Glasgow hotels enjoyed record occupancy

Concerts at the Hydro, such as the Arctic Monkeys, provided growth for Glasgow's tourist industry. Picture: Getty
Concerts at the Hydro, such as the Arctic Monkeys, provided growth for Glasgow's tourist industry. Picture: Getty
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Glasgow’s hotel sector has recorded its strongest November for seven years, as the city came close to being fully booked.

The latest report by tourism market research specialist LJ Research, published today, shows that occupancy in the city averaged 83 per cent last month, and peaked at 98 per cent on Saturday, 23 November.

The overall figure equals the highest occupancy level for November in the city since the monthly survey began in 1999. It has been achieved just once before, in November 2006, and is 2 per cent higher than last year.

The visitor influx was aided by marketing campaigns and a number of key events during the month including concerts at the SSE Hydro by the Arctic Monkeys, Simple Minds and Vampire Weekend.

The high occupancy rates, however, were at the expense of average room rates, which fell 11.7 per cent compared with November 2012. This decline can be attributed to the city attracting fewer business visitors last month, and in particular the absence of a biennial medical conference.

Glasgow’s hoteliers benefit from one of the world’s largest medical conferences – the International Conference on Drug Therapy in HIV – which takes place every other November. Sean Morgan, research director at LJ, said that meant rates are very likely to increase again in 2014.

He said: “Another record month for Glasgow’s hotels suggests solid growth is under way in the city’s tourism industry.

“The year-on-year decline in room rates demonstrates the value of business tourism to Glasgow.

“However, recent figures also highlight that the city is extremely good at flexibly targeting leisure visitors when a reduction in business visitors is anticipated.”

Glasgow City Marketing Bureau (GCMB) said the report demonstrates continued leisure tourism growth in the city against a backdrop of increasing accommodation supply.

GCMB chief executive Scott Taylor said: “Our hotels were fully expecting a reduction in daily room rates due to the [medical] conference not taking place this year, and are looking forward to it returning in 2014.

“However, what has been a welcome outcome is the increase in demand for accommodation during November, which has more than accounted for filling the rooms that would otherwise have been available at this time of year.

“An increase in festive shoppers from the north of England through our Christmas activity in partnership with Virgin Trains and growth in the short-term tourism market, largely driven by major events at the SSE Hydro, have combined to produce another strong performance.”

The LJ report follows a good summer for Scotland’s hospitality sector. Monthly surveys of three- and four-star hotels by accountancy firm BDO showed Scottish cities enjoying higher average occupancy and room rates than the rest of the UK.

In September, an oil trade fair gave Aberdeen’s hoteliers a 40 per cent revenues boost.