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UK July occupancy "remarkable" - TRI
London's hotels in July exceeded occupancy levels seen in the same month last year, the latest HotStats survey from TRI Hospitality Consulting has revealed.
The UK capital's hoteliers drove occupancy to a high of 88.6% in July by further discounting room rates, TRI said.
But UK average room rates (ARR) in July remained below last year's levels at £115.65, a drop of 13.1%.
"The increase in volume and relatively strong rate performance compared to last year is all the more remarkable given the lack of the biennial Farnborough Show in 2009," said TRI's managing director Jonathan Langston.
The Farnborough International Air Show in Hampshire, a major UK aerospace event, draws in visitors from around the world but was absent this year.
"Compared to July 2007 (the last comparable period without Farnborough demand), occupancy levels in 2009 improved marginally by 0.1 percentage point and achieved average room rates increased by over 2.7% or £3," TRI said.
"Given the current economic climate, the outperformance of the London hotel market over the comparable period in 2007 demonstrates the capital's strong market performance."
Average occupancy in the seven months to July fell 2.2% year-on-year in London while ARR dropped by 8.4% to £109.47.
"Year-to-date figures for July 2009 show an encouraging improvement compared to the six months to June and confirm that the recession impact is lessening," Mr Langston said.
Occupancy in the UK's regions in July fell below last year's levels at 74.3%, down 1.7% compared to 2008 "despite a relatively strong performance," TRI said.
ARR in the regions dropped by around £7 year-on-year in July to £67.55.
TRI said the London hotel market had been driven by strong demand from the Middle East to continue until September.
TRI said visitors from the Middle East stayed in London's hotels for an average of 14 days compared to the domestic leisure market's five day average.