• UK ahead in sales but profits a challenge

Hotels in the UK improved revpar at twice the rate of their peers in continental Europe during 2005, according to figures from The Bench and KPMG.

But this revpar increase may disguise less welcome news for operators, reckoned a panel at a conference to launch the figures last week.

Tony Potter, group chief executive at Millennium & Copthorne, said, speaking about the industry generally rather than his company, that: \I'm not sure that revpar growth of the past is sufficient to sustain the profitability into the future.\

The figures from The Bench showed that UK revpar was up 6.5% while in continental Europe it lagged with growth of just 2.2%. However, it was Scandinavian hotels that showed the top growth at 6.7%.

\Scandinavia is a rags-to-riches story. Having suffered during the downturn of the dot com era, the turnaround in performance is exceptional and was driven by a combination of a huge increase in low cost flights to the region and an exceptional conference year,\ said Jamie Chappell, managing director of The Bench.

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