The hotel made a special price for the students, but is asking that the students behave like hotel guests. “So far it’s been very harmonious” says hotel manager Thomas Van Parijs.
Today student digs in Ghent cost around 500 euros a month, but due to the great shortage of rooms Ghent University has had to strike a deal with the Holiday Inn. Rooms here are a little pricier. Students are paying half the bill with the university making up the rest.
“The 32 rooms for students at Holiday Inn are located on a dedicated corridor, which is separate from the rest of the hotel. In this way they won’t disturb any of the guests” explains Thomas.
This doesn’t mean the students are free to party. “We’re mainly accommodating postgraduate students. We expect a certain maturity.”
The students have been staying at the Holiday Inn for two months now. There have been no issues and students, staff and guests get along fine. “We do a special price for the students’ breakfasts too” says the hotel manager “and their parents get a reduction, if they stay with us when they visit”.
The Holiday Inn sees this as a one-off. The hotel was able to offer the rooms to the university given the drop in bookings due to the pandemic.
Tourism in Ghent is still not back to pre-pandemic levels.
“I hear it from colleagues too” says Thomas. There is less demand. We are fortunate in that we are a business hotel. We possibly have fewer guests during the holidays, but this week we are fully-booked with a lot of meetings.”