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We’re In The News – Recent Wimbledon and Olympics Press About Us

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Suddenly, it’s Wimbledon already and, with the 2012 Olympics a few weeks away, I figured this is a good time to do a roundup of the recent press and editorial coverage about AccommodateLondon.com and TennisLondon.co.uk with excerpts and links to the full articles.

The Competition for Wimbledon Digs

Competition for Wimbledon Rentals - WSJ

By Tom Perrotta on Wall Street Journal

For the world’s best tennis players, the charm of Wimbledon isn’t grass courts, ivy or the tradition of all-white clothes. It’s the chance to live in a lovely Wimbledon home.

The tennis season runs from January to late November and many players spend as little as six weeks at home. On the road, life’s everyday perks—living rooms, commodious refrigerators, washing machines, backyards—are rare. So when Wimbledon arrives, players don’t just compete for trophies, but to find and secure the best digs.

First order of business: meet with Joanna Doniger, Queen Mother of Wimbledon rentals for the last 19 years. She brokers about 150 rentals a year during Wimbledon, all within walking distance to the All England Club. She’s doubly busy this summer, as the Olympic tennis tournament will be held at Wimbledon.

For the security of players, owners who rent their homes are sworn to secrecy about the identities of their famous tenants, though they are known to brag among neighbors after the tournament ends.

“People in Wimbledon are pretty well heeled, and there is a competitive edge,” Doniger said. “They want to have a top player in their bed.”

To learn more about the Southfields divide, Pete Sampras’ bed, and a squirrel invasion, see the full feature on Wall Street Journal …

. . .

Is it really so easy to rent out your house at medal-winning prices during the Olympics?

Renting your house for Wimbledon - The Independent

By Lena Corner at The Independent

Then I heard about Accommodate London, the people who set up Tennis London, which successfully cornered the market in letting out people’s homes in the Wimbledon area during the tennis fortnight. Joanna Doniger, who started it back in 1993 is an old pro and currently has 300 Olympic properties on her books and is charging a much more palatable 15 per cent in fees.

Doniger is much more downbeat about my prospects. She reckons I could possibly get £300 per night (£2,100 a week) for my house. “I think people are being pretty unrealistic about pricing,” she says. “Half of London didn’t get any Olympic tickets so they want to get out of town and rent their houses out. Plus we are in the middle of a recession – corporate companies aren’t spending money on this sort of thing. Ultimately it could be a way of making a bit of money to go on holiday, but it’s not going to buy you a car or change your life.” The areas where properties are shifting, she tells me, are Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs, Stratford and Victoria Park. “And there seems to be a market for bigger houses with say five to six bedrooms,” she says.

Doniger wouldn’t even take my house on, she says, because of bad transport links (the nearest station, Dalston, is a 10 minute walk away). When I tell her there’s also a bus which will get you to the stadium in 25 minutes she laughs. I try Knight Frank, which was quoted in the media as saying it was a “unique, exciting, buzzy time” for short Olympic lets. They have Sol Campbell’s Chelsea townhouse on their books for £75,000 a week. Jemma Scott, head of residential corporate services, tells me she usually deals with people of a “high net worth”, and from them she is receiving an overwhelming amount of enquiries. “The kind of properties we are dealing with are in Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge,” she says.

“And for those the clients expect to turn up with a suitcase and receive the standards of a seven-star hotel.” Not a shabby family home in Stokey then.

Read the whole feature on The Independent …

. . .

Olympic housing crunch: London landlords evict tenants to gouge tourists

Olympic Housing Crunch - MSN

By Marian Smith on msnbc.com

LONDON — Landlords in Britain’s capital are evicting tenants so they can cash in on this summer’s Olympic Games by charging tourists many times the usual rent.

“We’re [seeing] landlords beginning to evict their tenants,” Antonia Bance, head of campaigns for housing charity Shelter, told msnbc.com. “Lots of letting agents are writing clauses into contracts being signed saying you can live here with the exception of this period [during the Olympics].”

