London hotel occupancy rates soar in September

Hotels in London avoided an expected post-Olympics slump in performance in September as occupancy rates soared, new figures have revealed.

TRI Hospitality Consulting (TRI) has found that occupancy levels rose by 3.1 per cent to 89.4 per cent in September, with the Paralympics helping to attract more visitors to the capital during the month.

This was underlined by the 22 per cent rise in leisure travellers compared to September 2011, while corporate demand remained weak year-on-year as business travellers continued to stay away from London.

Despite a 3.2 per cent fall in average room rate from £141.82 to £137.26, the increase in occupancy rates meant that revenue per available room, or RevPAR, rose by 0.6 per cent, providing a potential boost to hotel recruitment in London. 

The latest HotStats UK Chain Hotels Market Review also shows that non-room revenue increased by 19 per cent to help further boost business, with rises noted in food, beverage and room hire. 

Jonathan Langston, TRI's managing director, said: "Whilst there were rumours of a potential post-Olympic slump as experienced in previous host cities, which appeared even more plausible if you take the challenging economic environment into account, London hoteliers have responded with the strongest September occupancy performance recorded since HotStats began capturing data for the London full-service hotel market."

Hoteliers in the provinces continued to struggle, however, with gross operating profit per available room falling by 1.6 per cent and average room rate dropping 3.1 per cent to £72.16. Provincial hotel owners would have posted worse results were it not for a 2.5 per cent rise in occupancy levels to 79.5 per cent.

Similarly to those located in the centre of the city, provincial hoteliers saw demand from leisure guests increase by 16 per cent.

Mr Langston warned that there is set to be no respite for provincial hoteliers, with profit levels set to be eroded as food and energy prices are set to continue to soar. Coupled with the economic downturn, Mr Langston warned that prospects for the provincial hotel market are "not bright".

Berkeley Scott is a specialist agency providing hotel recruitment in London