January hotel performance London edges ahead


Hoteliers in London reported only modest increases in room rates and occupancy levels in January, traditionally one of the industry’s slowest months, according to figures published today.

The monthly statistics, from business advisers PKF, reported that London hotels saw occupancy rise by 4% to 65.3% in January, while average room rates rose by 3.1% to £92.25. Revenue per available room (revpar) increased by 7.2% to £60.24.

Outside London, hoteliers saw occupancy rise by 2.1% to 57.5%, while average room rate edged up by just 0.7% to £60.12, leaving rooms yield up by 2.8% at £34.57.

After the ups and downs of last year, the fact that January was relatively steady would have been a relief to many hoteliers, said PKF.But that there had not been more of a bounce from last year, when the trade had been badly affected by the looming threat of war in Iraq, was a concern.

Robert Barnard, PKF hotel consultancy services director, said: “The modest increases reported by the UK’s hoteliers in January are very welcome, especially as room rate has not suffered.’However, we need to look at these figures in context as we are comparing them with January 2003 when the industry was rocked by the prospects of war with Iraq.’

London’s figures were “encouraging”, but the weakness of the dollar and the flight cancellations as a result of terror scares could yet lead to a further fall-out in US visitor figures, he worried.

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