Hotels in the regions enjoyed a bigger rise in revenue per available room (RevPAR) than those in London for the first month in two and a half years in February, according to the latest market data from hotel consultancy firm PKF.
The preliminary monthly figures for February show RevPAR, or rooms yield, in London grew only marginally by 0.3 per cent from February 2011 to £101.94, while hotels outside the capital experienced rooms yield growth of 1.7 per cent on a year ago basis.
The last time regional hotels outperformed their London counterparts in the data from the firm of accountants and business advisers was in August 2009. Then London hotels saw an occupancy jump of 2.5 per cent while those in the regions jumped 3 per cent.
Robert Barnard, partner for hotel consultancy services at PKF said the figures were to be welcomed given the economic climate and were a sign of success for the regions as opposed to a worrying sign for London hoteliers.
"These are a respectable set of results given the general malaise throughout the UK economy. The performance of regional hotels, in particular, provides a welcome boost after an especially challenging winter season. Rooms yield growth of 1.7 per cent at a time when the all-important corporate market remains sluggish should be viewed as an encouraging sign. It suggests to me that hoteliers have a good understanding of the trading environment and are getting their revenue management just about right," he said.
"I’m not unduly concerned by the slowdown at London hotels, which has been largely driven by a fall in occupancy. Fundamentals in the capital remain sound and I expect a return to healthier growth as we head into what should be a very busy summer season," Barnard added.
Although room rates in London grew by nearly 3 per cent to £135.39, occupancy dropped by over 2 per cent to 75.3 per cent. In comparison, outside London, both occupancy and room rates grew by 1 and 0.7 per cent respectively. Average room rates for the month were £60.33 compared to just under £60 a year ago and occupancy grew to 64.4 per cent.
The company, which has been providing hotel consultancy services since the early 1970s, said the growth in the regions had been driven mainly by England as Scotland and Wales had experienced more difficult trading during the period.
Last month analysis from the professional services organisation Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) suggested 2012 and the Olympics and Jubilee celebrations could give London hotels record occupancy but the regions may well benefit after the Games into 2013 from the budget-conscious 'staycation' traveller.
Confirmed PKF figures for January also released today show RevPAR dropped in the first month of the year by 4.6 per cent in the regions and jumped by 5.3 per cent in London from a year earlier. PKF's monthly hotel trends surveys feature mainly mid-scale hotels in towns and cities.