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Hoteliers cautious as positive start to 2004 may mask winter chill

The hotel industry’s traditionally slow month of January lived up to its reputation as…

The hotel industry’s traditionally slow month of January lived up to its reputation as  occupancy levels increased only slightly on the same month last year, according to figures released by accountants and business advisors PKF.

London hotels saw occupancy up 4.0% to 65.3% whilst average room rate rose 3.1% to £92.25 and rooms yield increased by 7.2% to £60.24. However, these are fairly small rises on already disappointing figures reported in January 2003, when the industry was affected by the looming threat of war with Iraq.
Outside London, hoteliers saw occupancy rise 2.1% to 57.5%, while average room rate edged up just 0.7% to £60.12, leaving rooms yield up 2.8% to £34.57.

Robert Barnard, hotel consultancy services director at PKF, said: “January is one of the slowest months of the year when it comes to hotel occupancy levels, so the modest increases reported by the UK’s hoteliers in January are very welcome, especially as room rate has not suffered. However, we need to look at these figures in context as we comparing them with January 2003 when the industry was rocked by the prospects of war with Iraq.
“London’s positive occupancy and room rate figures follow the trends of the last few months, which is encouraging. But the weakness of the dollar and the high profile flight cancellations in January could result in a further fall in US visitor figures.”

Preliminary data for January 2004

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