UK hoteliers reported a lacklustre start to the summer season with operators forced to cut room rates to maintain occupancy levels, latest research reveals.
Regional hotels fared the worst, with room rates down by 7.7% from £68.38 to £63.10 and overall room yield falling by 11.7% on July 2008 to £46.92, according to the report by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services. Despite slashing the rates, occupancy figures in the regions fell by 3.7 percentage points to 74%.
Capital cities fared marginally better with London occupancy increasing 1.7% from 88.1% in July 2008 to 89.7% this year, at the expense of a cut in average room rate of 11.1% from £132.86 to £118.11. This resulted in overall yield falling 9.6% to £117.10 over the same period.
The Scottish and Welsh capitals, Edinburgh and Cardiff, saw occupancies rise, up by 9.1% and 8.9% respectively and, while the average rate in Edinurgh fell by 3.8% from £86.11 to £82.82, the increase in occupancy meant rooms yield increased by 4.9% to £71.56. In Cardiff, rooms yield increased from £53.13 to £57.84 this year. PKF attributed the positive results to the cities' summer festivals.
Robert Barnard, partner for PKF, said it was encouraging to see the impact of the Euro on the "healthy" growth in occupancy amongst hotels in the capital.
"Room rates are still struggling but this is not surprising given the current climate. In the regions, although results overall were down, individual cities that made impressive gains are a positive sign," he said.
PKF's report collates data from 153 hotels in London and 721 hotels throughout the rest of the UK.
By Emma White
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