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COVID Legitimate price rise or price gouging on the Camino?

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I have to admit I am of two minds here. On the one hand, I read the reports of pilgrims who feel they have been “fleeced” by owners who are taking advantage, but on the other hand, my reaction is that these owners are doing what they need to do to stay alive themselves. I don’t mean to start an argument about this, but would be interested in hearing others‘ opinions.

The article is in Spanish. I know there is a way to do google translate on it, but I hope someone else can give instructions for those who don’t read Spanish. Very detailed information here, with recent reports on the Primitivo, Norte and Francés.

Buen camino, Laurie
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
A simple explanation might be:

There is a basic amount of revenue needed to stay in business.
There is a minimum number of pilgrims per day to generate that needed revenue at $rate
If the current conditions has reduced the number of pilgrims below the minimum needed...
It is necessary to increase $rate to achieve the basic amount needed to stay in business.
Thus the price increases.

In most cases...not taking advantage at all if we are talking about albergues raising prices.

The Gronze article makes the case that it is suspected that some owners who have both dormitory and pension style accommodation on offer may be limiting the dormitory portion to force pilgrims to use the higher price rooms. No examples are given. It may, of course, happen in cases along the way..but I am doubtful that it is a wide spread practice.

It is also necessary to remember that for the most part the "owners" along the way are not wealthy owners of big properties with cash reserves. They have been without income but had most of the same expenses for the last months. Many (most?) have been stretched to the very end of ability to stay in business.
 
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Theatregal

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
So far...
2012 ~ 2019
A simple explanation might be:
There is a basic amount of revenue needed to stay in business.
There is a minimum number of pilgrims per day to generate that needed revenue at $rate
If there current conditions has reduced the number of pilgrims below the minimum needed...
It is necessary to increase $rate to achieve the basic amount needed to stay in business.
Thus the price increases.
In most cases...not taking advantage at all.
My thoughts as well. This is in no way "business as usual". The pre-covid business model (for pilgrim services) is simply not sustainable in current covid times. Reduced bed capacity / reduced pilgrim numbers /added costs as well for new cleaning & sanitizing protocols. I don't have specific thoughts on what is and isn't an appropriate price for all of the varied accommodation options and services but I still find it a bit of a miracle that pilgrims are walking and finding beds and food, all provided by people who are really "front line workers" as they care for and support the people that come through their doors.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I've not raised my price of €10 for a bed in a small dorm of 4, 6 or 9 (which is now 2 to 4 due to the Covid-19 regulations) depending if together or not, but many have and I understand. Sure I could raise my price to €12 but considering the number of pilgrims I'm having that would make little difference. To be honest, I would have to double the price to make it financially worthwhile to be open. This is the hard truth.

Pilgrims may think that albergue owners are taking advantage cause "in the guidebook it says X". Difficult situations sometimes call for difficult steps.

My personal solution will probably be to close for the season much earlier than planned. Add heating costs to the equation and...well I guess you get the picture.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
To be honest, I would have to double the price to make it financially worthwhile to be open.
You should send in a commentary to gronze!

I was hoping you would weigh in LT, because I know which side of the equation you fall on. What you say about making it financially worthwhile does cast a lot of the price complaints from the pilgrims in a less than realistic light. I have no doubt that there are some who are trying to make a fast buck and take advantage, like the guys who bought up all the hand sanitizer. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/22/us/hand-sanitizer-matt-colvin-noah-coronavirus.html

I’ve gone back to the article in light of your comments, and my take away now is that the article is unfairly critical of what the businesses are doing.

Hoping that all of these camino businesses survive, but that does seem unlikely. Buen camino, Laurie
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
owners who are taking advantage,
Well, in the first place, most of these albergues were established to "take advantage" of a business opportunity. So why would they provide this service if they cannot charge enough to pay for staffing, cleaning, administration, and the general additional headaches that are inevitable during these Covid times?

If the question is of "fairness" then I would ask what is not fair about it? I agree that the owner who posts one price outside and then charges a higher one is misleading people and thus not being fair. However, what is unfair about having to pay "más que si hubieran ido a Cancún en un paquete de agencia" (more than if they had gone to Cancún on a package tour)? It may be surprising, or disappointing, or even a bad business strategy, but what is unfair to the traveler? Or to the albergue owner?

If the problem is that people went with expectations of price A and then found price B, then that is just too bad. It is incredibly naive to expect no change during a pandemic!
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Camino(s) past & future
yes...
Not quite camino related (although I live in the Vezelay camino) - I have definitely seen an increase in food prices here in SW France. During lockdown there was a marked increase and whilst prices have come down, they're not down to the pre-march levels. I'm sure this will have an impact on other businesses in the area... for tourists and pilgrims.