Joanna Doniger, owner of private rental company Tennis London, which finds short-term lets for players at the Wimbledon tournament, opened a new division of the company called Accommodate London last year after being bombarded with hundreds of calls from homeowners hoping to rent out their properties during the Olympics.

Doniger said she has been disappointed to discover that many prospective clients are actually investor-landlords who are kicking out their long-term tenants.

“I’ve had to take them into the corridor and say, ‘What’s this about?’” she said. “I just don’t think it’s right.”

Read the whole feature …

. . .

The real winners and losers of the Olympics

Olympics Winners and Losers - Evening Standard

by Stephen Armstrong in the Evening Standard

‘I’ve had a request for a nine-bedroom house from someone willing to pay £10,000 per day and wondering if they could land their helicopter in the garden.’

Joanna Doniger owns Tennis London, which lets out sprawling private homes to Wimbledon players and visiting media, and has set up accommodatelondon.com to extend this into the Games. ‘Most people approach us expecting to let out their beautiful and much-loved home for an enormous sum of money over months and months,’ she says. ‘The reality is you’ve got two weeks…’

Read the whole feature …

. . .

A home rather than a hotel for longer London stays?

Home or Hotel for Business Travellers - Reuters

By Joanna Doniger for Reuters

Around 7.1 million people visited the UK for business purposes from May 2010 to May 2011; a 5 percent increase on the previous year.[1] While many of these businesspeople are put up in hotels for short stays, longer visits of a week or more are often required for various events, meaning hotel bills can rack up, especially in the capital.

So what are the alternatives for business travellers coming to London?

There are a variety of other options available and there is currently a growing trend towards Londoners renting out their own homes. This can be a perfect solution for those travelling to London on business. Private home rental can provide a preferable and competitive alternative to hotels. During Wimbledon, for example, TennisLondon rents out houses and apartments to players, the media, global corporations and international companies for two weeks or more over the tournament period.

For businesses who are looking for an alternative option to hotels, private home rental can be a more appealing choice offering increased security and privacy, and also providing a tailor-made, hassle-free service in locations that really suit business tenants.

Read the rest of the feature on Reuters …

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The game’s up as Olympic rentals gold rush tails off into an also-ran

The game's up as Olympic rentals gold rush tails off - Guardian

By Jamie Elliott for The Guardian

“So very short lets only are worthwhile for owner-occupiers who can move back in immediately after the games and who have everything a visitor expects. They are completely unsuitable for landlords, even ones with empty properties.”

Doniger, who has been arranging accommodation for visitors to major sporting events for over 20 years, claims estate agents have only themselves to blame for the glut. “We have successfully let over 100 properties for the games in prime locations close to the Olympic park for between £150 and £200 per room per night, but a lot of letting agents are trying to get considerably more,” she says. “In this economic climate visitors are just not willing to pay those sums.”

Hefty commissions are a problem, too. “We charge 15% of the rent to let a property for the Olympics, exactly the same as for Wimbledon,” Doniger says. “But some of the big London agents are charging getting on for double that.”

Read the whole article …

. . .

More mentions…

Daily Mail: Will the Olympic boost ever arrive? Rental bookings for the sporting bonanza are thin on the ground

City AM: Getting Olympic rental prices for your home

World Property Channel: London 2012 Olympics Ticket Confirmation From Next Week Spurs UK Hotel Lodging Hunt

Financial Times: Olympic hopes for short-term lets (subscribers only)

Mayfair Times: Game On

Guardian: Can you rent out your home to Olympics visitors and make a fortune?

Telegraph: Go for Olympic gold by renting your home: Landlords and owners stand to profit from London 2012

ATP World Tour: Wimbledon Championships Diary

ESPN: Tennis players feel quite at home in Wimbledon

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A big thanks to all the journalists, writers, editors, photographers, subs, designers and production staff who put all this stuff together!

Cheers
Ken Sparkes

PS If you’re preparing an editorial feature and you think we can help, please get in touch.

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