OVER HALF OF Irish hotels saw an increase in turnover in 2012, according to a new report on the industry.
The survey by AIB, in association with the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) indicates that couples are helping hotels get back on track with an increase in romantic getaways and wedding related business.
The number of over 55s and Irish tourists also increased last year, contributing to 54 per cent of hotels seeing an increase in their turnover while just 26 per cent said it decreased.
Hoteliers are more positive about their own business than the economy at large with 67 per cent expecting the tourism industry to improve within the next three years while 71 per cent expect their own business to see growth.
Some 55 per cent say they will upgrade and refurbish their properties over the next three years and 85 per cent have introduced special offers to draw more visitors to their hotel.
The survey showed that online bookings now account for 56 per cent of all bookings with just 31 per cent of bookings made over the phone now.
On the finance side, 42 per cent of hotels have not sought finance from their banks in the past 12 months. Of those who did seek finance, 59 per cent required a change to the terms of their existing finance or to renew it with just 12 per cent seeking a new loan.
Commenting on the report, CEO of the IHF, Tim Fenn, said the report shows that the outlook for the hotels sector is “more upbeat compared to last year” but that “significant challenges” remain in terms of high operating costs like local authority rates.