Aberdeen hotel sector gets lift from conferences

Aberdeen's hotels were boosted by an offshore conference

Aberdeen's hotels were boosted by an offshore conference

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Aberdeen hoteliers received a welcome reprieve last month as conferences and other events set demand for overnight accommodation in Scotland.

Hotels in the Granite City, which have been reeling since the downturn in oil prices, got a much-needed boost from the biennial SPE Offshore Europe Conference. With an estimated 63,000 visitors attending, the conference created a spike in demand between 8 and 11 September, leading to the first increase in room prices in eight months.

The average room rate (ARR) for September rose by 5.4 per cent to £104.72, according to figures from tourism marketing specialist LJ Research. This was heavily influenced by pricing during the conference, with the cost of the average room soaring to £223.70.

However, the key RevPAR figure – which factors in overall occupancy and revenue performance for the month – fell for the tenth consecutive time to £78.51 as demand for rooms remained weak outwith the conference. Looking ahead, bookings for the next six months are down on the same period last year, with October as much as 18 per cent lower.

Hotels in Edinburgh suffered from comparisons against the previous year, when the capital benefited from the nearby Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and the build-up to Scotland’s devolution referendum.

Occupancy suffered the least and remained the highest in the country at 91.8 per cent, but room rates on the ARR measure tumbled to £111.53. That 12.4 per cent decline marked the first double-digit loss of this decade in Edinburgh.

Glasgow was the only city to achieve an increase in the number of rooms sold as a steady stream of sporting events, concerts and business conferences pushed average occupancy to 91.5 per cent.

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