Falling London occupancy rate slows

23 July 2001
Falling London occupancy rate slows
Hotel occupancy in London fell again in June compared with the same month last year, but the fall was smaller than analysts expected. Figures released by consultant PKF showed a drop in occupancy in London of 6.3% compared with June last year. In May the fall had been sharper, at 9.7%. Melvin Gold, managing director of hotel consultancy at PKF, said: "I didn't expect London to get a bit better. I thought that it was going to be 9% or 10% down on last year's levels right through the summer." One reason the fall in occupancy slowed could be that hoteliers are starting to sell their bedrooms more cheaply, added Gold. The average daily rate per occupied room in London was still fractionally higher, at £125.68 compared with £125.32 in June last year. However, the rate of increase in the amount guests are being asked to pay has slowed from nearly 2% to 0.3%, a trend Gold expects to continue. Outside London, where PKF's survey indicated an improvement in occupancy in hotels in each of the first five months, hotels suffered their first decline. Occupancy was down by 0.9% on last June. But the regional hotels did manage to charge their guests more for bedrooms, with an average daily rate of £66.82, against £65.30 last year. Gold said: "All UK hotels are now undoubtedly starting to suffer from the impact of poor summer bookings as a result of the foot-and-mouth crisis, the American economic downturn and the great British dampener, the weather, and we anticipate that the results for July and August will reflect this. "This is also reflected in the profit warnings announced by some of the hotel companies who are unable to be positive about the rest of the year because of wildly fluctuating economic forecasts on both sides of the Atlantic." The June figures are based on information from 100 London hotels and 401 outside the capital.
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