Glasgow hotel demand outstrips rest of Scotland

Glasgow's hotels bucked the trend of what's been seen across Scotland. Picture: Donald MacLeod
Glasgow's hotels bucked the trend of what's been seen across Scotland. Picture: Donald MacLeod
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Hoteliers in Glasgow posted a strong performance last month, bucking an otherwise difficult period as other major Scottish cities absorbed the impact of significant declines in occupancy or room rates.

Although room rates in Glasgow eased slightly, the year-on-year decline of 0.5 per cent was much slower than in Aberdeen and Edinburgh.

Meanwhile, occupancy rose by 5.7 per cent, putting Glasgow well ahead of the marginal rise in Edinburgh and a drop in Aberdeen.

The figures from tourism market specialists LJ Research put Glasgow’s occupancy at an all-time high of 82 per cent in March. This, combined with an average room rate of £68.91, pushed the combined industry measure of revenue per available room (revpar) 5.1 per cent higher to £56.45.

Scott Taylor, chief executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said the influx of visitors was driven by a number of events ranging from medical and political conferences to high-profile entertainment such as Paloma Faith, Morrissey, Noel Gallagher and Premier League Darts at the SSE Hydro. The Scottish League Cup final between Celtic and Dundee at Hampden also provided a boost for the city.

“The 12 days of the Commonwealth Games have translated into 15 consecutive months of growth in Glasgow with some of the highest occupancy rates on record in the city,” Taylor said.

“This is the legacy of the Games, which will be felt in Glasgow for the next decade. Our research shows that occupancy in Glasgow last month was the strongest of any major city in the UK and Europe.”

Although occupancy in Edinburgh rose by 1.3 per cent to 75.4 per cent, this was not enough to offset a 4 per cent decline in room rates to £83.10. As a result, revpar in the capital slipped by 2.7 per cent to £62.66.

Hoteliers in the capital reported various reasons for the unexpectedly quiet month, such as a shift in corporate bookings to limited service establishments. Others said rugby weekends were less busy than in previous years, or cited a lack of events at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

There was also a feeling among many that a spate of new hotels opening in the city has pushed down the rates charged amid increased competition to fill rooms.

Low oil prices hit confidence in Aberdeen, where there are widespread reports of travel and accommodation bans or requests for rate reductions by corporate clients.

Occupancy in the Granite City fell by 8 per cent to 67.6 per cent. Although room rates are still the highest in Scotland, they fell by 3.2 per cent to £93.90, pushing combined revpar down by 11 per cent to £63.49.

As of 1 April, 46.7 per cent of Aberdeen’s total room stock was sold for the rest of the month, and 29.4 per cent was sold for May. This was down 12.6 per cent and 6.8 per cent respectively against the previous year.