Irish hotels should end 'unfair' single supplements, senior tourists say
Single supplements are a penalty on solo and older holidaymakers, says Active Retirement Ireland
Irish hotels should put an end to single supplements, Active Retirement Ireland has said - dubbing the practise as "very unfair".
"Many of our members travel alone, either because they are widowed or out of personal choice, and they shouldn’t be punished for doing so,” says Maureen Kavanagh, the organisation's CEO.
"They feel that it's a penalty for being single."
Single supplements typically cost €20 to €30 per night above the going rate, Kavanagh says, and 74pc of Active Retirement members believe this is unfair, according to research released this week to coincide with its AGM.
The voluntary organisation has some 25,000 members countrywide, which it says are worth over €13 million a year to Irish hotels.
"Our members kept the Irish hotel industry afloat during the recession... and many now feel let down by the lack of flexibility," Kavanagh says.
"Rather than hark back to Celtic Tiger period rates, we would urge Irish hotels to withdraw the single supplement charge as this would attract significant custom from our members."
Single supplements stem from a holiday industry based largely on double rooms and "per person sharing" pricing, and can add heftily to a bill.
However, hotels counter that the surcharges are necessary to compensate for losses incurred when one person occupies a room designed for two or more.
"The cost of providing and servicing a hotel room is the same irrespective of whether it is occupied by one or two people," a spokesperson for the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) told the Irish Independent. "It still needs to be heated, have a television, lighting, bathroom, be cleaned and refurbished etc."
Pricing is a matter for individual hotels, the IHF says, and guests should shop around.
Both solo travel and 'silver surfer' markets are on the rise (last year, a British Airways survey found some 50pc of female respondents had taken trips alone), but there are still relatively few single rooms available in hotels or guesthouses.
Kavanagh agrees lost revenue can be an issue in peak season, but says "senior tourists" tend to travel midweek and off-season, when more rooms are lying empty.
"If the hotel isn't full, then why are they penalising people for filling it?"
"Our organisation is based on keeping older people well and active, at reducing loneliness... this is just another barrier for older people to travel."
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