The large snowfalls in January affected hotels both positively and negatively, according to preliminary monthly figures released by PFK Hotel Consultancy Services.
Hotels in London, which was largely unaffected by the snow, achieved robust growth over the month with room rates increasing by 4.1% from £110.26 in January 2008 to £114.80 this year. Room occupancy increased by 3.3 percentage points on-year from 70.8%.
But in the regions, the snow affected many parts of the country. While occupancy showed a 0.8 percentage point increase on the same period last year to 55.9%, room rates continued to decline, down 6.4% to £65.26.
Some cities saw an increase in occupancy which may have been partly due to last-minute snow bookings. In Manchester, occupancy increased by 8.9% to 66.3%, while figures rose in Edinburgh by 3.4% to 55.6% and in Cardiff by 2.8% to 58.9%.
Cities reporting a decline in occupancy were probably negatively affected by the snow. In Birmingham, figures fell by 3.7% to 51.7%, while occupancy was down in Leeds by 0.5% to 62.3% and in Liverpool by 0.1% to 53.2%.
"The snow caused a fair amount of havoc for those needing to travel over January and this worked out negatively for hoteliers in some parts of the country," said Robert Barnard, partner for hotel consultancy services at PFK. "On the flip side, the need for a last minute bed for those stranded by the same weather, worked out positively for other hotel owners.
"As we look forward to spring so do thoughts of summer holidays and this could bode well for UK hotels in 2010. Although the country is officially out of recession, economic difficulties are still affecting many UK families and this, coupled with the weakness of the pound, could mean that many decide to holiday in the UK this year."
By Janet Harmer
E-mail your comments to Janet Harmer here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.caterersearch.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next hotel job here with Caterersearch.com jobs