South West Hotel Bookings Hit By Credit Crunch


Soaring energy costs and reduced bookings are hitting employment plans but hoteliers are backing local food and eco-tourism

More than a third of South West hotels (40%) have seen a reduction in forward bookings, including a 32% reduction in overseas bookings.

The “credit crunch” and fears about employment are seen as the biggest reason for decline in overseas booking by almost half (42%) of South West hotels.

More than a fifth (22%), though, have seen an increase in forward bookings from UK guests.

These are among the top-line findings of the latest survey of South West hotels, conducted by the Hotels & Tourism specialists at Bishop Fleming, the accountancy firm with the widest spread of offices throughout the region.

More than a third of South West hotels (42%) cite the “credit crunch” as the biggest factor affecting overseas bookings, with more than 54% saying that the credit crunch is also the biggest influence for UK bookings.

Just over a quarter of the respondents said that the lack of effective promotion abroad of the South West is the major reason for a decline in overseas tourists to the region.

According to Will Hanbury, head of Bishop Fleming’s Hotel & Tourism group: “Despite the impact of cheap flights, boosting the choice of holidays and short-breaks overseas, the ‘credit crunch’ and a recent rise in the euro-value have encouraged more people to decide on a UK holiday location”.

Nonetheless, reduced bookings are prompting almost a third of South West hotels (32%) to cut their staff numbers. The great majority (80%), meanwhile, continue their reliance on non-British workers.

Meanwhile, soaring energy costs are having a big impact on the region’s hotels and tourism businesses.

More than two thirds (68%) confirm that rising energy costs are having a major effect on their margins, at a time when they cannot increase their charges.

“This is a crucial issue for the hotels and tourism sector, just as it is for every business”, said Bishop Fleming’s Will Hanbury.

“It was very surprising, therefore, to discover that only 7% of the region’s hotels and tourism businesses are exploiting the 100% tax-allowance on energy-saving equipment investment”, he added.

But South West hotels are actively embracing the move to promote locally-sourced food and eco-tourism.

Almost half (48%) confirm that they now have a strict policy of sourcing local produce, while more than four fifths (87%) say that they now promote their eco-advantages.

“Promoting the region’s superb local food credentials, and offering a choice of low-carbon holidays in the South West, combined with its natural beauty, must surely be important components for the region’s future tourism strategy”, said Bishop Fleming’s Will Hanbury.

If you found this story interesting please press the button below to bookmark using one of the many social bookmarking sites. If you would like to keep up to date with news as it happens, why not subscribe to our RSS feed at the top of the right hand column?
Bookmark and Share


Comments are closed.