With the death of Queen Elizabeth II earlier this week, London could see a surge in demand for accommodation as visitors flock to the British capital to pay their respects to the country’s longest-serving monarch.
“The eyes of the world are going to be on London for the next 10 days,” Thomas Emanuel, senior director of STR, which provides data analytics for the hospitality industry, told MarketWatch. “There will be an influx of media, an influx of dignitaries, and an influx of people that just want to be there.”
STR doesn’t provide forward-looking data on hotel rates, but Emanuel expects to see strong demand for London accommodation during the U.K.’s 10-day period of national mourning.
Decades in the making, a plan reportedly known as “Operation London Bridge” lays out the mourning period events, which include the monarch’s lying-in-state at Parliament’s Westminster Hall and a state funeral at Westminster Abbey.
The U.K.’s last state funeral was for Winston Churchill in 1965. More than 300,000 mourners filed past Churchill’s casket at Westminster Hall and a million people gathered along the route of his funeral cortege, according to History.com.
With throngs of people expected to visit the capital to pay their respects to the late queen, the U.K. Government’s Cabinet Office issued guidance to visitors to London Friday. “We recognise that many people will travel to Buckingham Palace and other Royal Residences as a mark of their respect,” it said. “We expect large crowds, which can pose risks to public safety.”
“As you would expect a number of organisations will now be making practical preparations including contingency planning for the State Funeral and related events,” the Cabinet Office added. “Further details will be made available shortly.”
Users on social media have already noted rising prices for some London hotels.
“Was looking to book a Marriott hotel in London yesterday before the death of our Queen for this coming Sunday £116 now £260,” tweeted one user under the name @Martinp12411552.
“Hotels in Belgravia and Mayfair, #London are taking the biscuit,” tweeted another going by the name Henrietta under the handle @XH487. “They have block locked bookings for the funeral of HM the Queen to sell at triple plus rates!
“This should be marked as treason!” they added.