Staycation surge helps lift Scottish hotel occupancy rates during summer

Scottish hotel occupancy rates jumped in August thanks to a thriving staycation market, a regular survey has shown.

The average occupancy rate north of the Border has risen from 64 per cent on July to 71 per cent in August, according to the RSM Hotels Tracker.

The data, compiled and produced by STR and analysed by the accountancy and business services firm, shows that despite a fresh staycation boost, Scotland didn’t reach the pre-pandemic highs of 86 per cent occupancy rates seen in 2019.

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Meanwhile, the average UK occupancy rate also increased to 71 per cent in August, from 65 per cent in July.

Edinburgh's Royal Mile on the first day of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA
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The average room rate across the UK has almost recovered to pre-pandemic levels at £94, with Scotland reaching £98, up from £86 the previous month, according to RSM. In addition, revenue per available room across Scotland was £70 in August, up from just £36 in 2020, but still behind pre-pandemic levels of £93.

Stuart McCallum, RSM UK’s head of hotels and accommodation in Scotland, said: “The hotel sector is on the right track with a welcome staycation boost driving occupancy levels up again.

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“Scotland saw marked improvement but without international travel and the [Edinburgh] festival boost over August, occupancy rates fell short of pre-pandemic levels.

“Staff shortages continue to impact the sector which is starting to push up wage costs – applying acute financial pressure as the sector looks to recover post-Covid.

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“Looking forward, travel restrictions for the double jabbed and the re-opening of travel corridors to the US will hopefully fuel further growth.”

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