Football Fans Play an Accommodation Waiting Game for Euro 2012 - Polish Hotels Not Ready to Take Bookings - Booked.net.

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On-line hotel reservation site Booked.net says this a business opportunity lost.

It seems like it is going to be a last minute lottery for accommodation, we’ve already had several complaints.

The Polish hotel industry is not ready to take bookings for the Euro 2012 Football Championship, leaving fans playing a waiting game, according to Booked.net.

Ticket sales for the Union of European Football Associations' (UEFA) 14th Championship began on March 1, yet seven months later ticket-holders planning travel are not yet able to book accommodation in Polish host cities, the on-line reservation website says.

Booked.net chief communications officer Jared Morgan said that left fans with no guarantee of finding a room in a hotel they liked - mirroring the situation in co-host Ukraine.

“It seems like it is going to be a last minute lottery for accommodation, we've already had several complaints.”

Polish hoteliers were potentially losing business by not offering people the chance to book rooms at a time when they would be planning their trips, he said.

“UEFA has also already expressed concern about whether Polish accommodation facilities can meet demand, hotels not allowing a fan to book now only fuels those concerns.”

However, UEFA had been given preference for hotel bookings and the association’s so-called “family” had been taken care of.

“Where does that leave the fans”, Morgan said.

UEFA rules stipulate hotels hosting organizers and VIPs from the “family” must give up 65 percent of beds to them, with the remaining 35 percent available to fans.

Morgan said the fans should not be neglected and his advice to Polish and Ukrainian hoteliers was to act now and look at how hotels elsewhere responded to large-scale events - Oktoberfest was a good example.

“Munich hotels were taking bookings for next year's Oktoberfest long before the last drinks were poured this year,” he said. “Munich has experience hosting a festival that attracts similar, if not higher numbers of people – to one city, hotels in Munich are ready to take bookings for the next festival, but the wait for Polish and Ukrainian accommodation continues...”

About 230 days from the start of Euro, Poland hotel booking systems across the host-cities of Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw and the capital Warsaw remain closed.

A search of Booked.net's live connection to hotel reservation databases shows few are ready to accept bookings.

Booked.net called hotels across the cities and found those that had taken reservations had been booked by the “family” or were not taking reservations this far out from the start of the event on June 8.

A Radisson Blu Hotel Gdansk spokeswoman said the hotel was booked for most dates of the tournament, but would not confirm if hotel rooms had been taken by the “family”.

Only two of the 32 hotels listed in Gdansk on Booked.net's database were showing availability for the dates of the competition – a situation repeated in Warsaw, despite 43 hotels listed.

Poznan listed between four and six hotels for the dates of the competition, while Wroclaw had between two and three hotels available.

The Polish host-cities offer about 38,000 beds in hotels. Hotels in Warsaw where the opening, quarter-final and semi-final matches will be held, account for more than half of that total.

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Jared Morgan

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