Over the past 3 months, much has been said about the lack of affordable accommodations during the time in Dusseldorf, and specifically their availability during the key dates between the second semi final on 12th May until the Final on the 14th May.
Dusseldorf is a city that has approximately 23,000 hotel rooms and hostel beds on offer, potentially hosting up to 30,000 people at any one time. These numbers are similar to previous host cities and Dusseldorf has successfully hosted large events in the past without concern for availability.
For anyone currently searching for accommodation however, what is hindering your search is two things:
Firstly, as many would have already heard, coinciding with the tail end of the Eurovision season is the Interpack Convention. Interpack is the Worlds’ largest commercial packing business gathering and there are expectations that upwards of 100,000 will attend the event. As the dates have been known for sometime, many hotels had already booked out places for fair attendees.
Secondly, almost as soon as Dusseldorf announced its intentions to host, centrally-located and reasonably sized chain accommodations in much of the city were ‘block-booked’. This is not an unusual occurrence for Eurovision. This when hotels expecting to be used to host delegations, participants and media put a hold on the sale of rooms to satisfy the needs of the expected numbers that must be in attendance.
Whilst both of these are negatives in the opportunity to find accommodation in Dusseldorf, all is not lost.
What’s being done in Dusseldorf?
The host broadcaster is looking at solutions to solve the current accommodation woes. It has been reported elsewhere that this could include a mix of a satellite town with available hotels having dedicated 24-hour Eurovision transport, the use of riverboat accommodation in the centre of Dusseldorf, and a possible camp site on the citys outskirts. The first part of this ‘fan solution’ however was released in conjunction with ticket sales on Sunday – the use of private rooms within the Dusseldorf central area.
The Dusseldorf Tourism Board is inviting fans to fax details of their requirements to them to be best matched with vacant private rooms and apartments during the Eurovision period. Prices are reported to start at 39 Euro a night. Further details can be found at: www.duesseldorf-tourismus.de/en/esc/
What about outside Dusseldorf?
Additionally, there are a number of satellite cities around Dusseldorf that are still offering competitive prices and plenty of availability. Essen, Dortmund and Cologne are worth looking at as nearby big-city location possibilities. Cologne is located approximately 70 kilometres south of Dusseldorf, yet can be reached in just over 20 minutes by train. Trains between the two cities run regularly throughout the day, and approximately every hour through the night, making it a very attractive option for those concerned with cost rather than the actual proximity to the action. The average price of 3-4 star hotel rooms located in Cologne remains at a low 100 Euros per night, with hostels and no-frills hotel rooms even less.
For those of who you who must stay in a hotel and in Dusseldorf, and are baulking at the prices of the last available rooms in Dusseldorf for now, keep in mind that Germany on the whole is a far less expensive country than the previous two hosts. Food is cheap, accommodation outside that core period of 12-15th May is still readily available and affordable, and armed with a Eurovision ticket you are entitled to free transport to the event. Prices of 300 Euro a night are the inflated prices in Dusseldorf, rather than the norm like in Oslo. Overall, the Eurovision experience of 2011 is an considerably less costly one.
For those who can wait, it is predicted that more options will open up early in 2011. At the start of the year, the Eurovision.tv website will offer accommodation options for official press and fans. Once the situation of participant, delegation and media numbers become clear, hotels will eventually open up availability of their previously ‘block-booked‘ rooms. Its not expected that a flood of rooms will be offered online at the last moment at reasonable prices (as was the case for Moscow in 2009), but it should give some hope and joy to a few fans currently struggling with making attendance at the 2011 Eurovision a reality.