Hotels Offer Deals to Attract Icelanders

Vala Hafstað

Many Icelanders are planning to travel domestically this summer, as they have been encouraged to do, Morgunblaðið reports. Due to a collapse of demand for accommodation, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the large hotel chains in Iceland will only operate part of their hotels this summer. Only seven out of Íslandshótel’s 17 hotels will be open, three out of ten KEA Hotels, and three out of eight Center Hotels.

The hotel chains will be offering Icelanders substantial discounts. Íslandshótel, for example, offers 5, 7 or 10 overnight stays, which can be used at one or all the chain’s hotels. Dog owners are welcome to bring their dogs, as long as certain requirements are met.

Davíð Torfi Ólafsson, CEO of Íslandshótel, expects the chain’s hotels to run at a loss this summer. “This keeps the cogs turning,” he states. “We still employ more than 300 people. They have jobs, and we’re attending to the Icelandic market.”

Demand is only a fraction of what it was at the same time last year. Between May 1 and 6, only 530 overnight stays had been booked at Íslandshótel for the summer, compared with 219,000 last year.

KEA Hotels offers packages in cooperation with various recreational businesses, such as golf, swimming and water sports, CEO Páll L. Sigurjónsson reports. More offers are being added.

“We, Icelanders, tend to book late and plan our travel based on the weather forecast,” Páll states.

Center Hotels in Reykjavík has numerous overnight deals for Icelanders, including gift certificates with a purchase, specifically offered to people who have worked in healthcare, stores and more during the pandemic. Gift certificates for the general public will offer up to a 50 percent discount, states Sara Kristófersdóttir, chief commercial officer of Center Hotels.

Unions that rent out cabins to their members report an explosion in demand for cabins this summer: almost all their cabins are booked up for the summer.

“Clearly, travel restrictions have a major impact,” states Sveinn Ingvarsson, who is in charge of cabin rental at Efling union, “and people don’t expect to be able to travel abroad.” 

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