When we walked in July I can't say that we noticed any increase, in fact the prices were much the same as last year? It is a difficult time for everyone and perhaps it is to be expected that some prices will rise. I just hope that all of these wonderful cafe's, bars and hotels survive and that they are still there for us when we can return.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
We have a government scheme this August providing a 50% discount on meals taken in bars and restaurants. Locally, the Rats Nest (name’s have been changed) is listing It’s Ham, Egg & Chips at £15, the July price was £12. A pint of bitter is suddenly £4:70 instead of £3:90. Local traders tell me their costs are up and trade is down.
Food prices are up generally. Supermarkets don’t bother with special offers anymore. I’m glad I grow my own veg and can forage and fish. I wish I could “brew“ my own Orujo 😉 but for now I’ll just make my choice, market price or no trade.
 

henrythedog

Loved and fed by David
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2017, 2018, 2019, Ingles 2018, (Madrid 2019 partial - retired hurt!) (more planned)
The cost of services which either have to devote more time to a customer (haircuts, physio) or those who can only allow a restricted number of customers (catering and hospitality) have gone up locally, and understandably.

it’s difficult to see why the cost of mass produced staples has risen and historic discounts been discontinued.

The first group are acting rationally and are struggling to get by. The second group might be thought to be taking advantage.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
My personal solution will probably be to close for the season much earlier than planned. Add heating costs to the equation and...well I guess you get the picture.
I stayed at Christine’s one very cold night in November, in an unheated dorm. I think she heated one dorm and the dining room, and gave me the option of unheated privacy versus the heated shared space.

There will be others happy to pay for the same unheated bed.
 

Jomas

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VF many times. Monaco-Lindau '15. Assisi-Pietralcina '17. CF '18. VF small part 09/20 next
It is unjustified and illegal for me to charge double or higher costs. In the long way I don't think it can bring so what benefits to the owners. And I am also sure that some of us will spontaneously give something more.
At worst it could be done like some of my compatriots: "put into my account .... I'll pass later"😱

I've not raised my price of €10 for a bed in a small dorm of 4, 6 or 9 (which is now 2 to 4 due to the Covid-19 regulations) depending if together or not, but many have and I understand. Sure I could raise my price to €12 but considering the number of pilgrims I'm having that would make little difference. To be honest, I would have to double the price to make it financially worthwhile to be open. This is the hard truth.

Pilgrims may think that albergue owners are taking advantage cause "in the guidebook it says X". Difficult situations sometimes call for difficult steps.

My personal solution will probably be to close for the season much earlier than planned. Add heating costs to the equation and...well I guess you get the picture.
I really appreciate your honest and clear intervention. You claim to understand the increases applied by other property owners, but in the meantime you have not. It does you honor and I really wish you to have great satisfaction soon :)
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
I have to admit I am of two minds here. On the one hand, I read the reports of pilgrims who feel they have been “fleeced” by owners who are taking advantage, but on the other hand, my reaction is that these owners are doing what they need to do to stay alive themselves. I don’t mean to start an argument about this, but would be interested in hearing others‘ opinions.

The article is in Spanish. I know there is a way to do google translate on it, but I hope someone else can give instructions for those who don’t read Spanish. Very detailed information here, with recent reports on the Primitivo, Norte and Francés.

Buen camino, Laurie
I agree that the owners are doing what they need to do to stay alive and I for one do not begrudge them for it. There are fewer pilgrims walking and they need to keep their livelihood going to be there when Covid is over (abated, etc.).
When I walked the Camino and I would hear what people were paying for a room and in most cases an evening and morning meal and I recall thinking "what a deal". I thought they were rock bottom prices. In the case of the donativos, some people were walking away without contributing anything. I recall thinking, how do these establishments sustain themselves. I mainly stayed in hotels or private establishments (just my preference) and for the prices I was paying for 8 hours in hotel, I thought people were getting off very lucky.
I am sure that whatever they are paying it is far less than they would have to pay for a 1-2 week cruise.
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
I think this happens everywhere , here in the Netherlands you see the same. They know that more people stay in there own country for their vacation and they take advantage of it.
It's not the way but as you said they have to survive.
I totally agree. Businesses everywhere have been raising their prices. If people expected things and prices to be the same on the Camino as they are during not Covid times, then perhaps they should have held off until the world had a better handle on things or until they could afford it. One cannot expect these people, whose livelihood depends on the revenue brought in, to just give them a bed, food, etc. basically for free.
 

Lirsy

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo, Norte, Francés, Volunteer Hospitalero.
I think it is a mixture of both situations.

On the one hand, you see albergues that are operating at a minimal fraction of their capacity (10/15%). This is due to the sum of two factors, the low number of pilgrims, the need to reduce the capacity of the albergue. (e.g.: in Cornellana, with a capacity of 36, we were 3 pilgrims).

