• The danger with data

The lack of accurate statistical data for vast swathes of the hotel industry is often cited – correctly in this author's view – as a key reason for investor caution in the sector.

It is some relief then that the UK Government's official body National Statistics began publishing monthly data on the service sector at the start of this year.

But, as the quote, usually attributed to British Prime Minister Disraeli although it was actually economist Lord Courtney, goes, \there are lies, damn lies – and statistics\.

The Financial Times, in a piece authored by the former leisure industries correspondent of that paper (she is now its economics correspondent), suggested that the UK economy is currently being \rebalanced\ towards manufacturing.

This assertion was made on the back of April's numbers which showed that in the three months to the end of that month, output in the service industries rose by 0.5%.

The FT report said that weak trading in hotels and restaurants contributed to the \stagnation in the economy's dominant services sector in April\.

As any reader of the monthly revpar numbers put out by the likes of TRI Hospitality Consulting (published in the print edition of Hotel Analyst) would know, April was a difficult month for year-on-year numbers due to the moveable feast that was Easter.

Business hotels are less busy in the holiday period and the switch of date from March to April impacted significantly. The latest figures from TRI, incidentally, show that the UK hotel sector is storming ahead with revpar for May up 8.8%, year-on-year.

And indeed, on the ONS figures, taking a 12 month run, shows a 3.0% increase for the hotels and restaurants industry group.

This is notably ahead of the 2.3% increase in GDP for the 12 months to the end of March. And this suggests that any rebalancing is towards services and not away from them.

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