Belfast hotels top UK performance survey ahead of growth concerns next year

Belfast looking cool
Belfast looking cool

Belfast hotels are amongst the UK's best performing, a survey showed.

The city's rate of increase in occupancy, average daily rate and revenue per room topped the leaderboard this year, according to consultancy group PwC.

However, its report warned a mixture of decelerating economic growth, a potential slowdown of inbound tourism and a large increase in new hotel rooms, could slow growth next year.

PwC Northern Ireland partner Martin Cowie, said: "The weakness of sterling encouraged record numbers of international leisure tourists to visit London and UK regional cities in 2017.

"The terror attacks in London and Manchester appear to have had limited impact on visitor levels, meaning hotels have performed strongly so far this year.

"However, the weak pound doesn't appear to have boosted international business travel to the UK, reflecting corporate uncertainty around Brexit, and this has to be something of a worry."

Next year, hotels are facing a number of challenges which could restrain growth, he added.

"The level of sterling is attracting leisure tourists, but it is also creating a harsher environment for hoteliers as they have to contend with rising costs and squeezed margins with the weak pound pushing up the cost of imported goods.

"There are also labour issues. The Brexit vote has prompted some workers from EU countries to leave their jobs and we are seeing some hotels struggling to fill these vacancies and facing higher costs when they do so."

Belfast topped the 22 leading UK cities in the key performance measures of percentage increase in occupancy, average daily rate and revenues per available room.

In the seven months to July 2017, the city's hotels increased their average rate by 14%, significantly ahead of the UK average increase of 5%.

Belfast was also the top performer in the revenue per room measure, with local hotels boosting the average by 20% - also well ahead of UK average growth of 6%.