On the other hand, there are albergues that are operating at 100% of the new reduced capacity. This can happen especially on the Camino del Norte where the albergues are almost full, mostly with tourists.
Some of them are even complementing their activity by working as a bar/terrace/restaurant for locals/tourists in the city. (e.g.: one in Muros el Nalon that had around 60/70 people dining on the terrace who did not sleep in the albergue - excuse me if I don´t want to say the name of the albergue).

For the first case, I consider that the price increase is inevitable. For the second case, I think the owners are taking advantage of the situation to maintain/increase their profits.

What I don't understand so well is why the public albergues are closed on the Camino del Norte (and might be in other Caminos with similar problems). On that Camino, finding albergue every night is quite difficult. As I mentioned, thousands of tourists are already filling the albergues.

I fully understand that in Caminos where the number of beds is well above the number of pilgrims, the public albergues are closed, avoiding unfair competition with the private albergues in these difficult times.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
I think it is a mixture of both situations.

On the one hand, you see albergues that are operating at a minimal fraction of their capacity (10/15%). This is due to the sum of two factors, the low number of pilgrims, the need to reduce the capacity of the albergue. (e.g.: in Cornellana, with a capacity of 36, we were 3 pilgrims).

On the other hand, there are albergues that are operating at 100% of the new reduced capacity. This can happen especially on the Camino del Norte where the albergues are almost full, mostly with tourists.
Some of them are even complementing their activity by working as a bar/terrace/restaurant for locals/tourists in the city. (e.g.: one in Muros el Nalon that had around 60/70 people dining on the terrace who did not sleep in the albergue - excuse me if I don´t want to say the name of the albergue).

For the first case, I consider that the price increase is inevitable. For the second case, I think the owners are taking advantage of the situation to maintain/increase their profits.

What I don't understand so well is why the public albergues are closed on the Camino del Norte (and might be in other Caminos with similar problems). On that Camino, finding albergue every night is quite difficult. As I mentioned, thousands of tourists are already filling the albergues.

I fully understand that in Caminos where the number of beds is well above the number of pilgrims, the public albergues are closed, avoiding unfair competition with the private albergues in these difficult times.
The Norte is a whole other story as the season is historically much shorter. Municipal are often staffed by volunteers, many of those retired and therefore in the "risk group". No volunteers to run the albergues compounded by the small numbers walking do not justify opening. This is also happening on the Vía de la Plata. A Camino and Forum friend is a permanent volunteer in a great albergue in Fontanillas de Castro north of Zamora. He would love to open and still hopes to in September but those responsible have yet to commit. Giving the increasing cases it doesn't look good.

Back to the Francés, the majority of the municipals and parochials manned by volunteets of HOSVOL are also closed till next year.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Roncesvalles to Sahagun Oct 2016
Sahagun to SDC April 2017 Burgos to SDC April 2018
I have to admit I am of two minds here. On the one hand, I read the reports of pilgrims who feel they have been “fleeced” by owners who are taking advantage, but on the other hand, my reaction is that these owners are doing what they need to do to stay alive themselves. I don’t mean to start an argument about this, but would be interested in hearing others‘ opinions.

The article is in Spanish. I know there is a way to do google translate on it, but I hope someone else can give instructions for those who don’t read Spanish. Very detailed information here, with recent reports on the Primitivo, Norte and Francés.

Buen camino, Laurie

Thank you for the article Laurie. If I might throw in my 10 cents worth (now 13 cents). I think that it should be expected that any business facing a shortfall in customers will have to raise prices somewhat to stay open. Frankly, I am amazed that there are as many people providing services on Camino routes as there are.

I don't feel that a rise of price from 10 Euro to 13 Euro is exorbitant. We must remember and compare this to prices in other environments to which we may travel. I feel that I must keep in mind why I walk a Camino in the first place and then place the cost into context. I, as well as many others here, have send money to various places to assist them, in whatever small way, to stay open or continue to exist in the future. Paying a slight rise in prices to indulge myself in an endeavour, which is unique and personal to me, has to be factored into my preparation and decision to go or stay at home.

People taking unfair advantage; with really high movement of prices up, in the main, are likely doing what they feel is a necessity to stay open. I can make a decision to use their facilities or not on an individual basis.

Just just my 14 cents worth (Oh no it went up just while I was typing) ;) Be well my friends.
 

MichaelF4

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese Coastal 2017
Camino Frances 2018
Camino Frances, Camino Invierno 2019
Personally I think people should not even be walking this year. But for those who will I also think that they should be prepared to have extra expenses. For the pilgrim that needs to walk on a very tight budget this is not the year to walk. After walking three Caminos I have certainly met my share of walkers that love the Camino because it is a cheap walking holiday and they pinch their money so hard it squeaks. And I try to avoid these types as much as humanly possible.
 

