Sinead Ryan: 'No doubt there's element of hotel price gouging' for Taylor Swift concerts

Rachel said a hotel room she booked in Dublin city centre, through a third-party website, has been cancelled
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.37 3 Jul 2023

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Sinead Ryan: 'No doubt there's...

Sinead Ryan: 'No doubt there's element of hotel price gouging' for Taylor Swift concerts

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.37 3 Jul 2023

Share this article

There is no doubt there's 'an element of price gouging' by some hotels around dates when Taylor Swift performs in Dublin.

That's according to consumer expert and host of The Home Show Sinead Ryan, who was speaking as a number of people have seen bookings made for next June being cancelled by hotels.

Rachel said she booked a room in Dublin city centre, through a third-party website, for €265 the day the concerts were announced.


"Yesterday I got an email to say the booking was cancelled," she told Lunchtime Live.

"They didn't really give a reason, they just said in the email [it was] due to internal reasons.

"I'm not sure what that means, it didn't go into it.

"I've sent a reply directly to the customer service of the booking site that I used, so I'm waiting to hear back".

Rachel said the hotel offered her the option of 'alternative accommodation' near Wicklow.

"I'm living in Meath; there's no point in me heading the opposite direction, when the whole point of booking the hotel is to have the convenience of staying in the city centre," she said.

'Snafued their bookings'

Sinead Ryan said she is hearing the same thing is happening to a lot of people.

"It's not just Rachael, I've been hearing lots of anecdotal evidence of this happening - particularly, and curiously, around the Taylor Swift gigs," she said.

"It seems to me that a number of accommodation outlets have snafued their bookings: double-bookings, over-bookings, computer glitches.

"There's no doubt that there's an element of price gouging going on here".

Sinead said it is 'particularly annoying' considering the lower VAT rate the sector has enjoyed.

"We have seen it with hotels, mainly in Dublin when there's gigs on, and it is happening now," she said.

"It's particularly annoying because the hospitality sector has enjoyed a reduced VAT rate during COVID, money to restore it after the pandemic.

"The Government, and Leo Varadkar particularly, [is] not hiding the fact that if they don't behave themselves that they will step in.

"I would like to see that happening sooner rather than later.

"It's not all hotels - it's not even most hotels - but it's really annoying when this happens because the availability is both restricted and now extremely expensive".

Consumer rights

Sinead said Rachel's options with the hotel that cancelled her booking may be limited.

"When you take out a contract for anything you have to have an offer of a room, you accept the room and then you pay what's called consideration - which is some money towards it," she said.

"The rules for consumer rights don't distinguish between whether you've paid up-front for the room, or you've opted to pay on the day at the hotel.

"However the law allows hotels or people to cancel the hotel based on the terms and conditions of the contract, but there's no automatic right".

Taylor Swift on stage during her '1989 World Tour Live' in 2015. Taylor Swift, seen on stage during her '1989 World Tour Live' in 2015, will play two dates at Dublin's Aviva Stadium in June 2024. Picture by: Sam Kovak / Alamy Stock Photo

Sinead said the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is clear on what has to be done.

"There's no automatic right for consumers to retain the original booking; the only right they have is that they are restored financially if that booking is cancelled," she said.

"It's much harder for a hotel to undo and refund bookings or multiples of them... than it is to go through a third-party booking site and say, 'Cancel, cancel, cancel' and then have some excuse".

Sinead said the amount of complaints made to the CCPC may galvanise them into action.

"The CCPC don't take individual complaints from people, but what they did say to me was the more people that lodge their complaint... it enables them to go off to do a deep-dive and to check it.

"I would encourage anybody to whom that's happened [to make a complaint].

"That could prompt an investigation, and they have quite hefty teeth if they're seeing that's happening over and over.

"If it's outside Ireland, it's the European Consumer Centre - ECC Ireland - same thing," she added.

Listen back here:

Main image: Split-screen image shows consumer expert Sinead Ryan, and an example of a hotel booking app on a smartphone

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