While London hotels experienced a successful Easter break this year with occupancy levels up 0.9 per cent, hotels in other parts of the UK saw a ‘significant’ decline in custom.
Figures released today by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services reveal that although both London hotels and those in the regions saw April 2009 room rates drop significantly, by 10.6 per cent to £123.85 and 11.2 per cent to £69.43 respectively, those situated in the capital fared better.
While London’s occupancy levels reached 83 per cent, a figure PKF believe was achieved through extensive leisure discounting deals to attract visitors to the city during the holiday, hotels in the regions experienced an occupancy rate of 64 per cent.
Birmingham and Leeds, the UK’s second and third largest cities, suffered the worst outside of London, with rooms yield plummeting by 32.1 per cent and 30.8 per cent respectively, in comparison to London’s rooms yield that fell by just 9.7 per cent.
Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, said it was clear that hoteliers across the UK were sacrificing margin to fill their beds.
“While the buoyant occupancy figures for London are indicative of the capital’s resilience to virtually every kind of economic, political, biological and climatic turbulence, the longer the recession continues, the more it will eat into these margins and the harder it will be for hotels to survive,” he said.
“The worsening scenario in the UK’s major cities, however, must be of serious concern to the hotel industry. It is too soon to say how much the April Easter is responsible for the dire results but we can only hope that the glimmerings of more positive economic news among the gloomy headlines will result in a better second half of the year.”
Barnard suggested that upcoming sporting and cultural events coupled with the forecasted long, hot summer, could ‘only be good news’ for struggling hoteliers over the next few months.