C clearly

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016), VDLP (2017), Mozarabe (2018), Vasco/Bayona (2019)
the new reduced capacity
For the second case, I think the owners are taking advantage of the situation to maintain/increase their profits.
The reduction in capacity means that the owners cannot maintain their income unless they raise the rates. Besides, "profits" means that the owner is making a living off this work - which we all need to do - and most of them do not become wealthy this way. It seems reasonable to me for the owner to try to maintain their income by providing a service to people who have chosen (and are able) to travel. If they were inflating the price of basic necessities, in order to accumulate wealth, I would certainly object!
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
Reading through this thread...I was thinking back on the 12 or more separate caminos I have walked and how it has changed.
I tried to think of anywhere along any of the routes that the owner of an albergue or pension looked like they were doing anymore than just getting by. Most do not look like they are even "getting by". :cool:

There may be some that I am not remembering..but I can't come up with anywhere that would fit the image of someone ripping off pilgrims and increasing "profits". Profit is a very fleeting commodity in business and often is just used to describe the measly wages an owner of a small business pays themself.

Running a businss that charges $8-12 dollars a night in a dorm or $30-$40 in a hotel setting is not geared to much profit in the best of times. Offering a full meal, including wine, at $10-$12 is not a wealth builder.

One of the differences in attitude and expectation (since 2009) that sticks out to me is the outrage that is sometimes voiced if they are not given prices that are absurb in any other setting in the world. Sadly, many of those complaining are very able to afford higher rates. They are often taking beds from budget pilgrims that need the low prices.
 

Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
I think the factoring in of Covid inflation needs to be made. Any business has fixed costs and this pandemic has caused a reduction in income from the majority whether self employed or salaried.
If I was on a camino this year (and it was planned) I would be factoring in an increase in my costs in doing so and would pay them willingly. Usually it is supply and demand that determine price but in these covid times other factors have had to be taken into account.
I understand the pressure that the alberque owners must be under. To be there and providing your service I would be willing to pay a premium.
If the camino returned to normal next year (and this isn't guaranteed) there could be a shortage of accommodation and a surplus of walkers.
As a message to the alberque owners...I understand and without you I would have great difficulty in completing my journey. You provide much more than a bed for the night.
 

JohnMcM

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Some, and with luck, some more.
I'll leave it to others to comment upon the reason for any price rises.

Personally, at this very moment, I would be happy to pay above the normal prices to help albergues private or public, local shops, cafe, bars and restaurants on any Camino route if I could guarantee my safety and the safety of everyone else around me.

Sadly that's not the case.

Buen(paying your way fairly) Camino.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lots ;0)
Was in my local today, the excellent https://www.oldstarshoreham.co.uk/ for anyone walking the "Old Way" or prospecting a bed chez nous. John & Anna haven't raised their prices, though John reckons some of the brewers & distributors have, though not by much. Doing take-aways kept them alive and now the constricted opening-up is helping too. John hates throwing beer away but won't sell beer that isn't up to the mark. I do my level best to drink it before that quandary is confronted.

Consensus today amongst the small, sensible and Covid sensitive gathering was that none of this was going away anytime soon. That small independent businesses like the Star will be lucky to survive. That any business dependent on discretionary spending - holiday travel, restaurants, pubs, theatres, music venues are all under serious threat. Our cultural landscape has changed and may never again offer the prospects we had 6-9 months ago. I could perhaps dismiss that conversation as a bunch of old blokes crying into their beer. Trouble is that conversation involved two professional musicians, the owner of a chain of cinemas, a restaurateur of some repute and a bloke who was involved in UK government planning for H5N1 in 2004/5.

When I can get back on camino I'll pay the market price for what is available to me. I just hope there is still a market with at least a few traders still standing at their boards
 

gittiharre

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Austria Czech Le Puy Geneva RLS V. Jacobi V. Regia V. Baltica/Scandinavica Porto Muxia
I've not raised my price of €10 for a bed in a small dorm of 4, 6 or 9 (which is now 2 to 4 due to the Covid-19 regulations) depending if together or not, but many have and I understand. Sure I could raise my price to €12 but considering the number of pilgrims I'm having that would make little difference. To be honest, I would have to double the price to make it financially worthwhile to be open. This is the hard truth.

Pilgrims may think that albergue owners are taking advantage cause "in the guidebook it says X". Difficult situations sometimes call for difficult steps.

My personal solution will probably be to close for the season much earlier than planned. Add heating costs to the equation and...well I guess you get the picture.
I believe, if you need to double the price to survive, you should consider it. It is still very reasonable. Covid is with us for the long term and if you plan to be in business for the long term, I don't see another option. May be consider a heating surcharge off season???
 
