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UK Hotels’ Profit Shrink a Continuance of 2019

UK hotels got off to a rough 2020 start, registering a year-over-year drop in profit, which, to the dismay of hotel owners and operators, was illustrative of 2019, as well. For full-year 2019, UK hotels recorded a 0.2% decline in GOPPAR over the year prior.

GOPPAR decreased 2.4% YOY in January, as hoteliers in the UK were unable to dispel the profit-per-room contraction trend that dominated most of 2019. The “wait and see” attitude in travelers from Mainland Europe, coupled with the increased competition brought about by the expansion of the hotel room supply in the market, are two of the main factors behind these results.

Occupancy in January remained at 64.8%, exactly the same as the same time a year prior. Hoteliers in the UK managed to command higher rates, though, and average room rate recorded a 1.5% uptick that drove the 1.4% YOY climb in RevPAR. Non-rooms revenue per available room was also slightly up, by 0.5%, mainly due to a 0.3% YOY increment in the F&B department. In all, TRevPAR recorded a 1.1% increase compared to January 2019.

However, labour costs exhibited a higher growth rate than revenue, thus eroding flow through. Led by payroll increases in Rooms (up 3.6% YOY) and F&B (up 3.8% YOY), total labour costs expanded by 2.7%. Overheads, on the other hand, recorded a more moderate increase, by 0.8%, including a 4.5% decrease in utility expenses. As a result, profit conversion in the UK was recorded at 24.1% of total revenue, a 0.8-percentage-point drop from the previous year.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – Total UK (in GBP)

KPI January 2020 v. January 2019
RevPAR +1.4% to ₤68.66
TRevPAR +1.1% to ₤103.98
Payroll +2.7% to ₤36.97
GOPPAR -2.4% to ₤25.01

Conversely, hoteliers in Newcastle proved themselves as flex masters in January, showing that hotel management goes well beyond revenue generation. Not only did they achieve 18.6% YOY profit per-available-room growth, but they did so despite a sharp contraction in the top-line metrics.

With decreases in both occupancy (down 2.8 percentage points YOY) and average rate (down 1.0% YOY), RevPAR slumped by 5.2% compared to January 2019. Other departments shared in this downward trend. In F&B, revenue per available room was slashed by 10.2% YOY, leading the 8.6% YOY fall in non-rooms revenue. TRevPAR plummeted as a result, placing 6.2% below the previous year.

Nonetheless, Newcastle hoteliers were able to flex costs across all operated and undistributed departments in order to enhance their profitability. Of note, rooms and F&B labour costs were cut YOY by 7.3% and 5.9%, respectively, fueling the 10.4% YOY reduction in total labour costs. Furthermore, an 11.6% reduction in utility expenses contributed to achieving the 11.3% downswing in total overheads. Thus, profit conversion in Newcastle was recorded at 19.7% of total revenue, a 4.2-percentage-point increase from January 2019.

Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – Newcastle (in GBP)

KPI January 2020 v. January 2019
RevPAR -5.2% to ₤37.71
TRevPAR -6.2% to ₤53.88
Payroll -10.4% to ₤17.56
GOPPAR +18.6% to ₤10.59

Glasgow has experienced fast-paced growth in hotel room supply over the past years. This heightened competition took a toll on occupancy and average rate, which, combined with increasing expenses, has negatively impacted profitability. Specifically, in January, the Scottish city recorded a 12.5% reduction in profit per available room compared to the same month of the previous year, marking the second consecutive double-digit contraction in this metric.

Occupancy achieved a small increase of 0.3 percentage points YOY in the month, at the expense of a 1.8% YOY slump in average rate. As a consequence, RevPAR placed 1.3% below the same month of the previous year. Nevertheless, hoteliers in Glasgow were able to capture a greater portion of their guests’ expenditures through other departments. Thus, non-rooms revenue climbed by 1.6% YOY, particularly through a 1.8% increase in F&B revenue per available room. This helped compensate the Rooms department’s receding top-line, leading to a narrow 0.2% downtick in TRevPAR.

Even though the change in total revenue was relatively small, expenditures exhibited a greater fluctuation, further eroding profits. Increased payroll in Rooms (up 1.9% YOY) and F&B (up 3.1% YOY) led the 2.5% interannual expansion of total labour costs. Furthermore, overheads also rose by 1.3% YOY. At 10.2%, profit conversion of total revenue in Glasgow was 1.4 percentage points lower than that of January 2019.

 Profit & Loss Performance Indicators – Glasgow (in GBP)

KPI January 2020 v. January 2019
RevPAR -1.3% to ₤42.57
TRevPAR -0.2% to ₤70.16
Payroll +2.5% to ₤28.17
GOPPAR -12.5% to ₤7.12

*Profit Matters: European Annual Hotel Performance Tracker 2020 is now ready for download. The report covers:

  • Revenue, expense and profit analysis across five major cities: London, Madrid, Paris, Edinburgh and Istanbul
  • 2019 vs. 2018 TRevPAR and GOPPAR year-over-year comparison
  • Revenue contribution and expense analysis by department
  • What’s in store for 2020

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