Scots hotel occupancy rates highest in UK - report

The Balmoral Hotel, in Edinburgh. Occupancy increased by 7.3% in Edinburgh in May. Picture: TSPL
The Balmoral Hotel, in Edinburgh. Occupancy increased by 7.3% in Edinburgh in May. Picture: TSPL
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THE hotel sector in Scotland had the highest income and occupancy levels in the whole of the UK in May, according to a monthly report.

Revenue, or “rooms yield”, stood at almost £59 in Scotland that month, compared to around £44 in England and £39 in Wales.

The figure - the standard measure of performance in the industry - marked an increase of 10.6% on the same period last year. In England and Wales the gains were smaller, up 2.5% and 7.6% respectively.

Hotel occupancy levels north of the border also rose to more than 79% in May, up almost 4% on the same time last year. This compared to 75.7% in regional UK.

The study was carried out by accountants and business advisers BDO LLP, which described the figures as encouraging.

Alastair Rae, a partner in the property, leisure and hospitality sector at BDO, said: “These figures are quite positive and indicate a return to form for the Scottish hotel sector, which has been going through a difficult period.

“However, this needs to be sustained over the summer for full confidence to return. It is an encouraging performance for the early part of summer.

“May also revealed a dramatic increase in occupancy and revenue for the under £40 market, with increases of 15.2% and 11.4% respectively.

“This may be indicative of individuals returning to the budget hotel market and is, perhaps, a sign of a slight increase in financial confidence.”

A closer look at Scotland’s cities showed that revenue rose by 19.8% in Edinburgh and 16% in Aberdeen while Inverness was up 6.4% and Glasgow rose by 0.2%.

Occupancy increased by 7.3% in Edinburgh, was up 1.4% in Aberdeen and was relatively static in Glasgow and Inverness.

Edinburgh’s performance was boosted by increased tourist numbers and an upturn in business visitors for some high-profile conferences.

Mr Rae said: “These figures indicate just how well the hotel sector is doing in Aberdeen.

“The oil and gas industry continues to drive high levels of occupancy and, in particular, revenue in the granite city which, at £77.02, was the highest in the UK outside London.

“Edinburgh also experienced a considerable upturn during May with occupancy of 85.3% - the second highest in the UK after Portsmouth - and revenue of £74.23, which was the second highest in the UK after Aberdeen.

“Glasgow and Inverness also had strong occupancy levels holding above 80% whilst revenue figures also rose.

“Inverness should benefit from the start of the tourism season but Glasgow typically relies less on this source of income and more on its ability to attract high-quality, high volume conference and event work.”