It won't surprise anyone that hotel occupancy rates have sunk to 28.8% this year, according to PWC, and as reported in City AM today. When budget giant Premier Inn's parent Whitbread announces a 76.9% revenue drop and Travelodge, the number two budget hotel for market share, is in the middle of a CVA, you know it is dire out there for the sector.
Hotels report by way of RevPAR - revenue per available room - and the shorthand is that there are a heck of a lot of rooms available and not a lot of revenue coming in.
I have worked in the hotel real estate sector for 20 years and wanted to do something about the gloomy news, however small. I also love London, the best city on earth for me. So an ultra mini break (i.e. one nighter) in London for half term it was.
You and yours can hop on an empty train into London and enjoy most of what the capital has to offer and play a part in its revival. Yes, London is in tier 2, but as long as you stay within your family bubble and start early, it's like 2019 out there.
We stayed in a small boutique hotel in the City (Vintry and Mercer). It was £200 cheaper than our favourite hotel in Shoreditch so we shared the love and booked into Jason Atherton's City Social at Tower 42 to spend the savings and savour the jaw dropping night views of London. I would like to tell you we went to the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Tate and soaked up some culture but we walked right past and headed to Borough Market, where we travelled the world without fear of quarantine via the food stalls. Falafel, ramen, salt beef rolls and katsu, washed down with a London pale ale (adults only) before heading to Spitalfields for donuts.
It felt great, like life pre-pandemic. If you are wondering what to do with your urchins this week, opt for a RevPAR boosting staycation and play a part in saving our wonderful hospitality and leisure industry.
Research by accountancy giant PwC showed that hotel occupancy rates are forecast to be 55 per cent across the UK and could take four years to recover to pre-pandemic levels.