RTÉ spent €50k on luxury hotels for chat show guests

RTÉ last year spent almost €50,000 putting up celebs and other guests in luxury Dublin hotels appearing on The Late Late Show and The Ray D’Arcy Show.

RTÉ spent €50k on luxury hotels for chat show guests

A number of the stars stayed in the five star Conrad and Dylan hotels as they were two of the six hotels that secured an RTÉ contract to accommodate station guests in 2015.

Figures released by RTÉ in response to a freedom of information (FoI) request confirm that RTÉ last year spent €30,428 on accommodating guests who appeared on Ryan Tubridy’s Late Late Show which works out at an average of €822 per show.

In addition, it spent a further €18,857 on accommodating guests in hotels appearing on The Ray D’Arcy Show

— or an average of €608 per show.

Advertised room rates for the Conrad yesterday show you can book a room from €387 for a king superior room to €1,913 for the presidential suite per night for Friday week while nightly room rates for the same weekend at the boutique Dylan hotel — a favourite of Kylie Minogue’s — start at €229 and go up to €569.

However, the rates RTÉ pay under the contract would be substantially lower than the advertised rates.

The contract awarded by RTÉ for the hotels is for them to accommodate celebrity guests, presenters, contributors, advisers and external guests for all of its programming.

In total eight hotels pitched for the business and other hotels included in the RTÉ partnership deal include the Ballsbridge hotel in D4, Bewley’s hotel, Ballsbridge, the Radisson Blu at Stillorgan and the Stillorgan Park hotel.

RTÉ’s FoI unit would not specify how much each hotel received from RTÉ in 2016, though the unit states that “the majority of the hotels used by RTÉ are preferred suppliers from a tendering process”.

The FoI unit refused to state how much each hotel was paid because the “ability of RTÉ to run and manage its business cost effectively is of significant importance to RTÉ. Disclosure of such material would prejudice RTÉ contractual negotiations in respect of future services”.

It said “the majority of RTÉ’s competitors are not required to release these records on the basis that they are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Their release would therefore be unfair to RTÉ and would put RTÉ’s competitors at an unfair advantage vis-á-via RTÉ.”

The guests have to pay for their own alcohol and other refreshments in the hotel. In the tender, RTÉ has specified that no alcoholic drink or bar items are to be charged to RTÉ and no additional charges or services are to be charged to RTÉ by guests.

At the time of the contract award, an RTÉ spokeswoman said that “tendering for services has enabled RTÉ derive multiple benefits including cost savings, continuity of relationship, flexibility, and ensuring that best quality services are delivered at best value cost”.

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