Soaring accommodation prices mean anyone hoping to snap up a last-minute hotel or B&B deal during the Open Championship in Portrush will be left disappointed.
The return of the tournament to Royal Portrush for the first time since 1951 has sent accommodation prices through the roof, with some providers charging thousands of pounds for a three-night stay.
The world’s best golfers will gather on the famous Dunluce Links from July 18 - 21, battling it out for the Claret Jug in front of a sell-out crowd of around 190,000 people.
Golf fans from all over the world will descend on the north Antrim coast, and hoteliers, B&B owners and campsite operators are cashing in on the huge influx of tourists.
Demand for beds in the vicinity of the course during Open week has seen prices skyrocket.
Many accommodation providers have already had to put up the ‘No Vacancies’ signs, but for anyone wanting to head to the north coast to soak up the atmosphere over the four days of The Open, some options are still available – albeit at eye-watering prices.
As of last night, Booking.com had a three-bedroom cottage in Bushmills on offer for July 18 - 20 for a jaw-dropping £4,500, while Expedia was advertising a luxury tent in The Open Boutique Campsite, close to the course, for a staggering £1,644 for the three nights – though the price was significantly cheaper on the Yippee Tents website.
Joel McNeilly, who runs the Co Antrim-based pop up accommodation company, said the prices being commanded are “unbelievable”.
“We have customers coming from the UK and Ireland, but also America, South Africa, Australia, all over the place,” he said.
“The demand for accommodation has been incredible. I’ve heard that one big celebrity actually paid off someone’s mortgage so they could use their house during The Open. It’s insane.”
Yippee Tents will be providing around 45 - 50 luxury tents on a site close to Royal Portrush.
“We are fulfilling a need as there is clearly not enough accommodation in the area for an event of this size. It’s the biggest thing ever to happen in Northern Ireland,” Mr McNeilly added.
Also on Expedia, a four-bedroom townhouse in Portballintrae was still available last night for July 18 - 20 for £3,042. And the Booking.com website had a five-bedroom apartment available in Portstewart for tasty £4,500.
Other accommodation options still being advertised last night included a luxury cabin in Bushmills for £1,410, a four-bedroom house in Coleraine for £4,500 and a two-bedroom house in Ballycastle for £3,000.
And it is not just accommodation providers in and around Portrush that are cashing in on The Open, others in places such as Limavady, Ballymoney and further afield are also seeking to benefit from the increased visitor numbers.
Last night the Booking.com website was still offering a three-bedroom apartment in Limavady for £3,400 for three nights, and a four-bedroom villa near Benone for £2,800.