UK hotels market in recovery


The UK hotel industry appears to be on the road to recovery, according to two reports out today. A forecast from consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) predicts an end to three years of revenue per available room (revpar) declines in both London and the UK as a whole during 2004.

It forecasts 3.5% growth in revpar this year, and 5.6% growth in 2005. But the report warns: ‘Although there are indicators that corporate travellers are on the move again, there is a risk that continued anxiety about terrorist activity may stall this.’

The PWC report also identifies a shift in business and leisure travel patterns. Corporate travellers are now booking later, using the internet more and increasingly shopping for better rates, it says.’The implication is that the travellers are returning, but the business model may have changed for good.’

London is expected to lead the recovery, with a 1.7% rise in revpar this year and a further 6.4% increase in 2005.Meanwhile, a survey from TRI Hospitality Consulting shows revpar at UK hotels during January up by 4.2% on the same month a year earlier, to £40.83.

This is the result of a 0.7% rise in average room rate to £66.11 and a 2.1 percentage point rise in occupancy to 61.8%.Revpar in London is up by 5.9% to £56.23, while revpar in the provinces rises by 3.2% to £35.19.

TRI says: ‘The UK hotel industry appears to be on the road to recovery after the previous three years of difficult hotel trading conditions.’UK hoteliers are confident that the trend will continue, especially with the increase in the corporate market and the return of international business travellers.

But TRI warns that the recent bombs in Madrid may affect demand in London, particularly if they turn out to have been the work of global terrorists.

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