Thistle Hotels increased turnover last year by 8% to £324.4m in the 53 weeks to 31 December 2000, excluding figures from three small hotels it sold.
Revenue per available room (revpar) climbed by 6% to £53.45m, and pre-tax profits edged up by 0.7% to £68.2m, although this included the effect of a new accounting standard which reduced profits by £1.8m.
"Progress in 2000 was encouraging, with a particularly good performance in the second half, when turnover and revpar increased by 11.9% and 7.3% respectively, compared with 1999," said chairman David Newbiggin.
Chief executive Ian Burke added: "In the first eight weeks of the current financial year, revpar and turnover are ahead by more than 10% on the comparative period last year, in both London and the regions. This is encouraging, although the somewhat uncertain general economic outlook worldwide may have some effect on the UK hotel market."
Thistle ended the year with 56 hotels and 10,739 bedrooms, with London accounting for 23 hotels and 6,331 rooms. It sold three small regional hotels - the Black Bull in Glasgow, the Wellesley hotel in Leeds and Aberdeen's Dee Motel.
Its London hotels increased revpar by 9.4% to £65.08, against a London average of 6%. Occupancy grew by 2.5% to 81.3%, average room rate by 6.7% to £80.05, and turnover by 9.6% to £211m.
Thistle said that new capacity in cities such as Cardiff and Glasgow contributed to a 0.6% decline in occupancy to 67.8% and a 0.5% fall in revpar to £36.56 in regional hotels. Average room rate moved up marginally by 0.1% to £53.92, and turnover increased by 5.2% to £113.4m.
Opening more branded restaurants and leisure clubs, and improving banqueting and conference facilities in regional hotels, helped boost non-room sales by 5%.
New one-off restaurants included Christopher's, the joint venture with Christopher Gilmour at the Thistle Victoria, London, and wwwater.café at the Thistle Tower, also in London.
Bookings taken through the Internet grew four-fold at the start of 2001 to £66,000 a week on average.
by Angela Frewin