Latest figures released by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services show that occupancy in the capital was down 1.3 per cent on last year, with room rate down 1.7 per cent, from £117.92 to £115.88, and room yield down 3 per cent. The regions fared slightly worse, where occupancy declined by 4.2 per cent, room rate by 4.6 per cent, from £76.92 to £73.39, and room yield by a high 8.6 per cent.
Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF said the recession was mostly accountable for the decline, despite the Easter break falling in a different month to 2008.
“The Easter break affects city hotels because there is always less business travel over the holiday period and as a result, many business conferences are deliberately postponed and this affects occupancy numbers,” he said.
“With the Easter break falling in March last year, the figures for the same month this year will inevitably be stronger. Most hoteliers did experience falls however and these could have been worse if it were not for the change in the Easter dates, therefore the global economic crisis has clearly taken hold of the hospitality sector.”
Year to date figures showed a similarly downward trend with rooms yield in London down 7.2 per cent to £83.82 since the beginning of the year.
Leeds and Cardiff proved to be exceptions however, with Leeds seeing a 4.1 per cent increase in March in rooms yield and 4.4 per cent hike in occupancy on the same period last year, due in part to the International Jazz Festival taking place that month. Cardiff meanwhile saw occupancy rise 5.8 per cent during the Six Nations rugby matches held at the Millennium Stadium.