Millions of people are planning travel to Greece this summer as the nation is continuing to work on shoring up the country against the spread of Covid-19. This means that this visit this summer will be different than most with mask use required still and more separation between people and groups. But, another thing that many are noticing is that the prices of many hotels are higher than before. Here are some reasons why that is.
Why Hotel Prices are Higher in Greece This Summer
There is no question that Greece needs tourists far more than tourists need the Mediterranean sunshine. Last year was abysmal for the nation that depends so heavily on tourism, due to the coronavirus. This year is something of a make-or-break situation for many companies in the country and they need a great tourism season.
Airlines are getting into the action with more flights direct from the US this year than ever before (see this post for a full schedule and breakdown) and Aegean Airlines, the Greek airline, is running promotion after promotion to encourage travelers within their vast European network to fly to Greece.
There are some hotel deals floating around but one trend that many travelers have seen is that the same hotels they have visited in years past or eyeballed for past vacations have gone up in price this year. This may seem counterproductive to these businesses that need visitors in order to make it (earlier estimations said that over 60% of independently owned hotels could possibly close). Here are some of the reasons for these climbs in prices.
Last year, millions of foreigners had to cancel their planned trips to Greece because of the travel restrictions/fear of sickness/etc. Many hotels gave them vouchers for the money they had spent for their stay or the vacation company they booked through gave them vouchers.
These vouchers were, for the most part, for the amount of the stay, not a stay certificate. For example, if you paid $2,000 for a week at a hotel in Santorini, you may have received a voucher but it was likely only good for the amount of $2,000 and not a seven day certificate.
That money that you paid those hotels is now long gone – these hotels now need fresh cash to stay afloat. If all the vouchered customers try to come this year to the hotels, that means that new customers that would be paying in new cash may not be able to get a reservation. So, to compensate a bit for that and to get some new money, prices have gone up, especially at smaller hotels where there may be less than 20 rooms/villas in the whole property.
This is one big reason for some hotels charging more this year as they try to get cash for this season since they had very little to nothing in terms of actual visitors last year yet still had expenses.
Size of Property
Another reason I had eluded to above – the size of the resort/hotel. In the islands, there are many hotels or resorts that are smaller and more intimate in their setup. If such a place has only 7 rooms, they do not mind having some people keep on scrolling past due to high prices if they can fill it at the price they want.
In other words, if they are charging the same price as in past years, they may fill up but they have the chance to make even more money this year so they could just raise the prices by 20% and then they would be ok if they aren’t running 100% capacity every week if they can still bring in visitors.
These smaller properties are perfectly setup for a covid-19 world since they are not required to have a doctor on call or quarantine rooms and they are already naturally setup for social distancing. These places could sell quickly and for all summer be quite full so the owners will naturally try to get as much as they can for them.
Pro tip: if you are able to be a little adventurous, you could always wait until days before your arrival at a property that has had high prices and still has open rooms. They will want to fill those rooms so they may drop the prices at the last minute. But, be ready to pounce and have a backup plan just in case because there will be a lot of Greeks that will also be waiting for those prices to come down.
Demand and Amenities
This is a natural case as well. Greece does not really know what to expect this year but they know that there are a lot of foreigners who had to skip their expensive vacations last year and they are ready to spend a lot of money this year on a vacation that they feel they really deserve after the last year or so.
As a result, many of the best and popular places are going to fill quickly – even larger hotels. Some of these places may have prime beachfront area that is private and people really want those spots on the beach! Greece is a perfect place for social distancing since many people want to swim and relax on the beach and having a private beach makes it even more appealing to those that want to really keep their distance.
The demand at many hotels is going to be huge this year, especially later in the summer since many want to see what happens with the early part of the tourist season and to make sure that the country is fully open when they plan on arriving. That demand is going to cause those prices to rise, of course.
How to Save Money at Hotels
Definitely check out hotels that are in the portfolio of major chains with award programs – like Hyatt. I did a post a couple of years ago about the huge footprint that Hyatt has now in Greece and will be doing another post shortly giving more detail on these properties and booking them.
But, many of these places do have award availability which, even though the point prices may be high, can give extreme value at properties that have seen higher prices than in years past. So, look for opportunities to spend your points!
Use the Hotel Website
Also, do not start your search for hotels at the big online travel sites (like Expedia/Travelocity/etc) – start the search right with the hotel. Many hotels may have deals for bookings to attract customers and even to offset the higher prices they may have. For example, a hotel may offer a fifth or sixth night free, especially if they have a restaurant on the premises/spa/other services and it is a more high end. Giving you that free night means they can get more money from you at their on-site service areas.
Another thing is that by doing your search on the hotel website is that you may get some extras thrown in like credit for the property or similar. Not only that but you may be able to select a slightly nicer room or one with its own private pool (for example) when you may not notice those things just scrolling through Orbitz. So, starting at a hotel website, especially an independent one, is a good move.
Look for Independent Hotels
Greece is full of independent hotels. As a matter of fact, Hyatt only “owns” (as in the name) 2 hotels in Greece, the rest are there are a result of Hyatt’s partnership with Small Luxury Hotels. I know I said many of the smaller independent hotels have hiked their prices but check around with something like Google Maps in the area you want to stay in and see the names of the hotels that pop up. Then, check prices and reviews.
You may find such a hotel and it may have some pretty great deals, especially if the website isn’t that great. There are a lot of businesses like that in Greece (as well as many other places) where they do not have great SEO or even great, original website design so they may get overlooked.
If you are planning a Greek vacation this year, you may have noticed the increase in prices at many hotels. The above reasons are some of the reasons this is happening. There are also some tips on how to get better deals but if you don’t mind the increases in price, staying at those locations may just help ensure that that hotel will be around next year. If you have a wonderful time at that hotel, you will want to make sure it can keep going.
Remember – a vast amount of restaurants, cafes, and hotels in Greece are family owned and operated and have been for years. If you do have to pay more, it is not like that money is going to waste but will be greatly appreciated by the people that have also been hit very hard in the last year as a result of coronavirus.