Hotel rooms in Dublin city are almost completely sold out ahead of St Patrick’s Day, with rooms also in demand for the Six Nations championship and Mother’s Day the same weekend.
The Irish Hotel’s Federation (IHF) said there is only approximately 1% availability left, while room prices in the capital have jumped by 18% over the last three years.
Despite more building, supply has yet to catch up with demand.
If you have left it to the last minute, there were just a few rooms left when searched through a popular booking site today.
The cheapest hotel room was €199 euro and nine kilometres from the city centre, whilst you could also pay up to €1,400 for something more central.
One booking offered was for two beds in a hostel dorm room, costing €427 for one night. An apart hotel was available for €760 for St Patrick’s night itself.
Denyse Campbell, President of the Irish Hotels Federation said a lot of people that are coming to the capital would have pre-booked their rooms months in advance, with the last-minute prices not being reflective of the value out there.
“We would advise people to book early if they are coming to Dublin and book directly with the hotel, because that’s where you get the best value.”
She added that room availability will always depend on events and pressure nights, which drive up prices.
“Over the St Patrick’s weekend, Dublin is effectively sold out”.
Ms Campbell said that Dublin is not an outlier when it comes to rising hotel prices across Europe, giving Paris as another example of a city where room prices have risen by 34%, and Rome where room rates have gone up 29%.
“Dublin room rates have increased 18% over the last three years and that’s really on the back of the huge costs we’ve incurred. Our energy costs have increased hugely, the cost of doing business, our food inputs, inflation has affected it”.
Dave Murray, Senior Director with CBRE Hotels said that in the greater Co Dublin area there are about 26,200 bedrooms available as of last month.
“We track every bedroom that is under supply and there’s about 2060 that will be delivered by late 2024.”
Following the global financial crisis in 2008, there was very little hotel accommodation built as it was not economically viable to build from the ground up, he said.
There then followed a surge in 2016 before construction slowed again during the pandemic.
“The prices that hotels charge are a function of supply and demand,” he said.
“Dublin as a market if you compare it to 35 other gateway capital cities in Europe, we sit top one, top two in terms of occupancy and the company that tracks supply and occupancy, their sample for Dublin is huge, it’s about 19,000, but 48% of that is outside the city centre, so all those hotels that are outside the core city centre are full, which is not the case in most European markets.”
The use of hotels as emergency accommodation has also had an impact.
“Approximately 20% of the hotel supply is being used for emergency accommodation,” he said, describing this as “obviously a real constraint.”
In Dublin’s Temple Bar, tourists staying in the capital had mixed views about the value available.
One Italian woman said she booked one month ago and had paid around €500 for three nights, close to the city centre.
However, she said she had noticed that prices had jumped to a “crazy level” ahead of next weekend.
“We are from Milan and the hotels are expensive there too so it’s ok, we didn’t pay so much. You know that Ireland is expensive so you will pay a lot.”
A Canadian woman said she was paying close to €300 per night for a room for two, having booked around three months ago.
“We’re from Toronto and Toronto prices would be the same so it’s nothing out of sight for us to do a major city for that kind of price and it is St Patrick’s week.”
A group of four from Cardiff in Wales had arranged a trip to Dublin as a surprise weekend away. They said Dublin seemed very pricey when compared to Cardiff.
One woman said she had spent about two hours online trying to find the best value.
“When we did a search, it was very difficult to get some reasonably priced hotel rooms that were value for money and in Dublin there isn’t.”
The group said that they might be put off returning again in the future
She said restaurants were also expensive, adding that they booked two months ago and were paying about €170 euro per night.
“You could go to Barcelona, go to Lisbon, you could go to Madrid for cheaper than Dublin. We’ve come here because the flights were convenient for us from our local airport in Cardiff but in the future, I would most definitely look at other destinations.”