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UK hotels saw positive room rate growth in January despite a slight fall in occupancy, according to monthly figures from accountants PKF.
A survey of around 150 London properties revealed an 8.3% increase in rates from £104.41 in January last year to £113.09 this year. The figure came despite a slip in occupancy levels from 72.1% to 70% and illustrates the general upward price trend since the end of the recession.
PKF found hotels in the regions faring less well, with rates in more than 800 properties increasing by only 2.2%, a figure that is below inflation level. Average prices rose from £57.60 to £58.87 while occupancy remained flat at 53.8%.
Individual cities, such as Cardiff and Leeds followed a similar pattern with room occupancy declining, but room rate increasing. In Cardiff, the average room rate was up 5.3% from £58.43 last January to £61.50 this year. Room occupancy was down from 56.5% to 53.9%. In Leeds, room rates rose 4.6% to £61.27 with occupancy fractionally below last January.
Robert Barnard, partner for Hotel Consultancy Services at PKF, commented, “January is often a slow month following the Christmas rush and occupancy figures usually run at a lower percentage. The declines in room occupancy – mostly across the board – however, are slightly concerning for the industry as it looks towards 2011. Having said that, room rate increases did counter balance the falls in room occupancy so it was not a bad month for the UK’s hoteliers.”
Barnard warned that the government’s austerity drive and cuts to the public sector are likely to have an impact on the industry but added: “I do not predict too much of a struggle for the year to come.”