Business Diary: September 4

IF you thought you had a dire summer, spare a thought for Yorkshire’s poor hoteliers.

In blistering heat, hotels in tourism hotspots can look forward to brisk trade.

Sadly, July’s terrible weather caused plenty of headaches for people working in the leisure sector.

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Unsurprisingly, hotels across Yorkshire struggled to match their 2011 results, according to figures that were released yesterday by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services.

Average occupancy rates were down across the region, with Sheffield reporting 11.3 per cent fewer customers, compared with July last year. Harrogate’s hotels fared little better, recording a 10.5 per cent drop in occupancy rates.

York hoteliers must also have been rather glum, because they faced a 
7.7 per cent fall in occupancy 

Paul Clarke, a partner at PKF, said yesterday: “Hotels have had a lot to contend with this summer with the continuing economic gloom and unfavourable weather conditions. However it’s not all bad news – while the occupancy rate remains under pressure, operators are able to manage room rates to soften the impact on yields.”

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Even so, Diary imagines that our hoteliers will be hoping that next summer is a scorcher.

Charity sleepout

A FINANCE director is swapping a warm bed for the streets of Leeds for a night to raise money for charity.

Rachel Illsley, of Yorkshire-based town planning, urbanism and architectural consultancy, Spawforths, is to sleep rough in the city centre on September 13 to raise funds for Spawforths’ nominated charity Simon on the Streets. She will be taking part in its sponsored sleep out.

She said: “Although I am naturally adventurous, I am quite nervous about this experience, particularly as I am very much used to the comfort of my own bed, the security my own home and having access to a myriad of electronic gadgets to keep me company.

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“What I’ll be experiencing will be such a small insight into a different world, and by morning, aching and tired, I imagine I’ll be very ready to get back to my own bed, but also in awe of the great work that Simon on the Streets do every single night.”

Simon on the Streets supports people who are often homeless or at risk of becoming homeless; who can have behavioural and mental health issues; or who can be struggling with an addiction. To sponsor Rachel visit:

Health data ‘campus’

MEDICAL software firm Emis Group is on a rapid growth trajectory in Yorkshire.

So much so that its Singapore-born, Lincolnshire and Bradford-educated chief executive Sean Riddell says he’s “becoming a bit of an honorary Yorkshireman”.

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The Leeds-based firm, which links GPs with other medical professionals, allowing them to share patients’ cradle-to-grave records, has been adding sites in north Leeds to create a healthcare technology “campus” in the city.

But Emis keeps the location of its two data centres under wraps.

After all, they store the medical records of millions of patients.

Mr Riddell will only describe them as “in and around Yorkshire”.

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“We call them London and New York,” he said. “We’ve someone with a lively imagination in our company.”

It’s nice up North

LIVING and working in God’s Own County, Yorkshire folk become accustomed to the quality of life offered by the beautiful countryside and city life.

Therefore, it is always nice to hear from incomers, particularly those from the South East.

One of those is David Hurcomb, chief executive of NG Bailey.

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The former Carillion director moved from Dorking in Surrey to a village 
near Harrogate after being appointed to the top job at the family-owned mechanical and electrical engineering giant.

He told Diary: “Quality of life is just great. Much less traffic and congestion and people are very friendly. We are loving it.”

It probably helps when your 
office is at Denton Hall, one of 
the finest country houses of Wharfedale.

The Estate at Denton dates back to at least 1253 when it was owned by a chap called Athelstan.

It was later owned by the 
Fairfax family, who included a 
true revolutionary, Sir Thomas 
Fairfax, who rose to become general of the Parliamentary army during the English Civil War.