rooms for cricket supporters
all of the arrangements being announced by the Cricket World
Cup Committee, little is being said about the still outstanding
negotiations to secure rooms for the supporters of the teams
that are expected in droves in the Caribbean come 2007.
While the WICB has already secured rooms for the so-called
Tomsteams, officials, media and sponsorsno
agreement has yet been reached between the travel agents
hired by the International Cricket Conference and Caribbean
hoteliers on rates to be charged and paid for rooms for
The core of the problem revolves around Cricket Logistics,
the chosen travel agents wanting lower prices than the hotels
are willing to offer. The travel agent is said to have based
those projections on rates that fell dramatically after
the 9/11 (2001) bombing of the World Trade Center.
In the wake of that event, travel was severely limited all
over the world and so hoteliers, like all other business
operators, had to follow the rules of the market and make
downward adjustments as demand was low and many rooms remained
However, over the last couple years, tourist arrivals have
picked up significantly, surpassing even the pre-2001 period.
Logically, therefore, rates went up with the increase in
But the problem is compounded further when it is considered
that the World Cup is happening during the peak winter season,
the time when the hoteliers, like the entire travel and
tourism industry, charge high rates.
The situation is further exacerbated when it is taken into
account that for the hoteliers to rent their rooms to the
cricket fans, they will have to turn down business from
their regular travel agents who fill their rooms year after
Good business logic would obviously require an even further
increase of rates to compensate for any long-term injury
their business may suffer resulting from a hotelier saying
no to a regular business partner: sorry, but we cannot accommodate
you this year during the period of the World Cup, but come
back next year same time and we are sure to provide you
with rooms for your guests.
That business reality means greater risk for the hotel operator
and therefore the need for greater compensation. Those are
basic laws of business that will not be seduced into relaxation,
even by the historic staging of the premier one-day international
The figures are said to be miles apart: Cricket Logistics
offering US$150 a day at the lowest level, the hoteliers
saying nothing short of US$250 would suffice. At the higher
levels of quality hotel rooms, where hoteliers charge US$600
and more for their rooms, the travel agent is said to be
prepared to pay no more than US$300.
At one point, Grenadas Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell
had called on the hoteliers to compromise in the interest
of the West Indies staging a successful World Cup. But he
has subsequently changed that tune and said the two sides
had to work out their differences.
Already, Caribbean governments have committed to tens of
millions of dollars in the renovation and construction of
stadiums and the several other ventures to be funded. But
if they continue to be committed to the staging of the tournament,
maybe they would be the ones to make up the difference between
what is being offered and what is needed.