UK hotels had another difficult month in December, with hotels in the regions seeing a 9.4% decrease in occupancy.

According to figures from PKF Hotel Consultancy Services, room rate in the regions dropped from £73.20 in 2007 to £71.42 in 2008.

In London, occupancy held up better seeing just a 1.2% decrease on the same period last year. However, prices fell from £139.33 in 2007 to £138.03.

Even Liverpool, which has benefitted from being European Capital of Culture 2008, had a disappointing December recording a loss in room yield of 14.5%.  

PKF partner Robert Barnard said:  “The decreases experienced by hoteliers this month are not surprising considering the current climate. While in recent years UK families may have chosen to take a break over the Christmas period by staying in a hotel, or families from overseas many have chosen to travel to the UK for a holiday, this year most will have opted to stay at home and save money ahead of what is expected to be a difficult 2009.

“Business travel always drops off in December, but this year it would have been further diminished as companies try to cut costs.

 “Looking forward into 2009, the weak pound may help bring some tourists back to the UK and therefore into hotels, but on the whole, it will be a more testing year for hoteliers than the last few and they should be continuing to prepare themselves for a downturn in business.”