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Meetings bookings account for one-fifth of country hotels business

Latest HotStats report says country hotels are benefiting from ongoing revival in events industry

The UK's country house hotels have seen a rise in bookings for meeting and conference facilities, which accounted for 19 per cent of the total demand in the 11 months to November 2015.

Rural hotels, where overall occupancy rose 2.7 per cent in the same period, are benefiting from a "revival" in the meeting and event segment, says HotStats in its UK Chain Hotels Market Review. In 2014 meetings and conference bookings were 18.1 per cent of total demand.

"In addition to benefiting from a return to good levels of disposable income fuelling the ongoing recovery in the leisure segment, many country house hotels have significant meeting and event facilities and are also benefiting from the revival in this segment," the report said.

Meanwhile, Glaswegian hotels reported year-on-year declines across all indicators for the month of November, with average room rates falling 8 per cent to £83, after a profitable November 2014 in which the city hosted the MTV European Music Awards.

In addition, Glasgow hotels also suffered year-on-year declines in revenue for event-related services, including food & beverage (-2.3 per cent) and conference & banqueting (-3.4 per cent).

South West hoteliers' "purple patch" was tested with the first year-on-year decline in gross profit (0.8 per cent) for November, despite average room rates and occupancy rising 4 per cent (£79) and .5 per cent (72 per cent occupancy) respectively during the same period.

The report said overhead costs were partly to blame.

"The trend of year-on-year cost increases has been noted throughout 2015, but is more prevalent in November as growth has slowed. The most concerning increases in year-to-date costs have been recorded in cost of sales (+21.8 per cent) and sales & marketing expenses (+20.7 per cent), which should be managed to ensure South West hotels remain profitable," it said.

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