Regional hotels bucked recent trends by outperforming their London peers in February for the first time since August 2009, according to preliminary hotel figures from PKF Hotel Consultancy Services.
Rooms yield in London grew by just 0.3% to £101.94 from £101.57 in February 2011. Room rate rose by 2.8% from £131.73 to £135.39, but most of this was offset by a 1.8 percentage-point drop in occupancy from 77.1% to 75.3%.
In the regions, a 0.7 percentage-point rise in occupancy from 63.7% to 64.4% was reinforced by a 0.7% increase in room rate from £59.91 to £60.33, resulting in rooms yield growth of 1.7% to £38.86, compared with £38.22 12 months ago.
"These are a respectable set of results given the general malaise throughout the UK economy," said Robert Barnard, partner for PKF Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF. "The performance of regional hotels, in particular, provides a welcome boost after an especially challenging winter season.
"Rooms yield growth of 1.7% at a time when the all-important corporate market remains sluggish should be viewed as an encouraging sign. It suggests to me that hoteliers have a good understanding of the trading environment and are getting their revenue management just about right.
"I'm not unduly concerned by the slowdown at London hotels, which has been largely driven by a fall in occupancy. Fundamentals in the capital remain sound and I expect a return to healthier growth as we head into what should be a very busy summer season."
By Janet Harmer
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