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January 2016 Market Intelligence

Boxing Day flooding dominated the headlines in December and early January and the key performance indicators for January start to reveal the short term scale of the impact of this on tourism businesses.

It is not surprising that the vast majority of the measures showed a drop when compared to January 2015. Many hotels received cancellations in December and early January which resulted a drop in room occupancy rate of 16%, down to just 50.6% of all hotel rooms occupied in January and the lowest room occupancy rate recorded by our survey for 8 years in what is always the quietest month of the year. However average room rates were almost maintained at £63.49, just 2% lower than last year.

The low number of staying visitors and decreased footfall (city centre footfall was 5% down on last year and footfall into the Visit York Information Centre down by 4%) resulted in 14% fewer visitors to those attractions which were open in January than last year.

Not all attractions reported a loss – the National Railway Museum showed a 4% increase in visitors in the run up to the Flying Scotsman returning to York and some smaller attractions benefitted from participating in the Residents’ Festival at the end of the month.

There were four attractions which were forced to close for the month as a direct result of the localised flooding (the JORVIK Viking Centre, the York Dungeon, YorkBoat and the Merchant Adventurer’s Hall) and last January these attractions welcomed 28,000 visitors between them.

Adding these lost visits to the 14% drop seen by the rest of the attractions means that there were potentially 40,000 lost attraction visits in January, or around a quarter of what we could have expected in a normal January. With visitor numbers to the city low and some key attractions closed, the York Pass saw a drop in sales and 487 visits were made to attractions by visitors using a Pass in January.

Use of the website was down compared to the start of 2015, continuing the downward trend we saw throughout last year, with sessions on down by 33% and bookings made through the website down by 47%.
Despite this, use of our new mobile site grew again (by 87%, to 22,610 sessions) as more and more of our web users move to logging in on a mobile device. Almost 1 in every 5 of our visitors to now reach us through the mobile site.

It is encouraging to see the number of conference enquiries remaining high and hopefully an indication of more positive news to come. The VisitYork4Meetings team handled almost twice as many enquiries in January 2016 than in January 2015 (47 compared to 24 last year).


Summary for January 2016

• 50.6% of hotel rooms occupied
• £63.49 average hotel room rate
• 47 conference and event enquiries came in to the VisitYork4Meetings conference desk
• 112,779 visits to attractions (provisional figure)
• 487 visits to attractions using a York Pass
• 119,309 sessions on (including on the mobile site)
• 89 accommodation bookings made through
• 18,584 customers through the Visit York Information Centre

The Annual Attractions Survey for 2015 from VisitEngland has recently been launched and all attractions should receive their survey by the end of March. Results of this survey generate high levels of media interest and publicity when they are released in the summer and participating attractions all receive their own benchmarking report.

If you are an attraction and don’t receive a survey by the end of March, either by email or in the post, please contact to arrange a survey to be sent to you.

To request an overview of tourism performance each month or to find out any more about our Research and Insights, contact Make It York’s Research Executive Zoe Rawson