Fall in leisure guests during the Olympics build-up hit London hotel occupancy in July

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cent, Average room rate, Summer olympic games, Olympic games, United kingdom

The build-up to the London 2012 Olympics led to a drop in occupancy in the capital's hotels in July
The build-up to the London 2012 Olympics led to a drop in occupancy in the capital's hotels in July
In July, during the build-up to the London 2012 Olympics, hotels in London suffered a drop in occupancy of 10.2 per cent as a result of a fall in demand from leisure and tour group visitors but the city still led the way among major cities in Europe.

During the whole of the month, occupancy in London hotels stood at 81.6 per cent - a drop of more than 10 per cent from a year ago. However Amsterdam (85.3 per cent) and Paris (86.4 per cent) were the only European rivals to have a better month than the UK capital.

The results of the latest HotStats survey by TRI Hospitality Consulting found an inevitable drop in headline figures for London hotels as a result of the lead-up to the Games following a record-breaking month the previous July due to the timing of Ramadan. 

However surprisingly the drop in occupancy was not attributed to a fall in interest from corporate guests but from leisure and tour group bookers who represented less than a third of total demand.

Another level

A 6.3 per cent jump in the average room rate in July to £159.26 was overshadowed by the drop in occupancy which left revenue per available room (RevPAR) at £130.03. 

Jonathan Langston, managing director at TRI Hospitality Consulting, said:  “Amsterdam and Paris are both extremely popular leisure destinations during the summer, evidenced by the strong room occupancy levels. However, London was on another level this year, which is unsurprising considering the scale of events which were taking place in the city."

"Whilst room occupancy took a bit of a battering as leisure visitors sought alternative destinations, the periods of peak demand were strong enough to support strong results across the remaining measures." 

Hugely successful​ 

“Host cities have proved time and time again that the biggest international events, such as the Olympics and football World Cup, rarely pay off for hoteliers during the period of the event and London is no exception," Langston added. 

"However, it is important for London hoteliers to put July’s performance into context rather than licking their wounds, as most other cities across the UK and Europe would consider room occupancy close to 82 per cent and a 6.3 per cent increase in room rate to be a hugely successful month."


Elsewhere the impact of the Olympics on other cities hosting events was mixed with jumps in profit per room in Cardiff, Glasgow, Coventry and Newcastle. However hotels in Manchester did not benefit with only a slight RevPAR increase and a 3.2 per cent drop in profit per room. 

The Farnborough Air Show gave Basingstoke hoteliers a boost in profit growth of nearly 41 per cent. 

Overall, away from the capital occupancy dropped slightly to 76.7 per cent in July. A jump in average room rate to more than £72 helped hotels outside London post a RevPAR increase of 2.2 per cent to 55.42 per cent.

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