New report on pub accommodation indicates the growth potential for the sector

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    New research from RPBI Reports has found that if ‘pub with accommodation’ was a single brand it would be the second largest in the UK, snapping at the heels of Premier Inn. With over 50,000 rooms in 5,700 pubs (approx 1 in 9 of the UK pub market) providing accommodation, this much under publicised sector of the market is showing great potential for growth and improvement in standards.Perception is changing about the sector as pubs start to up their game to compete with other accommodation providers. The exclusive consumer survey for the report, showed that 41% of respondees would prefer to stay in a pub against 23% in a branded hotel.1

    The report also says that pubs’ combined turnover from just accommodation could reach £750million, if they were to achieve the average level of occupancy as provincial hotels and their average room rate.2

    For a long time there has been under investment in accommodation in pubs. The tide is now turning with RPBI finding that pub companies are quietly spending money on acquiring, adding and upgrading rooms, resulting in a new phase of growth for the pub industry.

    A separate survey of pub owners found that those running pubs with accommodation are upbeat, confident and anticipate growth in the sector.

    Almost two-thirds of those pubs owners surveyed said they expected accommodation revenue to grow over the next 12 months, while one-third anticipated income from rooms to be similar to the previous year. Just over half of all pubs are planning to refurbish their rooms within the next year. 3

    Pubs have always offered accommodation. It is hardly a new market. But, with all the focus on food and other industry issues, this potentially lucrative revenue stream has often been overlooked. That is starting to change and pub owners and pub companies are putting more focus on rooms, there is a real trend for licensees and pub operators seeking to increase their revenue streams through letting room accommodation.

    Pubs are investing significant amounts in accommodation, and will need to wait longer to see a return on their money than other, more immediate investments. But, done well, this is a long-term revenue source for the pub industry and a way of maximising the value of properties.

    The ‘Great British Pub’ has found numerous ways to survive over hundreds of years and the addition of rooms provides another opportunity to ensure it continues to do so.

    Happily, the majority of pub operators are increasingly understanding that a diverse customer proposition, delivered excellently, is the way forward. And increasingly, letting
    rooms are part and parcel of the future shape of the pub.

    Daniel Fountain / 24.07.2013

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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