Radisson hotels keeping rates steady at its Plaza property downtown and the luxury Rica Grand Hotel quoting the same rate of NOK 2,410 for a double room both this week and next week when the crowds will subside.

Both Ramm and Krogsbøl credit Norway’s medal rush at the championships with the increased interest and demand for rooms. “We’ve seen demand grow with all the attention around the gold medals,” Ramm told DN. Norway led all the nations competing in the championships with a total of 10 medals as of Wednesday morning, four more than the next -closest competitor, Austria.

Norway’s triple gold-medal winner Marit Bjørgen, meanwhile, is also cashing in on her success. She’ll pocket NOK 288,000 from FIS (the international ski federation) for the gold medals alone and her season’s winnings are expected to top NOK 1 million, reports newspaper Aftenposten. Her sponsorship opportunities are also lucrative, and she may earn around NOK 7 million (USD 1.2 million) in 2011.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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