UK hoteliers’ recorded robust levels of growth in April with both occupancy and room rate consistently high across the country, according to preliminary monthly figures released by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services.In contrast to March, where the early Easter break meant a decline in business travellers compared to 2007, it was the 2007 Easter break which meant the figures for April 2008 were so buoyant.
In London, both room rate and occupancy saw significant increases. Room rate jumped from £123.55 last year to £135.94 this year - an overall rise of 10.0% - while occupancy increased 4.1% on April 2007. Overall this meant rooms yield in the capital was up by a substantial 14.6% - from £97.67 last year to £111.91 this year.
The regions had an equally robust month also recording rises in both room rate and occupancy. Occupancy was up 8.1% from 69.1% to 74.7% while room rate increased by 4.8%. Rooms yield therefore saw a healthy 13.2% increase on the 2007 figures.
Many of the cities in the regions saw substantial increases in April compared to 2007. This can be explained by the return of commercial visitors who, last year, would not have been travelling on business to the same extent because of the Easter break.
Leeds and Birmingham recorded two of the largest increases in rooms yield, jumping 28.4% and 27.6% respectively. This was a combination of solid room rate rises and robust occupancy increases - for Leeds occupancy rose by 19.5% and for Birmingham, 17.0%.
Liverpool had a solid 17.0% increase in occupancy on April 2007 which can be explained in part by the city’s status as European Capital of Culture for 2008. Overall the city saw a 19.1% increase in rooms yield.
Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, commented, “The robust figures for April are not a surprise. With the Easter holiday falling in March this year, it was inevitable that the figures would be slower last month with the exact contrast this month.
“Some of this year’s Easter school holidays did spill over into April however and therefore the strength of the figures this month is heartening.
“Nonetheless, it is hard to make a true assessment of how the UK hotel market has fared over the last two months because straight year on year comparisons cannot be made. We therefore look to May for the first true indicator of how 2008 is panning out for UK hoteliers thus far.”