Capital hotels on a high but mixed picture in other cities

Edinburgh's hoteliers are in for a bumper new year with bookings ahead of 2016 levels, according to a report out today.

Edinburgh hotels have enjoyed a solid performance this year. Picture: Steven Scott Taylor

The upbeat forecast comes after a solid performance during November, while hotels in Scotland’s two other major cities, Glasgow and Aberden, saw a mixed performance last month.

According to the latest LJ Forecaster Intercity Report, from tourism specialist LJ Research, Edinburgh hoteliers sold 80.8 per cent of their rooms during the month – 0.3 of a percentage point higher than November 2015.

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In addition to increasing room occupancy, the capital’s hoteliers grew the average room rate (ARR) from £84.75 to £100.76, a healthy year-on-year increase of about 19 per cent. Overall, the figures for Edinburgh pointed to growth of 19.4 per cent for revenue per available room (RevPar) – a key industry measure – to £81.44.

LJ said the trend for future business showed positive signs for Edinburgh, with forward bookings for each of the next six months all above this year’s levels.

Sean Morgan, managing director at LJ Research, said: “November was the seventh consecutive month of £100-plus average room rates for city centre hotels in Edinburgh. The fact that these prices did not negatively impact on room occupancy are signs of a very healthy accommodation market indeed.

“The growth observed in Edinburgh’s hotel industry is perhaps even more astonishing when considering that 800 new hotel rooms have opened in the city so far in 2016 and also factoring in the growth of the sharing economy.”

Hotels in Glasgow and Aberdeen also welcomed more guests last month compared to a year earlier. However, the overall picture was mixed.

In Glasgow, November’s occupancy rate of 87.5 per cent was 1.1 percentage points higher than last year. But more rooms were sold in return for lower average room rates: the ARR was £74.46 for a Glasgow city centre room which was 1.6 per cent shy of November 2015. Combining the occupancy and ARR performance, RevPar dipped by 0.5 per cent.

In Aberdeen, the recent modest rebound in the price of oil has yet to have an appreciable effect. While occupancy rates grew by 1.5 percentage points to 70 per cent last month, the average room rate fell to £65.38 from £76.55 last year. Consequentially, RevPar tumbled 13 per cent. Business on the books was largely unchanged compared to 2015.