Hotel occupancy down during Commonwealth Games

Edinburgh judo star Euan Burton celebrates his Commonwealth Games success. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
Edinburgh judo star Euan Burton celebrates his Commonwealth Games success. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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HOTEL occupancy in the Capital fell by almost five per cent during this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, according to new figures.

Despite the thousands of visitors who poured into Glasgow for the 11-day sporting spectacular, Edinburgh hotels appear not to have benefited from a spillover of demand for accommodation.

The survey by accountant and business adviser BDO LLP found that occupancy rates in three and four-star hotels in Glasgow increased by four per cent in July compared with the previous year, while in Edinburgh they dropped by 4.8 per cent to 88 per cent.

Hotel revenue soared by 73.3 per cent in Glasgow, but in Edinburgh it dipped by 1.5 per cent.

However, the revenue figure for the Capital – an average £81.86 per room – was still the highest in Scotland and second highest in the UK outside London.

Before the Games, it was forecast that hoteliers and other businesses in the Capital were set to cash in on a bumper tourist season from the event.

But a BDO spokesman suggested some tourists who would normally have come to Edinburgh may have gone to Glasgow instead, or at least spent less time in the Capital.

He said occupancy rates for Inverness in July were down even more, by 6.3 per cent.

“People only have a finite amount of money to spend,” he said.

He stressed that occupancy and revenue did fluctuate over the years and overall Edinburgh was one of the top performing cities in the UK.

“Edinburgh has still got the second highest revenue rates outside London. I don’t see that’s a negative at all.”

Colin Paton, chairman of the Edinburgh Hotels Association, said the Glasgow area had benefited because almost all the Games events were in the west of Scotland.

He said: “There may be some people who thought rates were going to be higher in Scotland in that period so they didn’t come.

“It may be it’s the same as happened during the London Olympics in 2012, when things were quieter in Scotland and people were frightened to come to the UK unless they were going to the Olympics because they thought it would be too busy and too expensive.”

He said it was also possible some hotels had pitched their prices above what people were prepared to pay. “It could be some of the hotels didn’t understand the market and got the rates wrong.”

Figures from international hotel data provider STR Global confirmed a slight dip in Edinburgh’s occupancy rates in July, from 91.7 to 90.6 per cent.

But John Donnelly, chief executive of Marketing Edinburgh, said: “Edinburgh’s hotels saw a very positive July. Major events, such as the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival attracted a wide audience to the city and in turn contributed to encouraging occupancy figures.

“The accommodation in Edinburgh remains an attractive factor, with a number of recently opened hotels and more planned to launch. We are confident that Edinburgh has a strong offering for visitors coming to the city.”