HOTELIERS are tripling their room prices this weekend in a bid to cash in on two of the biggest concerts of the year.
Take That will play to a combined audience of more than 160,000 people at Croke Park on Saturday and Sunday, generating an estimated €50m for the local economy.
However, hoteliers are taking advantage by bumping up their prices for last-minute fans.
The Maldron Hotel on Parnell Street quoted €349 to the Irish Independent for its last remaining room on Saturday night -- the same room would cost €115 for a Saturday night in July, or just €67 for a Sunday night.
When asked why there was such a variation in price, the reservations spokeswoman simply said: "Because Take That are playing Croke Park that night."
The Gresham Hotel on O'Connell Street has upped its prices by €100 for Saturday night, quoting €350 as a room-only rate -- the same room costs €250 the following Saturday or just €180 on Sunday night.
Unsurprisingly, the Croke Park Hotel is fully booked for the entire weekend.
On Amiens Street, the three-star North Star Hotel is charging €275 for bed and breakfast on Saturday night -- the same room would cost €139 the following weekend.
The Clarion Hotel IFSC is now fully booked out this weekend but last-minute double rooms had jumped to €320, up from the usual rates of between €99 and €290.
Jurys Inn on Parnell Street and at Custom House and Christchurch were all fully-booked and refused to quote what they had charged customers for last-minute rooms.
"The market dictates the price," a manager of one of the hotels, who didn't wish to be named, said last night.
"During most weekends of the year you can get a hotel room in Dublin for as little as €50 or €60.
"There are a handful of big weekends during the year when there are huge concerts and rugby finals when hoteliers charge a little extra.
"However, it balances out considering how cheap rooms are during the rest of the year.
"Any business person will know when these big weekends come along and will avoid hotel stays to avoid paying top rates.
"It is not just in Dublin that this happens, this is a situation replicated in every major city in the world. Overall, the hotel rates are very competitive, so I don't see how putting the rates up for a handful of weekends during the year could be considered taking advantage."
Meanwhile, restaurants north of the Liffey are preparing for a busy weekend.
Popular French bistro Le Bon Crubeen on Talbot Street is expecting a brisk trade on Saturday night and has only limited availability for Sunday night.
"We have been getting a lot of calls from groups of women who are heading to the Take That concert and planning to make a night of it," said a spokesman.
Gardai are advising concert-goers to take public transport to the Take That shows.
Organisers are concerned a large proportion of the crowd will drive to the concert because of the older age demographic of the group's fans.
The Pet Shop Boys will take to the stage at 7pm and roads around Croke Park will be closed from 3.30pm on both days.
There are two designated car parks at O'Connell's School, North Richmond Street; and the Mater Dei car park, Clonliffe Road.
Full details of traffic restrictions and car parks can be found on the garda website at www.garda.ie.