Posted on Thursday 2 July 2015 by Ulster Business

Resurgent hotel sector celebrations marred by weak euro

Michael Williamson, Director of Consulting, ASM Chartered Accountants is pictured with Bill Wolsey, owner, The Beannchor Group.

Northern Ireland’s hotel sector is putting in a strong performance but the weak euro is making life difficult for hostelries close to the border.

Those are the findings of the latest report from ASM Chartered Accountants which revealed that overall demand for hotel bedrooms here increased in 2014 as a result of a resurgent market in Belfast.

The city accounts for 40% of Northern Ireland’s “room stock”, according to Michael Williamson, Director of Consulting at ASM Chartered Accountants.

“We are witnessing the emergence of a two-speed hotel sector in Northern Ireland,” he said. “The Belfast market continues to perform at a very high level and to grow, while hotels located elsewhere are finding trading conditions a little more difficult than has been the case over the past few years.”

He said the weaker euro is making life difficult for hotels close to the border when it comes to attracting custom from the Republic. A weak euro makes coming to stay in Northern Ireland more expensive for people from euro-denominated regions who have to pay up for sterling-priced rooms.

Overall, the average bedroom occupancy rate in Northern Ireland’s hotels increased to 76.0%, as against 74.8% in 2013, ASM’s Annual Hotel Industry Survey showed.

It pegged the average room rate at £70.78, a 4% increase on the £68.17 recorded in the previous year.

The number of bedrooms occupied by “out-of-state” visitors was consistent with 2013 at 68.4%.  The proportion of rooms occupied by visitors from Great Britain increased to 37.3% from 29.8% in 2013, while the proportion occupied by visitors from the Republic of Ireland declined to 10.0% in 2014 and against 20.9% in 2013.

Profit for hotels across Northern Ireland increased by an average of just over 20% year on year – but this was heavily influenced by the performance of the Belfast market and is a marked contrast to Londonderry where a decline in profitability was noted. 


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