Aberdeen hotel operators suffer ‘muted’ 2015 start

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ABERDEEN’S hotel sector has seen its first fall in room revenues for more than two years, according to a report published today that shows “muted” growth for the industry as a whole.

The study, from market researcher LJ Research, found that occupancy rates in January across Scotland’s three largest cities were down on last year, with Aberdeen suffering amid weakness in the oil and gas sector.

A bedroom at The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

A bedroom at The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

As occupancy in the Granite City dropped to 63.4 per cent, down by 2.8 per cent from January 2014, average room rates fell 2.9 per cent to £96.72.

Sean Morgan, managing director at Edinburgh-based LJ Research, said: “2014 was a remarkable year for tourism across Scotland and it is perhaps quite surprising to see rather muted hotel performance in Scotland’s three key cities to start the year.”

He added: “Whilst the trend of steeply falling oil prices appears to have abated, our LJ Forecaster results highlight challenges currently impacting on North Sea oil and gas production, and looking to the next few months there are indications of decreasing accommodation demand in Aberdeen.”

Glasgow saw the highest occupancy rate of 63.5 per cent, while the average cost of a room in the city rose for the 13th month in a row to £59.50, an increase of 3.1 per cent on a year ago.

Councillor Gordon Matheson, leader of Glasgow City Council and chair of the city’s marketing bureau, said: “As an investment destination Glasgow has risen to the top as one of the UK’s outstanding performers and with the burgeoning convention and events scene in the city, confidence in Glasgow is at an all-time high.”

In Edinburgh, average rates were 2.8 per cent higher at £72.85, but occupancy dipped by 0.8 per cent compared with last year to 59.9 per cent.

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