UK hotels feel the pinch

UK hoteliers continued to experience the knock on effect of the global economic downturn in November with further declines in room rate, occupancy and rooms yield, reported in preliminary monthly figures released by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services.In London, room rate was down 5.6% on the same period last year from £137.29 to £129.93, while occupancy fell 6.0% to 79.5%. These figures meant rooms yield saw a decline of 11.1% to £103.32. The demonstrations in Thailand, which closed many of the country’s airports, could be in part to blame for the capital’s losses, but largely the falls are due to a lack of business travellers to the city as company’s across the globe look to cut costs.

In the regions, the picture was not much brighter. Room rate was down 2.0% from £76.68 in 2007 to £75.17 this year while occupancy fell 5.6% to 69.3%. Overall, rooms yield was down from £56.23 in 2007 to £52.06 in 2008, a drop of 8.0%.

This month, even those regions that have held their own in recent months, found themselves experiencing losses. For example, rooms yields in Leeds and Manchester were down 3.1% and 11.3% respectively. While cultural hotspot Edinburgh continued to have a difficult year and reported losses of 5.3% in occupancy and 6.7% in rooms yield.

Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, commented, “Figures from hoteliers in the last few months have shown they are beginning to feel the inevitable squeeze from the UK, and global, economic downturns. November was unfortunately no different

“In the capital however, looking at the year to date figures, there was some growth to see as room rate is up 4.7% on the same 11 month period in 2007, while overall, rooms yield was up 3.2% on the same period.

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“As there is still no end in sight to the current economic downturn however, it is unfortunately probable that hoteliers will have to endure further knocks in 2009.”
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