During The Olympics, Out Of Sight Is Not Out Of Mind

With the Summer Olympics just a month away (July 27-Aug. 12), participating athletes, teams, coaches and marketing sponsors are awaiting the Games with baited breath. But others feel they have been baited into an unwanted situation.

According to a recent survey from the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, more than eight million people said they have or would be taking to the streets to cheer on the Olympic Flame as it makes its way around the U.K. en route to the Opening Ceremony.

Concurrently, in polls conducted by U.K. market research firm ComRes, 64% of locals said that taxpayers paid too much to help cover the cost of the London-based Games, 71% felt that the 2012 Olympics would not benefit the lives of people in their area and 48% responded that the Summer Games are "not worth the public money being spent on it."

In a survey conducted by online travel site Orbitz, 54% of those who responded said they would attend the Summer Games in London this year "if money were no object." However, London was not among the top ten summer destinations (the top five were Las Vegas, New York, Orlando, Los Angeles and Seattle), with respondents saying they were most concerned about hotel costs, transportation and other monetary issues.

Polls conducted by various media outlets in the U.K. showed that the asking price for hotel rooms this summer in and around London was up across the board, in some cases double-to-triple what they would normally go for during a non-Olympic year. 

JacTravel, which works as a hotel room supplier for travel agents, tour operators and Internet travel sites, confirmed Orbitz's findings regarding the status of London as a summer destination. The London-based firm said that international arrivals to London would be down more than 35% in July and 30% in August, coinciding with the Olympic Games.

"It's a great event; great publicity for the country, but what we need is sensible hotel pricing, and to make sure it goes back to normal very quickly," Mario Bodini, JacTravel's CEO, told Reuters.

However, this on-sight situation may only enhance an already golden situation for NBC, which anticipates a rousing viewership during its coverage of the Games via TV, Internet, mobile and other devices. 

A report from Taylor Strategy, "2012 Consumer Engagement Survey: Social Media and the Olympic Games," indicates that 80% of those polled said they would use TV to follow the events. In addition, 72% of "avid fans" said they would watch TV with friends and/or family and connect with others via social media while the Games were in progress. 

That's good news for official Olympic marketing partners that are planning to make solid connections with consumers via TV commercials and online activation, which is part of more than $1 billion in overall support being put into the Olympics.

According to Taylor's Jackson Jeyanayagam, svp-Digital Strategy for the global PR and marketing consulting firm whose clients include Olympic marketing partners Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola, “Two or three screens will become the norm during [the Olympic Games]."

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