Hotel industry ‘buoyant’ as new investors check in

Despite flat numbers, hoteliers maintain momentum

Despite static performance in the London hotel industry and across the UK as a whole, analysts foresee strong months ahead.

New figures from accountancy firm PKF’s hotel consultancy services found that relatively flat numbers from March, when taking the Easter holiday into account, show that the hotel industry is keeping up the momentum seen in previous months.

Occupancy rates in London hotels fell 0.8% to 77.1%, while the average room rate increased 0.9% to £101.15, nudging the rooms yield up 0.15 to £78.00.

The rest of the UK registered similar numbers, with occupancy down 4.1% to 68.5% and the average room rate also up 0.9% to £64.22, while rooms yield fell 3.2% to £43.97.

“March and April can be difficult months depending on where the Easter holiday falls,” said Robert Barnard, from PKF. “This bank holiday weekend, coupled with school holidays can have a downward effect on performances in many areas, in particularly commercial markets.

“These figures show that performances pretty much held steady in the capital and dropped only a little in the regions against a strong background in 2004,” he added. “As Easter fell in April 2004, for the industry to have virtually held on to its position during March even with the Easter break, means hoteliers are actually doing very well.”

PKF’s annual hotel report, Hotel Britain, shows investments at record levels whilst trading performances of both London and regional UK hotels are approaching levels last seen five years ago.

The industry made large gains in 2004, with London seeing the country’s strongest occupancy growth and room rates improving by nearly 8%.

Barnard said the industry’s short-term outlook is very promising as existing investors continue to put money into the industry and new entrants seek to take part in the market.

He said he expects to see a strong April from hoteliers in the Capital and across the UK.

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