The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF) has shared performance figures from STR, the leading independent hotel benchmarking company. The figures show that Northern Ireland hotel occupancy rates dropped by over 12% between July and September.
Occupancy levels reached 79.7% in July and 75.3% in August, seeing quite a significant drop there onwards. These figures put further emphasis on the need for continued support of Northern Ireland hotels going forward.
Janice Gault, CEO of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, stresses the importance of international travel in keeping the industry thriving.
“In previous years September bookings would have been augmented by international tour business, as well as conference and meeting activity. However, this business has not returned in any significant manner. If you consider Northern Ireland’s pre-pandemic figures, in September 2019, hotel occupancy was 76.9%, while in 2018 it was 79.3%, both significantly higher than the 2021 level of 65.2%.”
Looking ahead, Ms Gault predicts that business is likely to pick up over the festive season.
“Forecasting is always a difficult task. The 2021 performance is certainly better than that of 2020, with a year-to-date occupancy of 45.7%.
“Currently, across all accommodation types, businesses are reporting strong weekend bookings, with a more challenging weeknight position. The wedding market, while quieter than over the summer months, has held up well and is set to be particularly strong over Christmas,” she explains.