New hotel occupancy data for August 2014 reveals that Manchester's city centre hotel industry is in strong health with rates now outperforming peak levels reached in 2006 and 2007.
In the first eight months of 2014 the city centre had an average occupancy rate of 76%, a record figure for this period of the year since records began. This figure has been sustained by record weekday rates (75% average) and strong performing weekend rates (81% average).
The achievement comes at a time when the city centre is preparing for an additional 2,100 rooms in the immediate pipeline, extending to 2,700 in Greater Manchester, with new developments from at least six operators who are investing in the conurbation for the first time. Hotel projects include openings on Booth Street, at Manchester Business School, the expansion of the Radisson Blu Edwardian and in the upper floors of the Corn Exchange. The city centre currently has 7,085 rooms and 774 serviced apartments.
Andrew Stokes, chief executive of Marketing Manchester, said: "We are thrilled with the latest hotel occupancy data which indicates a significant achievement for our hotel and tourism industry. Current demand means that we are now exceeding the rates experienced in pre-recession years, but we are also in the cusp of a dramatic increase in supply to meet this.
"The challenge will now be to make the most of this opportunity for further growth and to sustain occupancy figures as room numbers increase. A number of hotel operators that are brand new to Greater Manchester have shown their confidence in the industry by investing here and we will work with them and existing hotels to help continue the occupancy trajectory."
The recent data also showed that the city centre achieved its highest ever August hotel occupancy at 78% with both weekend and weekday levels reaching record highs. Tourism generates £6.6bn a year for the Greater Manchester economy and supports 84,000 full time equivalent jobs.