Having enjoyed a good summer, September continued to show growth in hotel room occupancy, visits to attractions and the Visitor Centre. Hoteliers had the most to celebrate in September, with our Hotel Occupancy Survey recording its highest ever monthly room occupancy for any month since the survey began in 2007 and exceeding 90%.
At 90.8%, hotel room occupancy was 4% higher than in September 2012, taking the third quarter (July, August and September) average to 89.6%. Hotel room occupancy in York in September was higher than in London (which was 88%) according to the UK Chain Hotels Market Review, something rarely seen before. Average room rates in York also grew in September, by 3% to £80.80, giving a third quarter average of £81.94, which is 7% higher than the third quarter last year.
York’s eight largest attractions welcomed more visitors in September, 18% more than in September 2012 at 215,801. This year, the 2 million visitor marker was passed a month earlier than in 2012, with visits to attractions, the year to date, now totalling 2,200,115.
Results from the Annual Visitor Survey for 2012/13 are now available. The 1,000 surveys conducted with our leisure visitors over the last 12 months revealed some interesting insights. The survey has shown visitors are still very loyal to York, with more than 80% having visited before, more than three quarters intending to return within the next two years and 99% telling us they will recommend York to friends and family.
The visitor profile is varied and shows that we attract a range of age groups, a mix of couples, families and friends and that visitors are inspired to come to York for a wide variety of reasons. These include the ambience of the city, the appeal of visitor attractions, the varied festival and events programme and visiting friends and relatives.
We will now use this valuable data to plan our marketing and PR campaigns, to calculate the economic impact of tourism in York (the results from which should be available in the next couple of months) and to delve into key visitor segments to better understand what drives our highest spending visitors.
Thanks to Qa Research, the Visit York volunteers, York St John University tourism students and visitor attractions for their support of the 2012/13 Visitor Survey. The 2013/14 Survey is now underway and is being delivered PCP Market Research.