SCOTLAND’S hotel sector had the highest occupancy and revenue levels of the whole of the UK last year, new figures have revealed.
Analysts said the data shows 2013 marked the “resurrection” of the industry as the economy recovers, and predicted an excellent year ahead for hoteliers.
The latest report by accountants and business advisers BDO LLP found Scottish hotel occupancy last year averaged 75.5%, compared with 72.5% in regional UK and just under 72% in England.
The industry measure of revenue, known as “rooms yield”, stood at around £52 in Scotland, compared to £43 in regional UK and £42 in England.
Alastair Rae, a partner in the property, leisure and hospitality sector at BDO, said: “Last year undoubtedly saw the resurrection of the hospitality sector with consistent monthly increases in revenue.
“The figures are very positive for the sector although clearly with inflation in operating costs hospitality remains below the levels of profitability experienced prior to 2008.”
There was positive news in the figures for Scotland’s three biggest cities.
Hotel occupancy was highest in Glasgow at 79%, closely followed by Edinburgh at 77.7%.
Revenue rose the most in Aberdeen, which experienced a 16% increase over the year to just over £70, the highest figure in the UK outside London.
Edinburgh, where revenue rose more than 9% over the year, remains a “sound investment” for the sector, according to experts.
Mr Rae said: “The star of the hospitality sector during 2013 was Aberdeen whose hotels continue to be boosted by the oil and gas sector. However, despite the city boasting the highest revenue figures outside London, investment in the sector remains more muted than in other parts of Scotland. This may be due to the city’s reliance on the oil and gas sector rather than leisure which may give it a somewhat one dimensional appeal over the long term.
“Edinburgh remains a sound investment for the hotel sector with numerous projects completing or in development in the capital throughout 2013. Demand never seems to be satisfied in the city as hoteliers flock to build more and more hotels.”
Inverness had a very positive year, with strong improvements in occupancy and revenue, said Mr Rae. While Glasgow performed well, its 3% revenue growth over the year indicates that discounting may be taking place to maintain volume, he added.
On the overall picture, he added: “These figures are strong grounds for optimism for 2014 as the economy recovers and positive consumer sentiment is restored.
“It is likely that this will be sustained for the coming year and Scotland’s hotel sector will have another excellent year.
“Those in the sector who have come through the recession must be giving out a resounding sigh of relief that the worst is over.”