Last Thursday, HOSPA hosted HOSPACE 2013, their 6th annual conference at the Sofitel Heathrow. This has been the biggest conference yet, with over 400 delegates from varying disciplines across the hospitality industry. The event was an opportunity to meet liked minded people, listen to some very interesting views from Industry experts and gain a real insight into the key issues affecting the sector. What made it even more fascinating was the breadth of differing opinions within the panels, each backed with their own personal experiences and some great stories.
So what were the main messages from the conference?
The conference opened with Industry overview by PWC and STR Global. Research shows there are clear signs of recovery and the industry is experiencing positive growth, with UK and Ireland experiencing highest occupancy levels compared to the rest of Europe (above 70%). In the UK, as expected, London has the greatest occupancy levels, followed closely by Heathrow, but what is surprising is that Nottingham had the lowest occupancy levels, even less than Liverpool. Scotland has experienced the highest year on year growth at 9.8%. This growth is evident across the board from budget to luxury hotels.
And what does the future look like? With international travel volumes increasing, all inbound to the UK, it is no surprise that UK has the highest pipeline, followed by Germany and Russia. The supply is expected to become more crowded, with 20,000 new rooms to be available in 2014, but despite this additional supply, occupancy levels are expected to remain high, with 82% forecasted for London and 71% for the Regions.