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UK hoteliers experience further falls in March

Hotels across the UK experienced further falls across occupancy, room rate and rooms yield in March, according to monthly figures released today by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services.

Direct year on year comparisons are hard to make when Easter falls in different months, which is the case between 2008 and 2009, but nonetheless the figures suggest that the economic downturn continued to affect the capital. Occupancy was down 1.3% on the same period last year, room rate was down 1.7% and, overall, rooms yield was down 3.0% from £92.54 last year to £89.80 in 2009.

Year to date figures paint a similarly downward trend with rooms yield in London down 7.2% to £83.82 since the beginning of the year. 


In the regions, the year to date figure showed an 11.9% drop in rooms yield since January - a combination of a 6.6% drop to 61.6% in occupancy and a 6.0% drop in room rate from £77.14 to £72.75.



Year on year figures for the UK regions as whole, show that occupancy, room rate and rooms yield were all down on the March 2008 figures. Occupancy fell 4.2% to 65.4%, room rate dropped from £76.92 to £73.39 and rooms yield was down 8.6% to £47.99.


Leeds and Cardiff both had strong months however. Leeds was buoyed by a 4.1% increase in rooms yield from £52.20 last year to £54.35 this year. This was largely down to a 4.4% hike in occupancy which can most likely be put down to business conferences and the International Jazz Festival which the city played host to in March.


In Cardiff, again it was an increase in room occupancy - up 5.8% to 79.4% - that was the main driver behind the 3.2% rise in rooms yield. The Six Nations rugby games, held at the Millennium Stadium in the city, explain this increase.


Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, commented, “A true picture of how hoteliers fared in March is difficult to glean due to the fact that Easter fell in a different months between 2008 and 2009. The Easter break affects city hotels because there is always less business travel over the holiday period and as a result, many business conferences are deliberately postponed and this affects occupancy numbers.


“With the Easter break falling in March last year, the figures for the same month this year will inevitably be stronger. Most hoteliers did experience falls however and these could have been worse if it were not for the change in the Easter dates, therefore the global economic crisis has clearly taken hold of the hospitality sector.”