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Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
I’m with Gitti - at least charge what is required to meet costs. And then some to create yourself a wee buffer for the unexpected. I am a budget traveller but at the same time I want to pay what is needed - if I can’t afford it, I won’t go. I don’t want my experience to be at someone else’s expense.
I hope to walk again - and will be pleased to pay more for the pleasure.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Yes
I have always had an unreal experience sitting in a bar along the way listening to someone complain about the albergue who has a "high" price of 12 euros...in place of 10 euro (or donotivo=nada). No free breakfast on offer is another complaint.

They are usually wearing very expensive tech clothes and the latest shoes. They are spending whatever it costs to have their pack transported. Often they are ordering a 15 euro + meal instead of the pilgrim menu....but a couple of extra euro for the albergue sets them off.

I have even heard threats to "report" the offending albergues/bars/pensions for not following their expectations.
 

Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
I
I have always had an unreal experience sitting in a bar along the way listening to someone complain about the albergue who has a "high" price of 12 euros...in place of 10 euro (or donotivo=nada). No free breakfast on offer is another complaint.

They are usually wearing very expensive tech clothes and the latest shoes. They are spending whatever it costs to have their pack transported. Often they are ordering a 15 euro + meal instead of the pilgrim menu....but a couple of extra euro for the albergue sets them off.

I have even heard threats to "report" the offending albergues/bars/pensions for not following their expectations.
I wish I could get accommodation (with a breakfast) for that price where I live....I'd move in..its cheaper than living at home.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
I have always had an unreal experience sitting in a bar along the way listening to someone complain about the albergue who has a "high" price of 12 euros...in place of 10 euro (or donotivo=nada). No free breakfast on offer is another complaint.

They are usually wearing very expensive tech clothes and the latest shoes. They are spending whatever it costs to have their pack transported. Often they are ordering a 15 euro + meal instead of the pilgrim menu....but a couple of extra euro for the albergue sets them off.

I have even heard threats to "report" the offending albergues/bars/pensions for not following their expectations.
I wasn’t going to comment as I found it quite depressing but...grayland, you took the words out of my mouth! My experience too.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
....To be honest, I would have to double the price to make it financially worthwhile to be open. This is the hard truth.
Which means that you are currently subsidising every person who stays with you. I hope they are grateful!

I think there will be big changes as a result of Covid. I assume that there is a break-even point for every operator, and if people want a facility then there are going to have to pay enough to at least cover the costs of the proprietor.

I expect that if I am provided double the space and facilities as in the past, then I will pay double the price.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I thoroughly enjoy walking the Caminos and in many ways they mean more to me than numerous more expensive vacations I have taken over the years. I can only assume this must be my "Camino magic". 🙂
I agree with the majority of posts on this thread and am quite willing to pay the necessary surcharges for my next Camino experience...I just wish I could GO!
 

walkingstu

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino SJPP to SDC 2007 Frances
Camino Aragon Pau Fr. to Pamplona 2010
Camino Burgos to SDC 2012
Camino Porto to SDC 2015
Camino VDLP Seville to SDC March 2016
There is only one primary reason for operating a business, and that is " To make a profit ". If you have any other primary goal it will fail. It's not a lot more complicated than that. Covid, is just one more hidden shoal to be avoided.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 03,04
88 Temples16
Port. 17
LePuy, Norte, Prim 18
Ingles 18
Jakobova, Arles, Aragon,Baztan 19
I've not raised my price of €10 for a bed in a small dorm of 4, 6 or 9 (which is now 2 to 4 due to the Covid-19 regulations) depending if together or not, but many have and I understand. Sure I could raise my price to €12 but considering the number of pilgrims I'm having that would make little difference. To be honest, I would have to double the price to make it financially worthwhile to be open. This is the hard truth.

Pilgrims may think that albergue owners are taking advantage cause "in the guidebook it says X". Difficult situations sometimes call for difficult steps.

My personal solution will probably be to close for the season much earlier than planned. Add heating costs to the equation and...well I guess you get the picture.

and i think you should. The money you charge should help you pay your costs. the pilgrim's heart should be thankful for you offering them a safe shelter.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I have to admit I am of two minds here. On the one hand, I read the reports of pilgrims who feel they have been “fleeced” by owners who are taking advantage, but on the other hand, my reaction is that these owners are doing what they need to do to stay alive themselves. I don’t mean to start an argument about this, but would be interested in hearing others‘ opinions.

The article is in Spanish. I know there is a way to do google translate on it, but I hope someone else can give instructions for those who don’t read Spanish. Very detailed information here, with recent reports on the Primitivo, Norte and Francés.

Buen camino, Laurie
Many years ago we found that many albergues were owned by people / companies as far away as Madrid.
They are in it for profit only and will survive on service and quality or they wither on the vine.

