Volcanic ash could put dampener on UK hotel recovery

By Chris Druce

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hotel

Sofitel Heathrow saw an initial surge in bookingsafter the volcanic eruption closed UK airspace
Sofitel Heathrow saw an initial surge in bookingsafter the volcanic eruption closed UK airspace
Despite an initial boost in London hotel bookings there could still be fallout from the volcanic ash episode that closed down UK airspace, an industry expert has warned

Robert Barnard, partner for hotel consultancy services at PKF, said the wave of booking cancellations that followed the initial bookings surge could yet have a negative impact on the hotel sector’s fragile recovery.

“The no fly zone that was in place for six days and the continuing after effects means many hoteliers are suffering with cancelled bookings,” said Barnard.

“The airport hotels in particular found that after an initial boost in bookings, many travellers decided either to find their way home by other means, or find other, cheaper means of accommodation.”

London airport boost

Despite this, separate analysis of STR Global data by Deloitte suggests that in the days after the lockdown hotels at London Gatwick and Heathrow airports posted some of their strongest performances so far this year.

“We estimate that the airspace lockdown generated additional revenue of around £500,000 per day for London hoteliers,” said Marvin Rust, hospitality managing partner at Deloitte.

“Hotel data is showing that the short term impact of additional revenue from passengers unable to leave, outweighed that of cancellations from travellers unable to get here.”

Longer-term, it has been suggested that continuing uncertainty around future volcanic eruptions may be a boon for UK hotels encouraging more Brits to holiday at home​ this year.

Related topics: Trends & Reports

1 comment

Its all very good saying…

Posted by Anonymous,

Its all very good saying that the last week was good for hotels, most hotels saw a one night pickup on the first day of the volcanic ash with dramatic reductions every day after that. 

What was going to be a strong week for us (hotel at Heathrow) turned into a busy week with less revenue. Corporate business was replaced but delayed flights and stranded passengers at a far from premium rate as the press would have you beleive. If anything we went below our selling rates each day in order to help guests.

Occupancy was strong but rooms isn't all that hotels and the revenue is about.
We suffered huge cancellations in conferencing from companies unable to fly delegates in. This coupled with guests low on money in turn affected the F&B spend.
All in all, we were down to forecast for the last week. All this and we are in a lucky position to be able to take in delayed flights, some hotels away from the airport probably couldn't have.

Bring on the snow!

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