Revenue figures for the hotel sector out last month for 2013 show healthy signs of picking up. The Scotsman reported recently that “…Scottish hotel occupancy last year averaged 75.5%, compared with 72.5% in regional UK and just under 72% in England.”
Figures so far for 2014 are suggesting that upward trend continues, due in no small part to events like the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and The Ryder Cup - as well as the forthcoming BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards. These major events have helped to spur an optimism in the market.
Edinburgh is second only to London due to its festival, visitor attractions and financial sector in terms of demand for corporate bookings, with Aberdeen ranking third, thanks primarily to high demand from the oil and gas industry.
Accommodation sector investment
Meanwhile the investment in the hotel sector is also growing, with signs of investment in property outside of London and the South East. For example, the old Robert Gordon University building in Aberdeen was recently bought for a 120 room hotel development earlier this year.
And the long anticipated opening of the spectacular Malmaison Hotel and Dundee’s £1billion planned waterfront development has invigorated investment in the city. The knock-on effect is that major brands are considering cities other than Edinburgh and Glasgow as places to establish new business.
We have also been witnessing a major shift in popularity towards lifestyle and boutique hotels and serviced apartments. Britain is following London’s lead, which has seen significant growth in this sector.
This is good news for diversification in the hotel marketplace and opens the door for new, small businesses to start up and establish themselves in an increasingly crowded market.
Accommodation is no longer seen as simply a place to lay your head. It’s now an important and integral part of the visitor experience, a place to relax, unwind and enjoy. To stand out in the market, it’s clear you need to make your service offering unique. For instance, great design plays a huge part in the boutique hotel experience and makes the difference between a place to sleep and a memorable trip.
The rise of the serviced apartment
According to the HVS and Serviced Apartment News report on the serviced apartment sector, there is a recognised need for a charter to standardise classification of quality across the emerging serviced apartment industry.
This would bring it into line with much more established services like hotel accommodation, which has long had recognised quality benchmarking categorisation standards. Standardisation was one of the hot topics discussed at this year's Serviced Apartment Summit in London.
Revenue per available room (RevPAR) has increased across all of the main Scottish cities, and this trend continues to rise. “Serviced apartments in the UK over the last three years averaged £120 RevPAR, with average occupancy of 79%”. (Visit Service Apartment News for full details)
What investment means for Scottish businesses
For indigenous businesses in Scotland all this brings both good tidings and the associated challenges of a more competitive market. Providers need to work harder to carve out a unique service, keep up to date with the latest trends and technologies and keep abreast of market opportunities. A willingness to understand and adapt to new market demands is critical to keeping afloat.
Read the full article: ‘Scotland’s hotel occupancy rates higher than UK’
Serviced Apartment News
VisitScotland's latest data on accommodation in Scotland
VisitScotland’s Serviced Apartments Quality Criteria