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Business tourism will be important for UK hotels during the current recession, owing to the amount of potential revenue that conference business can generate.
Hotels that offer purpose-built conference venues for businesses have the immediate revenue from the use of their meeting rooms and additional conference facilities, while accommodation and catering can also prove profitable, especially if there are several hundred delegates involved.
Multinational luxury hotel chains have been able to benefit in some ways from the economic downturn. Brand recognition remains significant and many large businesses still seek established hotels in which to hold their conferences.
Similarly, budget hotels may find increased business from firms which may have been affected more seriously by the economic turmoil, as companies which would normally aim for mid-range conference facilities and accommodation look to reduce their expenditure.
Indeed, it is the mid-range hotels which may need to be more imaginative in terms of how they attract business tourists, as their normal rates could alienate small businesses while larger ones seek the big brands.
PFK Hotel Consultancy Services recently reported that hotel room rates for London in November fell by 5.6 per cent on 2007.