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March washout sees occupancy and rates drop at UK hotels

Wettest March in a decade saw average room rates at UK hotels drop by 0.3 per cent to £110, according to HotStats

Pictured: March was the wettest in a decade

The wettest March in a decade, as well as unseasonal snowstorms, saw both occupancy and room rate fall at UK hotels, according to the latest poll from HotStats. 

A 0.6 per cent decline in room occupancy to 75.2 per cent was accompanied by a 0.3 per cent drop in achieved average room rate to £110.

“Spring failed to materialise in March and instead it was replaced with heavy snow fall and bone-chilling temperatures as the UK experienced its worst winter since 1991”, said Pablo Alonso, CEO of HotStats.

“This had the double-whammy effect of causing a drop in top line performance as hazardous conditions meant the advice was not to travel, but also the bottom line was hit by high payroll costs, as it was way too late to adjust staffing levels, and the cold weather meant the heating had to stay on.”

There were price hikes in Birmingham as a number of key events during the month led to high demand levels in March.

In addition to the city hosting the IAAF World Indoor Athletic Championships, the NEC played host to a number of major exhibitions, including the Internet Retailing Expo and the British Tourism and Travel Show, which cumulatively attracted more than 8,000 attendees. 

As a result of the high demand levels, occupancy increased 0.9 per cent to 82.4 per cent, while average room rate increased by 9 per cent to £92. 

In London room occupancy levels were at around 80 per cent, while achieved average room rate fell by 2.9 per cent year-on-year to £153.

This was in a month in which flights were cancelled at all of London’s major airports, events in the city were put on hold and tourists stayed away.

“The snowy disruption to trading is the last thing hotels in London would have wanted this month,” added Alonso. “Particularly as they are already trying to navigate their way through the choppy waters caused by the addition of close to 7,000 bedrooms to supply in 2017 and Q1 2018.”

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