BRIGHTON’S HOTEL INDUSTRY THRIVES DESPITE ‘WETTEST SUMMER IN 100 YEARS’

By Nicola Peschek, Rob Dean, Henry Sansom and Nisha Bhakoo

Despite one of the wettest summers on record, some of the more high-end hotels in Brighton have seen more success than last year, largely down to businesses using the diversity of events in the city to attract occupants. B&B’s and smaller hotels however are struggling to draw in the visitors.

Luxury hotels such as my hotel Brighton have seen a rise in occupants throughout the summer. Damien Raistrick, Duty Manager puts this down to major events such as Pride, food festivals and political conferences. Mr Raistrick said: “We have had 92% occupancy rates almost every day over the summer months this year despite the weather. Almost every week there is an event in Brighton that ensures that our rooms are filled.”

B&B’s however have had to cope with rises in parking costs and the Olympics drawing otherwise regular seasonal business to the capital. According to local business owners, in order to accommodate for this they have had to shift their sights to either the top or lower end of the market and businesses in between have found themselves becoming obsolete. Alun Davies, who used to be the owner of a 3 star bed and breakfast, has had to specify his business to housing long term building contractors to stay afloat. He stressed that most B&B’s now either cater for wealthy international tourists looking for a short, quintessential British holiday or cheap and cheerful, last minute guests.

The secret to the success of those offering luxury stays is the ability to provide specialised initiatives. The 4 star my hotel, for example, is partnered with nearby Fitness First and offers reduced rates on Sundays to keep up occupancy levels. They also have the finances to offer a range of specialist packages which has helped to draw in the conference clientele.

However with the winter approaching this trend looks set to reverse. While hotels’ business is likely to decline in the winter months due to a decrease in local major events, B&B owners can look forward to the return of loyal customers over the festive period.

It’s been a busy summer for the UK, which has affected Brighton businesses both positively and negatively. Despite multiple obstacles, Brighton’s hospitality industry continues to look bright, thanks to a growing calendar of tourist friendly events.

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