We are in our early 70s and encountered ****** 25 years ago ***** a private room , bunks only with shared bathroom cost $50 In a YHA both in NZ and or Australia.
Thats 30 euros now .........yet that was the price 25 yrs ago for a YHA private room.

We have been very lucky indeed on The Camino in previous years and my two bobs worth is “ may the operators who work very long hours and bare the risks financially whilst trying to retain their good health get all the rewards they seek.

Currently and for many decades we have had a minority that always fall over in a toilet here in Australia within the pub industry.......no cameras you see ............a claim for $5000 used to be paid as the costs to defend were the same...................same group / families were discovered to have benefited from this very successful rort.
We have already been warned by our insurance companies who have deregistered many underwriters to expect claims against owners for the claims that will be made against the property ......yes it’s from contacting CV19.

Just get good service , a clean and safe environment , pay what is requested , go to church in the village , give thanks for arriving safely then visit the nearest bar and enjoy many cold ales.
 
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LTfit

Veteran Member
Thanks to all of you who responded or commented on my post #5. Many suggested that I too raise my prices. That would appear a simple solution but I don't live in a shell and price levels are also dictated by location and what albergue owners are charging around you. This is reality and there is no simple solution unless we all would up the price. It is common to see €15 for a private albergue on the Vía de la Plata or the Norte for example (pre-Covid times), not so on the Francés.

Some of us are here on the Camino with albergues because we love the Camino, are pilgrims and have been volunteer hospitaleros. When you come from that background, as I do, it's difficult to increase to levels where I know I would not be able to walk a Camino. It's a personal dilemma and I have no answer at the moment but thanks for your support 🙏
 
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trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
Thanks to all of you who responded or commented on my post #5. Many suggested that I too raise my prices. That would appear a simple solution but I don't live in a shell and price levels are also dictated by location and what albergue owners are charging around you. This is reality and there is no simple solution unless we all would up the price. It is common to see €15 for a private albergue on the Vía de la Plata or the Norte for example (pre-Covid times), not so on the Francés.

Some of us are here on the Camino with albergues because we love the Camino, are pilgrims and have been volunteer hospitaleros. When you come from that background, as I do, it's difficult to increase to levels that I know I would not be able to walk a Camino. It's a personal dilemma and I have no answer at the moment but thanks for your support 🙏
I paid 20 Euros in Estella at Agora Hostel - there definitely are albergues on the Francés that charge 15 Euro+, though I would say that they are mostly near the beginning or end of the Francés.
 

BlackRocker57

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy route 2014; Le Puy route continuation 2016; Le Puy route 2017; Le Puy route 2019 [incl. Célé]
I have always had an unreal experience sitting in a bar along the way listening to someone complain about the albergue who has a "high" price of 12 euros...in place of 10 euro (or donotivo=nada). No free breakfast on offer is another complaint.

They are usually wearing very expensive tech clothes and the latest shoes. They are spending whatever it costs to have their pack transported. Often they are ordering a 15 euro + meal instead of the pilgrim menu....but a couple of extra euro for the albergue sets them off.

I have even heard threats to "report" the offending albergues/bars/pensions for not following their expectations.
Thanks Grayland‼
 

MacMac

The Ghost Who Walks
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: 2016
Finisterre y Muxia: 2016
Frances: 2017
Portuguese: 2018
Ingles: 2018
I am walking the Camino Frances at the moment and just stopped for breakfast in Puente la Reina.

I have not felt any significant increase in prices.

The first night I stayed at Orisson. We were just 9 pilgrims at dinner (used to be 64). They have 7 people working the run the place.

The second night I stayed in the Albergue
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances x 2 , Norte x 2 , Le Puy x 3 , Portuguese x 2,
Mont St Michel , Primitivo .
I am walking the Camino Frances at the moment and just stopped for breakfast in Puente la Reina.

I have not felt any significant increase in prices.

The first night I stayed at Orisson. We were just 9 pilgrims at dinner (used to be 64). They have 7 people working the run the place.

The second night I stayed in the Albergue
Never thought 64 could stay there if my memory is correct ,,,, but that’s a while ago.
Regardless Mac as you continue it will be the cheapest accomodation you EVER get on a holiday .
Thanks for pointing out that there were 7 staff looking after you and 8 other pilgrims.
Whilst I prefer Valcarlos because of the village atmosphere and its history with The Camino we must realise that Orisson has made the WAY and they could charge what they liked .
However they have never taken advantage.
Safe and healthy Way Mac
 
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domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2020? Looks like.... nowhere! 😁
Thanks to all of you who responded or commented on my post #5. Many suggested that I too raise my prices. That would appear a simple solution but I don't live in a shell and price levels are also dictated by location and what albergue owners are charging around you. This is reality and there is no simple solution unless we all would up the price. It is common to see €15 for a private albergue on the Vía de la Plata or the Norte for example (pre-Covid times), not so on the Francés.

