Visitors to hotels in Westport are being assured that value for money is top of the agenda for those travelling to this Mayo tourist haven, despite a survey by a hotel website claiming otherwise this week.
On Tuesday last the online booking site, hotels.com published a hotels price index which asserted that Westport hotels were the most expensive in the country.
The claims have been refuted by hotel representatives in Mayo, with Fergal Ryan, chairman of the Irish Hotels Federation in Mayo, and general manager of the McWilliam Park Hotel in Claremorris, claiming the story is a fallacy.
“This website does not even represent the whole hotel trade and only a portion of hotels in Westport are represented in that report,” he said. “The real facts are that some of the best value in this country at this time is actually here in Mayo. Take for example a three night midweek break at our hotel, on offer at €99 per person — a hugely popular rate that has prevailed for the last three months and will again for the next three months at least; these top value deals are reflected in hotels right across Mayo, despite the fact that trading conditions are continuously difficult.
“As far as the hotel industry in the west goes, the time was never better for people to book a room, the value has never been better,” he added. “We are looking forward to a good bright future, the weather is good, visitors are promised the best experiences, we have a top landscape, the right people to deliver the product in abundance, and lots of live entertainment. This weekend alone our highlight will be the Ireland rugby team taking on England in Twickenham. Come on over on Saturday afternoon and enjoy the match with a Fish and Chips dinner and a pint, all for €10.”
Chairperson of Destination Westport and proprietor of the Clew Bay Hotel, Darren Madden, also refuted the report. “We are amazed in the first instance that the media picked up on the statistics quoted and where they were taking them from,” he said. “The fact is this website only represents three or four hotels in Westport town who are paying commission of anything up to 40 per cent to have their stock sold, probably at a mark-up of about one third. So these skew the figures from what is reality.
“We can assure visitors coming to Westport if they go on to each hotel’s own website they will get the best value but if people decide they want to book on third party websites, that take commission of 15 per cent upwards from hoteliers, then they should not be surprised to have to pay a premium also for the booking rates.
“I am not going to tell you that Westport offers the best value in Ireland, because the facts are we try to get the best at any time and we are competing with other destinations; but we are also as competitive as any and that is borne out by the huge number of visitors and repeat business that comes back to Westport year after year.”
Mr Madden added that certified reports on the Irish hotel industry were available to all those interested in the subject.
“If people really want to know the facts on value for money in the Irish hotel industry, there is a certified annual report published by the Dublin chartered accountants firm, Horwath Bastow Charleton, which is the recognised measure for people looking at the hotel industry and to which I would refer those genuinely interested in the subject.”