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Hotels get a flying start to new year

02 March 2006

London's leading West End hotels are experiencing their best ever start to the year, according to Four Seasons general manager John Stauss.

Speaking at a seminar at Hotelympia last week, Caterer and Hotelkeeper's 2005 Hotelier of the Year said 2006 could be one of the best trading years since the early 1980s. "So far 2006 has been the mother of all years. If it keeps going like this then it promises to be one of our strongest in the last 26 years. At the moment my role is very much about trying to manage revenue per available room revpar] and to maximise yields."

Stauss said the buoyant market had prompted the hotel to search for more staff. "Yesterday we posted 40 jobs, two weeks ago we weren't hiring at all," he added.

Other data released this week also showed that London hotels were flying in 2006. Hotel consultancy PKF's latest figures pointed to rising occupancy and room rates in the capital in January, a traditionally quiet month for London's hoteliers.

Occupancy was up by 5.2 percentage points to 68.4%, with revpar jumping by 9.9% to £68.40.

Robert Barnard, partner at PKF, said the hotel sector was continuing to trade healthily in contrast with other economic indicators, such as retail sales and rising unemployment.

"The strength of business tourism that powered London's recovery in the autumn is continuing to sustain hotel performance," he added.

By James Garner

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