Thousands more beds

Flood of new rooms cuts the cost of booking a city hotel

Hampton by Hilton opened at Edinburgh Airport (pic: Terry Murden)

Booking a hotel room in Edinburgh and Glasgow is getting cheaper as both cities add thousands of rooms to cope with a surge in visitors.

New hotel openings flooded the two cities with 2,000 extra rooms last year which led to a fall in occupancy levels and the average daily rates slipping in both cities.

As a result Edinburgh lost its long-held position as the most expensive city in the UK to spend the night outside of London.

With a 2% fall in average daily rate, to £91.63, Edinburgh was overtaken by Brighton, which increased to £92.34. London remains out on its own with an average daily rate of £146.15.

Almost 5,000 more rooms will be provided across Scotland by the end of the decade, of which 1,655 are scheduled for Glasgow, 2,400 for Edinburgh and a further 600 for Aberdeen in 2019 and 2020.

PwC’s Hotels Forecast 2019-2020 says an additional 1,000 rooms in Edinburgh last year took the total to around 15,000. This led to a 2.3% fall in RevPAR (revenue per available room), to £71.52 – though this is still comfortably ahead of the £68.32 UK average for the period between June 2018 and June 2019.

The openings led room availability in Edinburgh to increase by 5.5%, illustrating an appetite from hoteliers and investors in spite of the increased competition from serviced apartments and short-term let properties.

New openings include the Market Street Hotel in the New Town, and the Hampton by Hilton and Moxy, both at Edinburgh Airport. A 72-room Malmaison in St Andrew Square is among those due to open.

Edinburgh hoteliers face further pressure from the Scottish Government’s proposed tourist tax which could add 2% or £2 to the cost per night of staying in the capital. The measure has the support of local councillors but still requires legislation from the Scottish Parliament, which is not expected until 2020.

In Glasgow, RevPAR was down 8.5% to £52.57 having grown by 8.2% in the previous 12 month period. The number of rooms grew to almost 12,000 as a result of just under 1,000 additional rooms being made available.

Openings are expected from Safestay; Manor Property Group has plans to turn a former retail site on Sauchiehall Street; while Yotel is planning a 256-room hotel. Work is under way on a 290-room venue operated by French hotel and resort company Accor near the River Clyde, while further developments are under way on the site of the Scottish Events Campus.

In Aberdeen, the continued recovery from the slowdown in the oil and gas industry can be seen in the 1.4 percentage point increase in occupancy rates to 64.5%. However, RevPAR fell by 2.1% as a result of the average daily rate sliding to £55.26 from £56.43.

The number of rooms available in Aberdeen is on the increase though, with more than 100 new rooms available compared with July 2018.

The most high profile opening in the city was the Sandman Signature while Hilton opened a 200-room hotel on the site of the new events and conference centre.

Claire Reid, regional leader of PwC Scotland, said: “Looking ahead to next year, Glasgow being one of the host cities of UEFA Euro 2020, will be one of the major draws, while the likes of TRNSMT and, of course, the Edinburgh festivals will ensure Scotland remains a popular destination.”

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