Preliminary monthly figures released today by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services show that room rates, occupancy and room yield has all fallen again over the Christmas period.
Room rates having slumped from £139.33 in 2007 to £138.03 this year with a fall of 0.9%, whilst occupancy decreased by 1.2% on the same period last year. This meant an overall decline of 2.1% in rooms yield from £102.07 in 2007 to £99.89 in 2008.
The capital’s figures throughout the year achieved a 2.7% increase in room yield, rising from £114.08 in 2007 to £117.19 in 2008: this was mostly driven by a 4.6% hike in room rate.
Figures throughout the rest of the UK were less encouraging with a 11.6% drop in comparison to December 2007. This was a combination of a 9.4% decrease in occupancy, from 62.2% to 56.3%, and a drop in room rate from £73.20 last year to £71.42 this year.
Liverpool faired badly this festive season with a yield of 14.5% compared to last year when it was gearing up to take its newly appointed status as European Capital of Culture.
Regional annual figures are reported as 2.2% decline in rooms yield for the year. Room rate did manage a 0.7% increase however, from £75.61 in 2007 to £76.14 in 2008.
Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, commented, “The decreases experienced by hoteliers this month are not surprising considering the current climate. While in recent years UK families may have chosen to take a break over the Christmas period by staying in a hotel, or families from overseas many have chosen to travel to the UK for a holiday, this year most will have opted to stay at home and save money ahead of what is expected to be a difficult 2009.
“Business travel always drops off in December, but this year it would have been further diminished as companies try to cut costs.
“Looking forward into 2009, the weak pound may help bring some tourists back to the UK and therefore into hotels, but on the whole, it will be a more testing year for hoteliers than the last few and they should be continuing to prepare themselves for a downturn in business.”