Tourism officials in Bath are to reassess the impact of new hotel development in the city following protests from operators that the market has become over-saturated.
Between 2017 and 2019, an additional 500 bedrooms are expected to open, adding to the 1,500 rooms in the city prior to the current plethora of developments.
David James, chief executive of Bath Tourism Plus, said: “We now feel the time is for reflection to assess the impact of these new developments before further additional accommodation is added to the city’s portfolio.
“It also has to be said that the impact of Airbnb was not identified as a factor in the last hotel demand study and Bath has seen a large growth in this new offering – over 800 rooms at the last count.”
Bath has traditionally been one of the strongest regional cities for hotel performance in the UK, with occupancy on Friday and Saturday nights often close to 100%. This has resulted in a plethora of developers being attracted to the city to open new hotels.
A study on the city’s hotel demand carried out by Bath and North East Somerset Council in 2015 identified a shortage of rooms. However, with the opening last year of the 177-bedroom Apex City of Bath and the launch later this year of the 148-bedroom Z Hotel and 121-bedroom Hotel Indigo, alongside the presence of Airbnb, leading Bath hoteliers now believe the city is close to over saturation.
In the most recent AlixPartners Hotel Bulletin, Bath was the worst performing of 12 cities studied, showing a 4% decline in revpar during Q4 of 2017.
It was announced last week that a number of hoteliers had signed a letter protesting at the proposed development of a 206-bedroom hotel within the former Bath College Allen building development.
Real estate investment, development and asset management company Dominvs Group acquired the college property last year and has applied for planning permission to transform it into a hotel, restaurant, bar and café.
Andrew Brownsword, who owns the Bath Priory; Laurence Beere, managing director of the Queensberry hotel; Ian Taylor, owner of No 15 Great Pulteney; and Jonathan Stapleton, general manager of the Royal Crescent hotel, sent a letter to Bath and North East Somerset Council claiming the market is struggling to cope with the increased number of hotels alongside what it calls the “unregulated growth”of Airbnb.
Beere said: “We have as a sector seen a marked decline in occupancy and consequently in room rate, and overall decline in revenue per available room (revpar) because of the excess supply, and that is before an additional 310 bedrooms open later this year,” said Beere.
“Enough is enough,” added Stapleton. “Already we are at complete oversupply, there’s no way those rooms are needed in the city.”
Dominvs Group declined to comment.
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