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Flat October for Glasgow and Edinburgh hotels whilst Aberdeen hoteliers suffer deeper losses

The monthly LJ Forecaster Scottish Intercity Report, from tourism market research specialists LJ Research, tracking city centre hotel performance showed a flat trend for Scotland’s two largest cities and an accelerated decline for Aberdeen hotels in October.
Both Glasgow and Edinburgh benefitted from strong levels of demand for accommodation during the month as average hotel occupancy in each city reached an impressive 88%. The result constituted a small increase compared to last year for both cities. In particular, for Glasgow this equated to the fifth consecutive month of year-on-year occupancy growth.

Conversely, in Edinburgh the small gain in volume last month contrasted with slightly decreasing year-on-year occupancy in the previous three months. Achieving notably lower occupancy than Edinburgh and Glasgow, Aberdeen hotels sold 66% of their rooms in October compared to 77% last year (a decrease of nearly 15% and the 11th consecutive month of negative occupancy growth).  

A similar picture was evident in the three cities examining hotel rates with relatively steady trends in Glasgow and Edinburgh and a sharp reduction in Aberdeen. Average room rate (ARR) was highest in Edinburgh at £94.91 (compared to £94.98 last year) and lowest in Glasgow at £74.58 (compared to £75.18 last year). Meanwhile, in Aberdeen ARR was £74.94 which was a staggering 26% below last year’s rate of £101.02.  

Factoring in both occupancy and rate performance, hotel yield or Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), was very slightly up compared to last year in Glasgow and Edinburgh and significantly down in Aberdeen. Despite posting a relatively flat performance compared to 2014, it is worth noting that RevPAR in Glasgow in October 2015 was nearly 20% higher compared to the same period in 2013. Aberdeen, meanwhile, RevPAR was £49.18 which signalled a 37% decline in business performance compared to October 2014 (and 32% compared to October 2013).  

Analysis of forward bookings over the next three months highlighted continued sharp reductions in trade for Aberdeen hotels and evidence of similar levels of bookings in Edinburgh and Glasgow. That said, there were also signs of slightly weaker November bookings in Edinburgh and Glasgow compared to last year.  

John Donnelly, Chief Executive, Marketing Edinburgh said: “Edinburgh has consistently maintained impressively high levels of demand for accommodation throughout October, as well as the rest of the year. That we are doing this while maintaining a strongly performing room rate, at a much higher level than any other Scottish city, is a testament to the quality accommodation on offer and ongoing demand from domestic and international visitors to experience all that the city has to offer.”  

Scott Taylor, Chief Executive of Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “At 88.4%, Glasgow’s hotel occupancy was the highest in Scotland for October and marked our fifth consecutive month of year-on-year growth; reinforcing our position as the fastest growing tourism destination in the country. Our average hotel occupancy for the financial year-to-date (April through October 2015) is running at 88.9%, which represents a 0.8% increase on the same period the previous year. However, the key take home here is that there has been an additional 725 hotel rooms available in the city per night, which equates to an additional 155,000 room nights, over the past seven months and shows that demand in Glasgow continues to grow in line with the city’s increasing supply of premium hotel rooms.”  

Sean Morgan, Managing Director at LJ Research, said: “In September we saw RevPAR reductions in all three cities so it’s pleasing to see some, albeit very marginal, growth for hotels in Scotland’s two largest cities last month. In Aberdeen, RevPAR tumbled unprecedentedly below £50 which very much is an indication of the ongoing troubles in the oil and gas sector and stubbornly low crude oil prices.”

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