Hotel industry takes a breather as Scots growth lags

Aberdeen was the sole Scottish city to record an increase in occupancy. Picture: TSPL

Aberdeen was the sole Scottish city to record an increase in occupancy. Picture: TSPL

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SCOTLAND’S hotel sector paused for breath in January following a benchmark year for the industry in 2014.

Revenue and occupancy wavered, according to the latest figures from accountancy firm BDO, but this was in comparison to a strong performance previously. Experts also noted that January is traditionally a slow month for the sector.

Year-on-year revenue, the industry term for rooms yield, rose 4.2 per cent in January to an average of £35.58 across Scotland. This compared to an increase of 12.8 per cent in regional UK to £33.69, a 14.2 per cent rise in England to £33.40, and an increase of 14.8 per cent to £28.15 in Wales.

Occupancy dipped by 1 per cent in Scotland, compared to increases in all other regions.

Aberdeen was the sole Scottish city to record an increase in occupancy, up 1.3 per cent to 65.3 per cent. Revenue of £60.25 was the highest in the UK outside London.

Last month, when BDO released its review of the industry for 2014, hospitality partner Alastair Rae predicted the crash in oil prices would have a knock-on effect on Aberdeen’s hotels in 2015. Surprisingly, this did not materialise as of January.

“One month’s figures are not a trend and January is clearly a hangover month in which leisure travellers reign in spending following the festive financial excesses,” Rae said. “I believe that this year will continue to be positive for the sector although there remains a question mark in Aberdeen as the oil and gas sector begins to re-evaluate its position.”

Although Glasgow suffered a slight dip in occupancy, the city maintained its revenue momentum with an 8.9 per cent rise to £34.56. Revenue in Edinburgh slipped slightly to £34.19, but surged by more than 18 per cent in Inverness following the Scottish Student Championship Head Races.

“Inverness’ hospitality sector attracted a major event which improved the month’s figures, proving the worth of bringing in outside events during the quietest periods of the year,” Rae said.

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