Data released by the ALMR – the leading voice for the hospitality sector – shows that while the UK experienced the one of highest occupancy rates across Europe in December (71.6%) its hotels were still not as full as previous years.
After benefitting from an increase of tourists taking advantage of the loss in value of the pound, the UK occupancy rate has almost stabilised (-0.1pt). However, this remains below the European average (+2.3%). Visit Britain forecasts that overseas visits to the UK will continue to grow in 2018, reaching 41.7 million visits, an increase of 4.4% on 2017; and £26.9 billion in visitor spending, an increase of 6.8% on 2017 – and with events such as the Royal Wedding in May expected to draw in tourists from across the globe, UK hotels enter a positive 2018.
The research reveals that after an encouraging October with a RevPAR up +5.2%, a strong November with an increase in its RevPAR by +6.9%, December 2017 presented further growth in global RevPAR by +6.3%. Countries experiencing strong growth were France, Portugal, Turkey, Belgium and Netherlands. Interestingly, despite the socio-political tensions surrounding Barcelona, and RevPAR being down for several weeks, Spain remained a steady performer.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “The latest figures show how we need to be conscious of any legislative changes at a time when the sector is wanting to cement a competitive advantage – particularly as we begin to experience an increase in occupancy rates.
“As the only national trade body dedicated to representing and helping protect the interests of licensed hospitality operators, we’ll continue to work with government to lobby for increased support of the sector. Europe as a whole is experiencing positive momentum and growth prospects as consumer travel confidence returns and we must ensure that the UK isn’t left behind.”
The results represent the performance of corporate brand hotels in Europe. The sample consists of a total of more than 6,500 hotels, representing more than 800,000 rooms and compiled by HOTREC, the European hospitality trade association.