The air travel disruption caused by the Icelandic ash cloud in April ended a ‘near perfect’ 2010 performance for London hotels.
The latest UK Chain Hotels Review by TRI Hospitality Consulting shows a revPAR decline for the month of April, the first recorded since October 2009.
Although average room rate in London was up 5.1 per cent at £113.17, the capital suffered its largest margin of room occupancy decline since January 2009, as the UK airspace lockdown caused travellers to cancel trips.
Occupancy fell 4.2 per cent to 76.1 per cent for April and London’s revPAR went negative, down 0.5 per cent to £86.11.
The findings chime with data from consultancy PKF released last week, which showed a sharp decline in occupancy at hotels in the capital.
Jonathan Langston, managing director of TRI, said: “Performance levels in London have been exceptional since the beginning of the year and it was always going to take something out of this world to slow their progress.”
Uncertainty in the provinces
Although the impact of airport closures in the UK was not as evident in the provincial hotel market as in London, continuing economic uncertainty meant that while occupancy levels remained stable, average room rate fell.
With average room rate down 1.6 per cent year-on-year at £66.23, revPAR in the provinces slipped 1.3 per cent to £44.35.
TRI said it expected room rate pressure to be an enduring characteristic of the provincial hotel market throughout 2010, despite predictions of a domestic holiday boost due to uncertainty around further volcanic eruptions.