Perhaps at least partially due to a strengthening U.S. dollar driving international travel, Europe is seeing improvement in its hotel occupancy and average rates. Demand throughout the continent is returning "to pre-recession levels," according to the latest EMEA Hotels Monitor report from Whitebridge Hospitality reported in UK business-travel website MeetPie.
The United Kingdom in particular seems to be seeing some very strong numbers. The report, created with property consultant Rider Levett Bucknall and research agency STR Global, noted that in London, average daily rates increased from £119 in 2013 to £130 last year, with occupancy up 0.5 percent to 83 percent. In Edinburgh, ADR improved by 12.5 percent to £80 in 2014, with occupancy also up marginally on 2013’s figures, by 0.7 points to 80.5 percent.
In a different study in another MeetPie article, hotel solutions provider HRS (which analyzed bookings made via its portal) noted that hotels in Leeds recorded the highest price rise in the UK and Ireland in 2014, with an average increase of 22 percent—likely due to the Tour de France, which set off from Yorkshire last summer, the story notes.
London’s hotels followed closely behind Leeds, with rates rising by 16 percent, with Birmingham posting a 15 percent hike. But in (slight) contrast to the Whitebridge study, HRS reported London's average room rates as £126 per night, and Edinburgh's at £99. Bristol followed at £87.
Although Birmingham saw a major increase in rates, the study showed the least expensive hotel room rate in the UK could be found in the Midlands city (£72), followed by Liverpool at £74, up 9 percent from 2013.
Jon West, MD of HRS UK & Ireland, said that while the numbers were positive for hoteliers who want to charge more for their rooms, the news was less positive for travelers seeking value. “In fact, as rates continue to increase in the UK and Ireland, and fluctuate globally, we really would urge travel and procurement managers to review the effectiveness of their travel programs on a regular basis to ensure they’re getting the best rates possible to make substantial savings for the long-term."
Looking at 2015, STR Global’s preliminary January 2015 data for London indicates positive hotel performance.
Based on daily data from January, London reported:
- increases in supply (+3.4 percent) and demand (+5.3 percent);
- a 1.8-percent increase in occupancy to 69.4 percent;
- a 2.5-percent increase in average daily rate to £124.33; and
- a 4.3-percent increase in revenue per available room to £86.25.
“London had a great start to the new year, continuing to grow RevPAR for the 17th consecutive month, achieving the highest levels in this measure since 1993, when STR Global started collecting performance data for the British capital,” Elizabeth Winkle, managing director of STR Global, said in a statement. “Rate growth remained strong for January, driving overall hotel performance, while occupancy grew by 1.8 percent, as demand outpaced supply growth for the third month in a row.”