International hotel operator Park Plaza has warned that a growing trend amongst travellers to book hotel rooms later as economic confidence falters has reduced its ability to forecast demand.
Due to currency fluctuations which saw a 13% decrease in the average Sterling to Euro exchange rate in the six months to 30 June, turnover at the company, which makes more than a third of its money (36%) from UK hotels, was flat at €46.7m (£37.8m).
However, pre-tax profit was up at €7.7m (£6.1m) compared to a loss of €1.1m a year ago, primarily due to the profit on the purchase of the remaining shareholding (66%) in the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel project in February.
The company, which operates more than 7,000 rooms in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa expects to have more than 13,000 rooms by the close of 2012.
During the period the group entered into a 50% joint venture with property investors the Reuben Brothers to build London's first Art'otel in Hoxton
Boris Ivesha, chief executive of Park Plaza, said: "The group has delivered a solid performance during the half year, against increasingly uncertain economic conditions."
By Chris Druce
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