It will be hard to avoid the mood of doom and gloom as hotels tighten their belts across the board. Expect huge pressure on trading as the industry hits lowest point in the current economic cycle during 2009.
This will be characterised by significant falls in occupancy and a fall in revenue per available room of between 10 and 22%, with hotels expected to cut their rates by up to 50%. But once again, the budget sector is likely to perform well as business travellers continue to trade down.
The weakening pound is expected to be the beacon of light in what seems to be year of increasingly dim prospects, with more Brits expected to holiday domestically next year and higher numbers of Europeans choosing the UK as a better value holiday destination. Another positive will be the falling cost of construction.
Expect more hotel property sales, especially in the second half of the year, as operators start to struggle and look to raise funds by selling assets.
All in all it's going to be a tough environment where, more than ever, hoteliers will have to look after their customer well, ensure value for money and show them a good time.
By Gemma Sharkey
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