The Paris 2024 Olympics are now less than a year away, with opening ceremonies next July 24, and the games continuing to Aug. 11. Individual tickets for many events are already sold out, and lodging is becoming tight. But it’s still possible for travel advisors (and individuals) to book travel packages to the Olympics including tickets, hotels, and local experiences by working with On Location, the official hospitality provider for the Olympic Games.
Olympics Packages from On Location
On Location is the sole company officially licensed to sell event tickets and event hospitality packages to the public. The ground-only packages are offered in three areas: Tickets plus On-site Hospitality (think luxury boxes with champagne); In-the-City Hospitality (event tickets plus access to their central Paris Club House event and hospitality center); and Travel Packages, which can include lodging, transportation, and tours along with event tickets.
“Our role is to turn your Olympic dream into a reality,” said Will Whiston, executive vice president of Olympics at On Location. “We take the concern out of travel to the Olympics, simplifying it and helping customers navigate the entire process from booking a room to getting to the event venues.”
Some bookable over-the-top experiences via On Location include an Eiffel Tower luxury suite from which guests can watch beach volleyball on the courts below, and Opening Ceremony tickets at a French bistro-style venue built on a bridge overlooking the Seine River, where a parade of boats will carry national delegations below as guests sip champagne and nibble hors d’oeuvres.
On Location offers standard packages as well, with lodging at three-star hotels, and tickets to non-marquee events where prices are more reasonable than the premium showcases. Travel advisors should be aware that Olympic events will also be taking place outside of Paris. On Location also offers packages at Marseille for the sailing events and at Lille for the basketball tournament where U.S. fans will want to watch their favorite NBA stars battle global competition. Equestrian events taking place on the grounds of the Palace of Versailles are currently sold out, but might be expanding.
For both premium and standard Olympic hospitality packages “what we’re seeing in terms of interest is pretty wild,” said Whiston. He said availability is still there, but “you need to jump on it now” to secure your events and experiences of choice.
While individual event tickets are already almost completely sold out, On Location still has access to all the prime events popular with American fans, including Track & Field, Gymnastics, Swimming, and Basketball. Advisors can purchase Team U.S.A-focused packages to watch events and sports with their favorite athletes. Marquee events are still available, including luxury boxes to see the finals of the Men’s 100 Meters and other races. But the experience doesn’t come cheaply — a Silver Athletics in-venue hospitality package begins at about $5300 per person for a day.
Lodging is also a challenge for individuals seeking to visit Paris during the Olympics. “Hotels are harder to come by than tickets right now,” said On Location executive vice president of experiences, Brian Wilder. Many hotels are already charging “exorbitant rates” with some requiring two-week-long minimum bookings, according to Wilder. For the benefit of its customers, On Location has pre-negotiated room blocks and room rates, enabling visitors to book shorter minimum stays at reasonable costs. To set client expectations, Wilder says “Paris has an abundance of four-star hotels, but not as large a range of options for five-star and three-star properties” close to the event venues.
On Location does not book air travel to Paris, but according to Whiston “getting a flight to France isn’t the hard part right now,” as many tickets are just starting to be released for booking by airlines, with availability still high and prices still as reasonable as they ever are for European travel. For example, discount carrier French Bee still has $320 one-way fares between New York and Paris (Orly airport) during the Olympics, although advisors should “anticipate higher pricing due to demand” in the months ahead, according to French bee U.S. director of sales Thomas Renault. Iceland Air also currently offering decent fares between the U.S. and Paris next summer, albeit with a stopover in Iceland.
Travel advisor benefits with On Location
On Location’s staff includes a dedicated resource to support travel advisors. The company is also in the process of developing a travel advisor portal for agents to register and access information and booking of travel packages. The portal is expected to go online in mid-October.
Travel advisors can reach out for information and advice directly to On Location at: [email protected], or go directly to the website to explore client options. For advisors booking trips for handicapped or mobility-restricted clients, On Location offers an ADA request form, and a staffer focused on processing those requests.
Commissions for travel advisors working with On Location range from 6% to 10% depending on the style and level of the package booked.
The company is advising consumers to book as soon as possible to attend this once-in-a-lifetime event.