‘Challenging’ times for MWB as revenues flatten and RevPAR falls

By Luke Nicholls

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Hotel

MWB Groups financial update admits that the hospitality industry remains 'extremely challenging'
MWB Groups financial update admits that the hospitality industry remains 'extremely challenging'
Malmaison and Hotel du Vin owner MWB Group has today admitted that trading for the first quarter has been ‘challenging’, with room occupancy and F&B revenues across both brands levelling out, and a ‘slight reduction’ in Malmaison’s revenue per available room (RevPAR).

The financial update follows yesterday’s announcement that the Group has scrapped its Bistro du Vin format,​with losses from the two restaurants continuing to accumulate in the nine months to 31 March 2012.

“The first quarter of the calendar year is traditionally the toughest for the hospitality industry and 2012 has proved to be no exception,” reads a company trading update. “Over the period under review, room occupancy and revenues from F&B in both brands have remained level with the same period last year, although continued pressure on room rates, particularly in competitive city markets, has led to a slight reduction in Malmaison revenues per available room.

“While the business, like many others, has been exposed to increases in food costs, utility prices and property rates, trading margins are in line with management's expectations.”

During the period under review (three months to 31 March 2012), MWB has seen a number of significant appointments – Gary Davis joined the business as chief executive;​ Steve Hobborn as non-executive director; and Paul Roberts as finance director.

Signs of improvement

Despite revenues remaining level and Malmaison’s RevPAR dropping, the Group’s update went on to highlight ‘encouraging signs of improvement.’

“Business Exchange trading continues on a positive trend and we have maintained our leading position within the London market. Occupancy and enquiry levels during the period were in line with our expectations.

“Most importantly, we have seen revenue per occupied workstation increase by 7 per cent and revenue per available workstation increase by 8 per cent since December 2011 and by 5 per cent and 8 per cent respectively since March 2011.”

In January, MWB announced the deal to open a new 91-bedroom Malmaison hotel on the site of the old Tay Hotel in Dundee.​And, in its half-year report released in March, the Group revealed that it had successfully reduced its debt to £180m in just six months,​with total revenue rising by nine per cent and occupancy and room rates holding firm.

Today’s financial update concluded: “The hospitality industry remains extremely challenging but we are wholly focused on maximising all opportunities and initiatives to improve."

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