Business travel up despite Brexit concerns

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UK regional capitals are performing strongly in terms of business travel, with overall room nights booked growing by 8% across the top 250 UK cities.

The findings, commissioned by independent travel agent Advantage Travel Partnership and travel management company (TMC) are part of the 2018 Hotels Market Report. 

London continues to be business travellers’ favourite capital for work trips with 663,000 room nights booked in 2018, an increase of 5 per cent when compared to 2017. But Edinburgh experienced the highest level of growth in 2018 with room nights booked increasing by 16 per cent, Belfast was up 13 per cent and Cardiff up 5 per cent. 

The 2018 Hotels Market Report analyses data from corporate hotel bookings made between January and December 2018 by Advantage’s TMC members, who represent around 40 per cent of the UK business travel sector, highlighting business travel trends and booking behaviour.

The report also shows significant growth for cities in the Midlands and North East, with Derby seeing the highest growth with 31 per cent more booked room nights compared to 2017, while York, Nottingham and Gateshead also saw double-digit percentage increases.

Top Ten UK Cities – Booked Room Night Percentage Increase (year-on-year), January – December 2018: 

  1. Derby – 31 per cent 
  2. York – 22 per cent
  3. Plymouth – 21 per cent
  4. Inverness – 20 per cent
  5. Nottingham – 18 per cent
  6. Edinburgh – 16 per cent
  7. Reading – 15 per cent
  8. Belfast – 13 per cent 
  9. Norwich – 11 per cent
  10. Gateshead – 10 per cent

Global Results

The business world continues to travel widely, with the 2018 Hotels Report recording that hotel demand remains strong in many international cities with New York, Auckland, Wellington, Houston, Paris and Sydney topping the Advantage Top Cities list. In total, worldwide volume grew by over 393,000 room nights, a total increase of 8.74 per cent compared to 2017, indicating that SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) corporate accounts, in which Advantage TMCs specialise, continue to perform strongly.

The total number of bookings made by Advantage business travel members in 2018 saw similar growth – up 8.76 per cent – while the average length of stay remained constant, at 1.87 nights. Increased demand and higher occupancy globally meant hotel rates have increased by US$2 to an average daily rate (ADR) of US$169.41.

The report also looks at trends on bookings and ADR for cities and locations around the world, with New York once again topping the list as the highest volume worldwide city outside the UK, with 90,799 room nights booked at an average rate of US$395.97 per night. Increases were also seen in Bangalore (up 54 per cent), Kuala Lumpur (up 36 per cent) and Boston (up 27 per cent).

Neil Armorgie, Global Product Director at Advantage, said: “It is clear that the corporate hotel sector continues to grow, with another significant increase in bookings year-on-year, made by independent TMCs. Despite continued uncertainty in both the global and UK economies including Brexit, hotel room night demand is at record levels in many destinations, providing a welcome boost for our members.

“Although not all destinations in Britain saw an increase in room nights booked, ADR remained strong. It is also positive to see particularly good performance in both major cities and regions such as the East Midlands and North East.”

The report is representative of hotel bookings made across most of the major international and independent hotel groups including: Accor, Apex Hotels, Choice Hotels, Citadines, Clayton Hotels, Design Hotels, The Doyle Collection, Edwardian Hotels, glh Hotels, Hallmark Hotels, Hilton, HotelREZ, Hyatt, House of Daniel Thwaites, IHG, Jurys Inn & Leonardo Hotels, Loews Hotels, Macdonald Hotels, Maldron Hotels, Melia Hotels International, Millennium Hotels & Resorts, The Montcalm Hotels, NH Hotels, O’Callaghan Collection, Omni, Park Plaza, Pegasus, QHotels, Quest, Rotana, Radisson Hotel Group, Sabre Hospitality, Small Luxury Hotels, TravelClick, Travelodge, Village Hotels Club, WorldHotels Collection and Wyndham Hotel Group.

The full report is available to read here.

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    Katy Phillips


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