UK hotels are unlikely to see their occupancies and room rates return to 1999 levels until 2003, hotel consultancy firm PKF has warned.
It expects the first half of this year to be particularly tough, with average room rates and occupancies down by as much as 14-15% in London when compared with the first six months of last year.
Melvin Gold, managing director of hotel services at PKF, said: "I think we will continue to see some fairly hefty negative figures, certainly in the first six months of the year at least."
Unsurprisingly, the one month that is expected to deliver better figures than last year is September.
Gold added: "I think it will take another year before hotels perform as well as they did in 1999, which was decent but not exceptional."
He said 2000 had been a good year because of the millennium.
The latest figures released by PKF show that in November 2001 average occupancy rates, when compared with November 2000, were 14.6% lower in London, at 72.2%. Average room rates dropped by 14.8% in the capital to £106.52.
In the regions, average occupancy was down by 1.2% to 70.8%, while average room rates dropped by 2.8% to £60.37.