30 November 2009

Olympic pettiness

No one protects their brand more zealously than the International Olympic Committee. They are an arrogant outfit and once they alight on a city, they like to control every aspect of the games, including the money game. It isn't surprising then that the Vancouver Organizing Committee (VANOC) is perturbed that some hoteliers in the city are charging rates during the 2010 winter games in excess of those agreed upon by most hotels. The majority signed a pact with VANOC to limit their rate increases to 16 per cent. A few didn't.

Why, one wonders, shouldn't those few make hay while the winter sun shines? It's called free enterprise, supply and demand, and all that. If the majority wanted to sign a pact, that's their problem. And why is VANOC so upset when it has the great majority of the hotels under its thumb? Is absolute loyalty to the OIC required if they grace a city with their favours? Must every last one submit to the Olympic ego?

In any case, these wayward hoteliers will feel the heavy hand of VANOC. It monitors rates and leans on hotels who earn its displeasure. It has requested Tourism BC remove the offending hotels from the Olympic-sanctioned travel website, and is urging those hoteliers who have signed the pact to put pressure on their peers.

Considering the big, big bucks involved in the 2010 winter Olympics (almost a billion dollars for security alone), it seems incredibly petty to pursue a few small entrepreneurs. If those who want to go their own way are being greedy, they are just getting into the Olympic spirit. Or at least into the IOC spirit.

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