Derry hotel lobby chief says sector is looking at impact of beds growth

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The Derry woman who heads up the hotels lobby in the North, Janice Gault, has said hoteliers are currently examining how the expansion of bedrooms across the sector is may affect occupancy rates, bed prices and jobs.

The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, Chief Executive, said the organisation commissioned the benchmarking company, STR, to produce an economic forecast that will include a high level summary covering the Derry market.

The updated ‘Gearing up for Growth - NIHF Launch Industry Forecast’ will be launched at the Hospitality Exchange 2018 conference in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belfast on October 17.

“Hotel expansion has been a hot topic throughout the year with bedroom numbers now at record levels,” said Ms. Gault.

“The NIHF produced a major report last year which has been updated to assess the full economic impact now that we are moving beyond the construction phase.

“The new version outlines the effect of the new stock on the market, as well as the impact of job creation. “However, the burning question is, how will the sector fare in the coming months in a market now supporting over 9,000 hotel bedrooms?” she observed.

The Derry woman said the forecast will help local hotel owners and operators to plan for the future.

She said: “The NIHF was conscious of the effects of such a large influx of hotel product and have been working with leading benchmarking company STR to produce a performance forecast for the sector.

“The study will have a fully-fledged analysis of the Belfast market and a high level summary covering Derry-Londonderry and rest of Northern Ireland.

“This in-depth piece of work will track the impact of new product and assess the effect on occupancy and rate. The forecast will be available to buy in 2019 on a quarterly basis. Recent figures have reflected the impact of new room stock.

“It is important that the market has relevant information for planning their pricing and sales strategies going forward,” said Ms. Gault.

Sarah Duignan, Director of Client Relationships at STR said: “A lot of new product creates both opportunities and challenges.

“A measured and well supported forecast can be an invaluable tool for businesses.

“We produce similar reports for a number of key destinations on a global basis and have no doubt that the new forecast will be of great benefit to the industry in Northern Ireland.”