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Eighties music event and oil and gas sector boost hotels in cities cities

HOTELS in Inverness, Aberdeen and Edinburgh enjoyed strong year-on-year growth in revenues in November, a survey has revealed.

EVENTS: Tourism in Inverness was boosted by the Biggest '80s Party Ever and the Scotland's Towns conference in November. PIcture: Colin Mearns
EVENTS: Tourism in Inverness was boosted by the Biggest '80s Party Ever and the Scotland's Towns conference in November. PIcture: Colin Mearns

The latest survey of the hotel sector from accountancy firm BDO, published yesterday, showed revenues of Glasgow hotels in November were, overall, lower than in the same month of 2012.

Inverness hotels, overall, achieved a 29.2% year-on-year rise in revenue per available room to £37.10. Revenue per available room, or rooms yield, is calculated by multiplying occupancy by the average room rate achieved.

BDO, which surveys a broad range of three and four-star properties, noted this year-on-year surge in revenue had been achieved from a low base.

Alastair Rae, a BDO partner who specialises in the property, leisure and hospitality sector, attributed this boost to revenues in Inverness partly to the staging in November of the Biggest '80s Party Ever, which featured Rick Astley, and the Scotland's Towns conference.

Occupancy in Inverness hotels in November was 62.1%, up from 58.9% in the same month of 2012.

Aberdeen, once again, had the highest rooms yield figure in the UK outside London. And BDO noted the Aberdeen hotel sector's overall rooms yield figure in November was better than that for tourist hotels in London.

Revenue per available room in the Aberdeen hotel sector in November, at £78.83, was up 17.8% on the same month of 2012. This rise was achieved even though occupancy, at a still-high 81.2% in November, was down slightly from 82.1% in November 2012.

BDO highlighted the continuing strength of the North Sea oil and gas sector as the key reason for another impressive showing by hotels in Aberdeen.

Mr Rae said: "Aberdeen continues to operate in something of a bubble compared to the rest of the UK as the oil sector boosts hotel business. An indication that this boom in Aberdeen is business rather than leisure-oriented can be seen by the level of revenue.

"During November, the Aberdeen revenue was higher than the revenue for all tourist hotels in London and was considerably higher than any other part of the UK which, naturally, tends to dip in tourism income during November."

He noted Aberdeen did have "some leisure-based revenue" in November, from Stereophonics' concert in the Granite City.

In Edinburgh, revenue per available room in November was, at £55.75, up 9.5% on the same month of 2012.

Occupancy in Edinburgh hotels showed a sharp year-on-year rise in November, coming in at 73.6%. In November 2012, it was 69.5%.

Citing a festive boost for Edinburgh, Mr Rae said: "In Edinburgh it was, perhaps, simply business as usual, with the Scottish capital retaining high occupancy and revenue as...its Christmas festivities began at the end of November."

In Glasgow, occupancy in November came in at 81.1%. This was marginally ahead of a figure of 81% for November 2012.

However, BDO noted occupancy had been maintained with a drop in room rates. Revenue per available room in the hotel sector in Glasgow in November, at £51.41, was down from a figure of £55.45 for the same month of 2012.

Mr Rae said: "Glasgow sacrificed some revenue to maintain occupancy during the month, as revenue dipped 7.3%."

Revenue per available room in the Scottish hotel sector in November was up by 6.2% year-on-year at £52.73. This was ahead of respective rooms yield figures of £43.91 and £39.85 for England and Wales.

Mr Rae said of the Scottish hotel sector: "There are continued signs that the hospitality sector is improving, in line with the increasing optimism in the wider economy."

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