Lonely Planet article on soaring hotel and car hire costs a worry for Tourism Ireland 

Lonely Planet article on soaring hotel and car hire costs a worry for Tourism Ireland 

A steady level of complaints online from visitors to the country on social media was monitored, with 55 of 68 issues raised in a single week relating to costs, and 42% of all complaints specifically about car hire.

Tourism Ireland was worried a Lonely Planet article referencing “soaring hotel costs” here and how renting a car would make a “significant dent” would get “amplified” across the world.

Monitoring by the state agency found there was a steady level of complaints online from visitors to the country on social media with 55 of 68 issues raised in a single week relating to costs, and 42% of all complaints specifically about car hire.

They said there was continuing “low-level feedback” on the cost of renting a car as well as hotel room costs from trade partners and on social media.

However, Tourism Ireland said it had so far largely escaped negative coverage in mainstream media in a briefing paper.

The country-by-country special report on rising costs said trade partners in France were particularly concerned about “ongoing price and availability issues”.

Operators in France were seeing hotel room allocations cancelled as well as “very high weekday rates for Dublin city centre hotels”.

“Price increases in restaurants have also been flagged as a concern,” said the report. 

In addition, some tour operators have reported that key attractions no longer take group bookings – a critical component of a group tour for holidaymakers.

In Belgium and the Netherlands, tour operators reported issues with cancelled hotel rooms due to their reallocation for refugees fleeing Ukraine.

The special report said: “Tour operators have reported that additional costs are frequently being borne by themselves and hotels as a proportion of these sales were booked in advance by consumers (when rates were lower). Rental cars are a challenge in terms of cost and availability.” 

From the USA, there was feedback about the supply of accommodation and car rental.

Airport queue and baggage issues

There had also been high-profile coverage of the queue and baggage issues that have dogged Dublin Airport for the past number of months.

The report added: “The markets with the highest number of messages received around these topics were from Italy, BeneLux [Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg] and the US. Complaints currently represent only around 2% of weekly engagements.” On car hire, the report said rental prices were an issue in many countries and continued to get widespread media coverage.

However, while high car prices here were occasionally used as an example, Ireland had not been identified “as an outlier on the topic”.

Tourism Ireland was also worried about an article from travel bible Lonely Planet, which warned tourists of “soaring hotel costs” and how renting a car would make a “significant dent” in a visitor’s budget.

An internal email said: “It came up as a top story alert for me on Twitter so will keep an eye on that – danger of it getting amplified across countries as a tourism topic.” 

A colleague responded to say: “Thanks, we’ll … keep an eye out for whether this is picked up in non-Irish media.” 

In an information note, Tourism Ireland said the country-by-country report – which was released under FOI – was one in a weekly series prepared by their in-house strategy and insights team.

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