Mixed blessing for UK hoteliers following January snowfall

Mixed blessing for UK hoteliers following January snowfall

Snowfall across large parts of the country during January has affected many UK hoteliers both positively and negatively, according to figures released by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services.

The preliminary monthly figures suggest London was largely unaffected by the snow; although some incoming business travellers will have had plans altered due to intermittent London airport closures.

As a result, hoteliers achieved fairly robust growth over the month, with the Room Rate increasing by 4.1 per cent - up from £110.26 for the same month last year to £114.80. Similarly room occupancy increased 4.9 per cent - up from 67.5 per cent last year to 70.9 per cent this year.

The trends saw overall rooms yield increase by a solid 9.2 per cent to £81.38.

The picture was different in the regions, as snowfall affected many parts of the country; with both positive and negative impact on occupancy levels.

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Overall occupancy levels showed a 1.4 per cent increase on the same time last year, while room rates continued to suffer, down 6.4 per cent to £65.26.

This brought rooms yield down by 5.1 per cent to £36.48.

PKF’s Robert Barnard commented: “The snow caused a fair amount of havoc for those needing to travel over January and this worked out negatively for hoteliers in some parts of the country.

“On the flip side, the need for a last minute bed for those stranded by the same weather, worked out positively for other hotel owners.”

Hoteliers in Leeds, Liverpool and Birmingham were cities affected negatively by the snow, with occupancy and yield falling in all three. In contrast, business owners in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Manchester all saw last minute bookings contribute to modest rises to occupancy levels and room yield.

“As we look forward to spring so do thoughts of summer holidays and this could bode well for UK hotels in 2010.

“Although the country is officially out of recession, economic difficulties are still affecting many UK families and this, coupled with the weakness of the pound, could mean that many decide to holiday in the UK this year.”

PKF’s hotel trends surveys feature a broad range of hotels across the country although mainly in the three to four star categories, with an emphasis on chain operated hotels rather than those operated independently.