Attractions industry news

26 Nov 2018

UK hotel industry 'swinging towards luxury' as investors target affluent visitors

The total number of high-end hotels in the UK has increased by 140 in the last two years, while the number of hotels rated three-star and below fell by 110 in the same period.

The figures come from real estate law firm Boodle Hatfield, which suggests that investors in the hotel sector are increasingly banking on attracting more affluent tourists – driving a rise in the number of luxury hotels openings and upgrades in the UK.

Investors from overseas, particularly the Middle East and Singapore, have been key in bringing new investment into the luxury hotel sector in recent years.

Some of London landmark hotels – including the Savoy, the Four Seasons and the Corinthia – are now owned, at least in part, by investors from the Gulf.

“There has been a very noticeable shift in investor focus towards the luxury end of the hotel market, as overseas ultra high net worth individuals seek to capitalise on London’s ability to attract affluent visitors," said Adam Chamberlain, partner at Boodle Hatfield.

“London is one of the premier centres for wealth management globally, and that is increasingly reflected in the type of tourists the capital attracts. Investors have moved to meet demand from these visitors for luxury hotels.

“Wealthy individuals, particularly from the Middle East, have for some time identified the UK luxury hotel sector as a major area of interest, as it blends the capital preservation of London real estate, a strong income stream, and the prestige that ownership of a landmark property offers.”

Chamberlain added that the UK’s tourism industry has benefitted from London’s reputation for attracting wealthy individuals.

Tourists are forecast to spend a record £26.3bn in the UK in 2018, up 7.1 per cent on 2017 – partly due to a weak pound caused by the uncertainties around Brexit.

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