Some of us are here on the Camino with albergues because we love the Camino, are pilgrims and have been volunteer hospitaleros. When you come from that background, as I do, it's difficult to increase to levels where I know I would not be able to walk a Camino. It's a personal dilemma and I have no answer at the moment but thanks for your support 🙏
i think accommodation in albergues just like yours are ridiculously cheap. That is because I am French and I live in England.
For 15 euros in other parts of Europe, you can rent a whole - beautiful - house.
We on this forum are quite fortunate. I have met pilgrims from the parts of Europe I went through who struggled. Nothing obvious, only they never went out to a ‘pilgrim’s meal’, you KNEW the 5 euros they gave to an albergue was all they had. i know because I have been there. I am struggling how to express this. Words fail me.
The Camino is for everyone, not just us fortunate people. Something that is easily forgotten.
Thank you @LTfit ❤
 

aussie62

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
planning to walk 2017
I agree that the owners are doing what they need to do to stay alive and I for one do not begrudge them for it. There are fewer pilgrims walking and they need to keep their livelihood going to be there when Covid is over (abated, etc.).
When I walked the Camino and I would hear what people were paying for a room and in most cases an evening and morning meal and I recall thinking "what a deal". I thought they were rock bottom prices. In the case of the donativos, some people were walking away without contributing anything. I recall thinking, how do these establishments sustain themselves. I mainly stayed in hotels or private establishments (just my preference) and for the prices I was paying for 8 hours in hotel, I thought people were getting off very lucky.
I am sure that whatever they are paying it is far less than they would have to pay for a 1-2 week cruise.
yes I agree about the cruise . The fact of the matter is that these guys are running a business , they are not opening to make a loss , these are difficult times so we all need to just take it on the chin . I travel bit and to be honest the Camino was the cheapest holiday I have ever been on I came home with thousand of Euros sitting on my card .. for next time anyway
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
With the summer coming to a close, the regional Noticias de Navarra newspaper published an article about the situation concerning occupation in hostels and albergues in Pamplona on the Camino Frances.

In short, hostels and albergues who decided to open during July and August, despite halving their number of beds due to official Covid-19 regulations, had difficulties filling these beds. Some wonder about whether to stay open now as the pilgrimage season changes. In the past, there were proportionally more Spanish pilgrims during the summer and more foreign pilgrims during the months of September and October. And those foreign pilgrims may not come at all in great numbers this year.

The article doesn't say anything about pricing, though.

In Spanish: La pandemia deja los albergues del Camino de Santiago con una ocupación del 25%
Google Translation: The pandemic leaves the albergues on the Camino de Santiago with an occupation of 25%
 

Kathar1na

Member
Camino(s) past & future
To Santiago and beyond (from home; Voie de Tours; Camino Francés; Biskaya; Manche; Via Brabantica)
At the end of the article, there is a detailed overview of the situation of the albergues and hostels covered in the article during July and August 2020:

Albergue de Pamplona: Before - 24 beds. Now 12 beds with an average of 7 people per night.
Albergue Plaza Catedral: Before - 45 beds. Now 23 beds with an average of 6 people per night.
Xarma Hostel: Before 22 beds. Now 11 beds with an average of 6 people per night.
Albergue Casa Ibarrola: Before - 20 beds. Now 15 beds with an average of 5 people per night.
Aloha Hostel: Before - 23 beds. Now 11 beds with an average of 10 people per night.
Albergue Jesús y María: Before - 112 beds. Now 56 beds with an average of 25 people per night.
Albergue Casa Paderborn: Closed until March 2021.
Hostel Hemingway: Permanently closed.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks everyone for all the discussion. It has shown me that the term “price gouging” is an extremely subjective one and that really it is impossible for someone walking the camino now to have a good sense of the pricing strategies involved in setting prices high or low. If we use LT as an example, she is actually subsidizing pilgrims, none of whom are probably aware of that, since they are paying what they consider “normal“ prices. Others, noted in the Gronze article, have raised the prises a lot, and are suspected of gouging. As grayland says, they are not likely to be on the road to riches, and in fact they may not even be covering costs. When I get back to the camino, I am going to park my judgment on this issue. I think it suggests that this is not the time for people on a tight budget to walk. And it is certainly not the time to complain about high prices!
 

RemysMimi

Hooked on the Camino!!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2018)
Frances or Portuguese (2020)
yes I agree about the cruise . The fact of the matter is that these guys are running a business , they are not opening to make a loss , these are difficult times so we all need to just take it on the chin . I travel bit and to be honest the Camino was the cheapest holiday I have ever been on I came home with thousand of Euros sitting on my card .. for next time anyway
Totally agree. I, too, travel quite a bit and it is the cheapest trip ever for a month long plus trip. And as I mentioned, I stayed in private places all the way with the exception of Orisson. It was also my most rewarding trip. So much so that I like many others was headed back this past April. It was not meant to be but I can't wait to get back, God willing.
 

sunwanderer

Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Santiago
Sep/Oct 2015
Besides, "profits" means that the owner is making a living off this work
Actually, you can have zero profit and still make a living off of your work.

