London hotels experienced the lowest occupancy levels since 2006 in January, due to diminishing business travel and the early year snowstorms that drove the UK to a standstill.
Monthly figures released by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services showed that London’s occupancy levels for January dropped to below 70 per cent (67 per cent) for the first time since 2006, a decline of 5 per cent on the same period in 2008.
While slow growth was to be expected for January, PKF claim the economic climate also played a major part in the capital’s decline, which saw the average room rate drop 3.8 per cent to £124.96, and room yield fall 8.6 per cent to £83.74.
The figures were February were slightly better than at the beginning of 2009, but still showed a decline on 2008: London occupancy levels dropped 2.8 per cent to 74.9 per cent, room rate fell l3.2 per cent to £130.79, and rooms yield was down 5.9 per cent to £97.96.
Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, said: “With the global economy as it is, there is no doubt that 2009 is going to be a challenging year for hoteliers and therefore the figures for January and February are to be expected.”
Last month hoteliers were told to adopt a more positive outlook for the year, as PKF’s British Hotel report 2009 predicted that the weak pound and international events taking place in the UK should boost tourism. Mayor of London Boris Johnson also announced in March a £2m marketing campaign, entitled Only in London, to attract overseas tourists to the city.