UK Chain Hotels Market Review - April 2009
London occupancy stays high during Easter
London room occupancy this April compared well to previous Easter months, matching that of March 2008, and exceeding the 77.6 per cent reported in April 2007. In the provinces, room occupancy was 67.3 per cent this April, which also matched levels reported for the Easter of March 2008.
As expected, however, the non like-for-like comparison and reduction in corporate room-nights exacerbated the April declines in average room rate. In London average room rate was down by 10.2 per cent on the month to £106.17 and in the provinces down by 11.2 per cent to £67.01.
Looking at the four-month trend this year, the recession appears to be having a greater impact on hotels outside London. Revenue per available room was down by 10.8 per cent in London but minus 13.1 per cent in the provinces.
Daily profit per available room – expressed as income before fixed charges (IBFC) – fell by 23 per cent to £22.06 in the provinces compared to a 17.1 per cent decrease to £46.92 in the capital.
Overseas Visitor Spend Holds Up
In the three months to March 2009 the number of overseas visits to the UK fell by 13 per cent to 6.3 million compared to the same period a year earlier, and yet the amount they spent while here edged up slightly to £3.13 billion from £3.128 billion.
The smallest decline of 7 per cent was in visits from EU15 countries, which include France, Germany, Spain and Italy. In contrast, North American residents continued to stay away, with numbers down by 21 per cent.
The weak pound incentivised those tourists who did come and they certainly got more for their money while here, resulting in significantly higher spend-per-head. Although our department stores appear to be the main beneficiaries, it must also partly explain why London hotels are faring better than many of their European counterparts,” said Langston.
Official statistics showed stronger growth in the volume of clothing and footwear sales than other consumer goods in the first quarter of 2009.
BAA, the operator of seven UK airports including Gatwick and Heathrow, reported handling 40.6 million passengers in the four months to April 2009, an 8 per cent decline on the same period a year earlier. Heathrow and Edinburgh were the most resilient airports both reporting 4 per cent fewer passengers.
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