Aberdeen’s hotel sector still in ‘doldrums’

Alastair Rae: Prices will hopefully firm up. Picture: Contributed

Alastair Rae: Prices will hopefully firm up. Picture: Contributed

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Check-in desks at Aberdeen hotels became even quieter in August, while Edinburgh’s performance in the month was “extraordinary,” according to new research published by accountancy firm BDO.

In its monthly survey, the company said the Granite City experienced its fifth consecutive month of double-digit drops in occupancy and revenue, as cuts in the oil continued to take their toll. Occupancy fell year-on-year by 12.2 per cent to 71 per cent, and revenue dropped by 22.7 per cent to £51.30. The city “continues to be in the doldrums, albeit for understandable reasons,” said Alastair Rae, BDO partner in the property, leisure and hospitality sector.

The picture was very different for Edinburgh, which at £99.35 had the highest revenue figure of anywhere in the UK, excluding only luxury international hotels in London. Its occupancy exceeded 90 per cent, with the city benefiting from festival visitors, with Fringe ticket sales at end-August up by 5.24 per cent from 12 months previously.

Glasgow’s hospitality-sector revenue jumped by 1.8 per cent to £61.87 and Inverness had the third-highest revenue outside London at £76.58.

Rae said that Aberdeen’s struggles “may be overshadowing what has been an excellent summer for Edinburgh and Inverness”.

He added that despite the continued downturn for the city, there may be “some consolation” in the fact that the rate of decline looks to be decreasing.

“The occupancy fall was only just in double figures, and once that stabilises prices will hopefully firm up a bit. Until then, however, the sector remains vulnerable,” he said.

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