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Hoteliers in for "testing" time
Room rates and occupancy dropped last month in London hotels, according to the latest figures from PKF Hotel Consultancy Services.
Room rates in the capital fell by 0.9% from £139.33 in 2007 to £138.03 last month with occupancy dropping by 1.2% compared with the same month in 2007.
The figures showed a 2.1% drop in room yield from £102.07 in December 2007 to £99.89 last month.
But PKF said that for the previous 12 months, London showed a 2.7% increase in room yield, "mostly" driven by a 4.6% hike in room rates.
But UK regions felt the effect of the downturn more severely.
Rooms yield dropped by 11.6% compared to December 2007 caused by a combination of a 9.4% decrease in occupancy, from 62.2% to 56.3%, and a drop in room rate from £73.20 last year to £71.42 this year.
Robert Barnard, PKF partner, said: "The decreases experienced by hoteliers this month are not surprising considering the current climate.
"Business travel always drops off in December, but this year it would have been further diminished as companies try to cut costs.
"Looking forward into 2009, the weak pound may help bring some tourists back to the UK and therefore into hotels, but on the whole, it will be a more testing year for hoteliers than the last few and they should be continuing to prepare themselves for a downturn in business."