Profit is what is left over after you have paid for all costs: wages for yourself and others, taxes, utilities, cleaning supplies, consumables, replacement of items that wear out, etc.

The food service is one industry typically with very low profit. Overall it averages about 4%, but can be as low as 0%.

I'm guessing that albergues were already very close to 0%. It's difficult to imagine how they could continue to operate under Corona without raising prices.
 

Bristle boy

If not now...when? If not you...who?...........
Camino(s) past & future
2019
This is the problem affecting every enterprise at the moment. How do you make a business sustainable with a reduced market and income. The alternatives are to reduce overheads or raise prices...or to live temporarily (if they exist) on saved reserves. Some governments have subsidised the situation by, effectively, becoming the employer. This thread is highlighting the problems facing the alburgues which not only have had to face a reduced market and income but also increased costs associated with cleanliness and sterility which increases those costs.
 

Karlgrino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Portuguese coastal
2017 Frances
2018 Norte
2019 Portuguese inland
2020 La Plata
I just walked Sevilla to Santiago and can honestly say I did not experience significant price increases! In rural areas I found a Hostal as low as 15E and in big cities like Salamanca on the weekend 1min from main square a Hotel for 35E. Supermarkets still offered all the fruits for fractions of the US cost, including the 1E packages of Serano or Salami; the Menue de Dia ranged from 8.50E to 12E, still very reasonable. Not an issue at all, at least on the C.d.Plata
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Well, if you are from the UK, all lodging and food in Portugal and Spain would still seem very reasonable most likely, even if the prices were higher since covid...glad you had a positive experience.
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
I'll leave it to others to comment upon the reason for any price rises.

Personally, at this very moment, I would be happy to pay above the normal prices to help albergues private or public, local shops, cafe, bars and restaurants on any Camino route if I could guarantee my safety and the safety of everyone else around me.

Sadly that's not the case.

Buen(paying your way fairly) Camino.


domigee said [I have met pilgrims from the parts of Europe I went through who struggled. Nothing obvious, only they never went out to a ‘pilgrim’s meal’, you KNEW the 5 euros they gave to an albergue was all they had. i know because I have been there. I am struggling how to express this. Words fail me.
The Camino is for everyone, not just us fortunate people. Something that is easily forgotten.]

Domigee’s point about those who can barely afford the camno is well taken. The widow gave generously from the little she had. Sometimes we miss the forest from the trees when making the camino. I include myself in that group. How can any of us who claim to be makng the camino for spiritual/religious reasons be more concerned about things of little consequence, including a few euros per albergue, while missing the needs of their fellowvpilgrims, and yes, hosts too. How can we as spiritual pilgrims celebrate our entry into SDC when we have missed the needs of the least of our sisters and brothers?

Yes, I too, wiill be happy and grateful to go on another camino soon. Let us not be too concerned about the generally modest rise in prices? There are many ways to save...drink one less beer and eat more in store food. Try and budget some money for food or even a room for a fellow pilgrim in need. You will arrive in SdC blessed, for when your neighbor was hungry or tired or thirty, you provided, food, drink, or shelter.....
 
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dougfitz

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
There is only one primary reason for operating a business, and that is " To make a profit ". If you have any other primary goal it will fail. It's not a lot more complicated than that. Covid, is just one more hidden shoal to be avoided.
This is another of those myths from economics theorists like the perfectly competitive marketplace. It should be consigned to the dustbin of history. Its origin was in the 1970s with free-market theorists, and while it remains somewhat conventional as a way of looking at how things might work, it has dubious foundations and limited utility in understanding how real businesses work.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
If I were running/owning a business, I would be wanting to make sure I could pay myself a decent income from revenue. ‘Business for profit’ always struck me as a goal for big business shareholders.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
If I were running/owning a business, I would be wanting to make sure I could pay myself a decent income from revenue. ‘Business for profit’ always struck me as a goal for big business shareholders.
I see a "decent income" as very subjective.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
If you use the Chrome browser it will automatically translate it to English for you.
But there is a 3000 character limit - so you will need to delete paragraphs already translated. I did about half of the section on the Frances just to get a feel for the article. Understand P2000's view about the article, but not sure I agree 100%. Cheers
 

trecile

Camino Addict
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (2016 & 2017), Norte (2018), Francés-Salvador-Norte (2019), Portuguese (2019)
This is what the article looks like when viewed in Chrome
Screenshot_20200906-164710_Chrome.jpg
 

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