Scottish hotel sector sees slump in room occupancy

Scottish hotels are facing a major slump in room occupancy, according to new research by accountant firm PKF.

Even though revenue per room has increased by 2.1 per cent in Scotland, comparable to England and Wales which both saw declines, occupancy in Scotland declined by 3.4 per cent. This is the worst rate across the entire UK. Edinburgh faced the worst of the brunt, with room occupancy having fallen by 5.3 per cent in January 2013.

Other regions were temperamental. Even though occupancy in Glasgow was up by 0.7 per cent, room yields had fallen to just £32. Aberdeen was the star performer in January with occupancy rising by 0.2 per cent and room yields increasing dramatically to over £55. This is the highest rate of anywhere outside the capital city in the UK. Alastair Rae, from PKF, argued that Aberdeen had performed well due to various events being held in the region, such as the oil and gas employment fair, and the Offshore Wind and Supply Chain conference. Mr Rae was quick to argue however that the Scottish hotel sector is still “treading water”.

Mr Rae went on to say: “January is not a typical month for the hospitality sector but it is clear these figures indicate that the market, Aberdeen aside, is simply treading water. The slight upturn in Edinburgh may be a positive sign but it is quite a small improvement and there is still some way to go before we can tell if 2013 will be better than last year.

"All the signs are, unfortunately, that it will be another difficult year of trading for Scottish hotels."

Many individuals are being encouraged to look carefully among hospitality jobs boards to find vacancies in Scottish hotels.

Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency providing hotel management solutions.