Despite difficult trading conditions and disappointing weather, Cornish hotels are reporting a 2.8% increase in occupancy levels this year, thanks in part to a surge of late bookings in September.
That’s according to new figures from the Truro office of chartered accountant Francis Clark, which has been surveying Cornwall’s hotel sector every month for more than 20 years.
The firm’s tourism and leisure partner Tom Roach said the first quarter of the year started well, and May occupancies were well up for the first time in a number of years, but June was a damp squib.
He explained: “With the extra Jubilee Bank Holiday there were high hopes for June but the weather conspired against us and numbers remained broadly flat, which was disappointing.
“But while many businesses reported difficult trading conditions over the summer months, July and August occupancies were up by between 1% and 2%. This was encouraging considering the Olympics effect which mean secondary spend was generally lower as people stayed in to watch to television, and the weather either side of the Olympics fortnight was very poor.
“However, the real surprise was September which has been the most improved trading month of the year so far, and shows just how far Cornwall has come in extending the traditional holiday season. Numbers will have been boosted by something of an Indian summer and a post-Olympics bounce, and we are seeing more evidence of people choosing to visit off-peak when things are less busy.”
Roach added: “Of course occupancy isn’t the whole picture because much depends on yield and what people spend, but that seems to have held up reasonably well so far, especially for the hotels that continue to invest and enhance their offer.”
The Francis Clark monthly hotel survey covers 25 of Cornwall’s key hotels of different sizes and markets which between them offer more than 600,000 bed nights a year.