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PKF UK: 11 September anniversary hits London hotel trading

The London hotel market failed to see the full effect of the expected bounce back a year on the from the 11 September terrorist attacks…

The London hotel market failed to see the full effect of the expected bounce back a year on the from the 11 September terrorist attacks , according to PKF ‘s preliminary figures released yesterday.

London occupancy rose 9.3% to 80.2%, but with last September’s occupancy 17% down at 72.4% on 2000, the market failed to claw back the anticipated level of recovery, due in large part to a general reluctance to travel around the anniversary of the 11 September. Average room rate dipped 5.7% to £100.84 leaving rooms yield up only 3.1% at £80.87.

There was better news for regional hotels, which suffered less in September 2001 and managed to recover any lost ground in September 2002. Occupancy increased 2.2% to 76.1%, which is both a bigger margin than the previous month and the biggest single monthly uplift this year, more than correcting the 1.7% drop last September (although not strictly on a like-for-like basis). Despite average room rate falling 1.3% to £63.84, rooms yield rose 0.8%, but not quite recovering enough to compensate for the full extent of UK inflation.

There were encouraging increases in the number of European, US and Japanese visitors, although as a comparison with September 2001, this was not unexpected.
Melvin Gold, managing director of hotel consultancy services at PKF, said: “The figures support our view that occupancy is on the rise and we continue to believe that in London there is an underlying trend that is slightly stronger than the figures show, not fully visible in September due to the weak period around 11 September. There is evidence that trading for the rest of September was stronger than during this period.

“We expect October’s pattern to show further growth and gain back further ground against 2001 levels. There are definitely positive signs for the hotel sector – September’s London occupancy back up to 80.2% is a move in the right direction, but we have to be cautious, because September is traditionally a month that sees occupancy levels well in excess of 80%. Therefore hoteliers will want to make up much more ground before adopting a more aggressive rate strategy.”

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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