Hotels in Edinburgh suffered a year-on-year tumble in occupancy and room rates in March, but their counterparts in Aberdeen and Glasgow managed to push up revenues sharply, a survey from accountancy firm PKF has revealed.
Edinburgh's troubles played a big part in Scotland having a poorer hotel occupancy rate than Wales, as well as England, in March.
Alastair Rae, a partner in PKF's real estate and hospitality sector, urged Edinburgh City Council not to introduce the mooted "bed tax", declaring the sector "remains fragile and is prone to performance fluctuations and rising costs".
He said: "A further charge on tourism in Edinburgh is at best ill-considered, and at worst potentially harmful to the future of the sector. A tax on an empty room will not raise much revenue."
Scottish hotels recorded overall occupancy – measured as the ratio of occupied rooms to the total available – of 66.6% in March, down from 66.7% in the same month last year. In Wales, occupancy stood at 70.6% in March, up from 65.7% a year earlier. English hotels had occupancy of 68.5%, up from 67.6% in March 2011.
In Edinburgh, occupancy of 66.4% in March was down from 69.1% a year earlier. In terms of hotel rooms yield – which is occupancy multiplied by average room rate – Glasgow's figure of £45.99 in March was up from £43.98 a year earlier. Aberdeen was £58.74, up from £54.67 in March 2011. But Edinburgh's room yield in March was only £43.66, down from £47.93 a year earlier.