Cold comfort for hotels as winter makes an impact

THE heavy snow made it a bleak midwinter for some Yorkshire hoteliers, according to figures published yesterday.

Hotels in Leeds, York and Sheffield have performed in line with the rest of the UK in the first quarter of 2010, with revenue per available room (revPAR) in all three cities close to the regional average of 35, a fall of 1 per cent.

The latest figures from the business advisory firm, Deloitte, show that although hotels in Leeds saw a 9 per cent fall, to 33, and those in York fell by almost 3 per cent, to 41, Sheffield, which had fared particularly badly last year, underwent a recovery with a 5.3 per cent rise, to 30.

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Occupancy in all three cities was close to the regional average of 60 per cent (Leeds 61 per cent; York 65 per cent; Sheffield 60 per cent).

Martin Jenkins, hospitality partner in the Leeds office of Deloitte, said: "The start of 2010 has seen hoteliers in London build upon the growth reported in the final quarter of 2009.

"In just three months, though, revPAR growth in the capital has more than doubled compared to Q4 (quarter four) 2009 results, and re-confirms that London hoteliers are on a fast track to recovery.

"In contrast, hoteliers in the regions appear to be continuing to struggle, with hotels across the UK posting a 1 per cent decline in revPAR during the first quarter of this year.

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"This largely reflects a snowbound January, as both February and March have seen revPAR gains.

"The effect of Easter being a week earlier this year also affected performance, as the drop in business travel reduced revPAR in the last week of the first quarter.

"This may have just been enough to turn what would have been a positive first quarter result, into a negative one."

Mr Jenkins said: "It is reassuring to see that hotels in all

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three Yorkshire cities have performed in line with the rest of the country.

"Hoteliers across the UK will be happy to hear that occupancy is now back in positive territory, signalling the start of recovery in the regions which I expect to see confirmed in the second quarter, which should also see the positive impact on room rate and occupancy of the six-day closure of UK airspace due to volcanic ash.

"However, there is still some way to go before average room rates will post consistent growth and this may not happen until the second half of this year."