The chief executive of a Mumbai-based company, for instance, said he has decided to drive more than 500 km to Ahmedabad for the match.
“It’s crazy out there,” said the CEO, who did not wish to be identified. “I paid ₹65,000 for the match ticket alone and have decided to drive down now, due to the non-availability of quality rooms and high rates.”
On Saturday afternoon, the ITC Narmada hotel in Ahmedabad, which is hosting the Indian cricket team, had very limited accommodation available and was charging ₹4 lakh a night, plus ₹72,000 in taxes, for one of the rooms for Sunday night on Booking.com. In comparison, rooms in the hotel were available on the portal for ₹11,000 plus ₹1,980 in taxes for a stay on November 21.
Airfares have seen a similarly sharp increase in the past few days. The head of a global hotel chain, who is travelling with his spouse from Delhi, said he has paid ₹40,000 one way per person for the flight to Ahmedabad. “Is there a rationale behind me paying so much? There isn’t. It’s all emotional. It’s about the Indian cricket team playing in the World Cup final in India,” he said, requesting not to be identified.
With Ahmedabad running out of hotel rooms, neighbouring cities and drivable destinations such as Vadodara, Gandhinagar and Udaipur have also seen a dramatic upswing in hotel tariffs and airfares.On Saturday, no direct flights were available for routes such as New Delhi-Udaipur and Mumbai-Vadodara till November 21 and November 24, respectively, across travel portals.A Welcomhotel ITC property in Alkapuri Vadodara was quoting close to ₹30,000 per room for Sunday night.
“Vadodara, a relatively lower priced market vis-a-vis Ahmedabad, has also seen an unprecedented surge in airfares and hotel rates due to the cricket match as a lot of people have decided to fly or drive for two hours in from Vadodara to the stadium,” said Vikramjit Singh, president, Lemon Tree Hotels. “Our Vadodara hotel is sold out. Fans have also booked flights for Udaipur and are driving down for four hours to see the match.” The last room at Lemon Tree Premier, The Atrium in Ahmedabad was sold for ₹55,000 plus taxes, said owner Parvez Malik, who also owns other hotels in Gujarat.
“Everyone is trying to cash in on tomorrow’s match. There are not enough quality rooms in Ahmedabad. There are about 60 new properties that are going to come up in the Ahmedabad urban area, but that will take time. People are also staying in Vadodara and Gandhinagar,” said Malik of Lemon Tree Premier.
The Leela Gandhinagar hotel was sold out for November 18-19. Gift City Club, a member of Radisson Individuals, in Gandhinagar was charging Rs 43,000 plus Rs 7,740 in taxes for Saturday night, while the Taj Gandhinagar Resort & Spa was charging Rs 77,000 plus Rs 13,860 in taxes for Saturday night on Booking.com.
Rates for The Belvedere Golf and Country Club, located about 12.9 km from Gandhinagar, for Saturday night were about Rs 89,500 plus Rs 16,110 in taxes.
Manoj Sharma, vice president, operations for Gujarat at The Fern Hotels & Resorts, said there had been a huge upsurge in prices in Ahmedabad and nearby destinations ever since India reached the final.
“The last room in our upper midscale hotel, The Fern Residency, in Ahmedabad, which is about 15 minutes away from the Motera stadium, was sold for Rs 60,000. Our properties in Vadodara are almost sold out. Our luxury resort, MYSA Zinc Journey by The Fern in Sanand, is almost sold out,” he said.
Sky’s Not the Limit
The CEO of a pharma company, who flew in from Dubai, said he made staying arrangements with friends for a night in Ahmedabad since there was hardly any availability in hotels. Match tickets were being re-sold for as high as Rs 2.5-4 lakh by some people who had bought them.
Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, co-founder of mattress and sleep solutions startup Wakefit, stated on LinkedIn that fans could sleep for free at the Wakefit store in Sarkhej Gandhinagar after showing their match ticket and could also email to book the offer in advance.
Many fans, like the managing director of a Singapore-based firm, however, told ET they had decided to cancel their travel plans and watch the match at home.
“It does not make sense to pay so much. For the semi-final itself, the price was high. My friend has paid over Rs 3 lakh for the tickets alone. I would rather sit at home with friends and family and watch the final,” the executive said on condition of anonymity.