HIKES in hotel prices during Cheltenham race week could risk putting people off visiting the town, a publican has warned.
More than 200,000 people flood into the town for the annual festival, which takes place next month, giving businesses a much-needed shot in the arm.
Hotels are usually packed throughout the week and many residents even give up their spare rooms to run bed and breakfasts to earn extra cash.
With accommodation at a premium, hotels ramp up their prices – sometimes by more than 300 per cent.
But Jo Dimond-Brown, landlord of the Fiery Angel pub, in Hewlett Road, said hotels and other businesses were in danger of pushing racegoers too far. "People have had enough of being fleeced," he said.
"We're in real danger of putting people off coming to the town.
"I have always made a point of keeping my prices the same and we get the same people coming back to us year-on-year.
"But the same can't be said for the rest of the town, where hotels and bars seem intent on putting their prices up to make as much money as they can.
"It's gone too far and I have heard people saying they have had enough."
With this year's race week fast approaching, on March 12, hotels have already set out an aggressive pricing structure to maximise their earnings.
At the Hotel Du Vin in Parabola Road the cheapest available double room on the Friday of race week is £385 compared to £85 for this Friday – a hike of £300.
Meanwhile, at the Big Sleep Hotel, in Wellington Street, the equivalent booking goes up from £75 to £265.
Staff at both venues said their prices were consistent with the trend across the town and they had already had lots of bookings for race week.
Kat Rack from Hotel du Vin said: "We keep a close eye on the prices of hotel rooms in Cheltenham and our prices fluctuate accordingly.
"Whilst it may seem expensive during race week to some people, it is consistent with the rest of the town."