Weekend breaks help De Vere ride out tough times

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The Independent Online

De Vere Group said yesterday that turnover for both its upmarket De Vere and mid-market Village hotel brands had risen in the year to end-September despite difficult markets.

De Vere Group said yesterday that turnover for both its upmarket De Vere and mid-market Village hotel brands had risen in the year to end-September despite difficult markets.

The group, which hosted the Ryder Cup golf tournament at its luxury Belfry hotel complex last weekend, said the big conference market remained depressed in line with a slower UK economy, but this was offset by buoyant demand for weekend breaks.

"De Vere Hotels and Village Hotels & Leisure Clubs have both continued to maintain sales growth, demonstrating the resilience of the two brands," the company said.

Revenue per available room – a key measure for the hotel industry – also rose during the year for both brands: up 1.4 per cent for De Vere Hotels and 0.7 per cent for Village.

The overall performance was in line with the board's expectations. Analysts expect overall revenue to come in at £300m for the year. The shares fell 5.5p to 291.5p, a reduction of 2 per cent.

"De Vere continues to outperform its peers in terms of revenue per available room and profit per room," said Investec analyst Richard Carter.

Chief executive Paul Dermody said he was extremely pleased with the publicity generated for the group by the 34th Ryder Cup – the world's third most-watched sporting event, which ended on Sunday with a European win.

"It was just unbelievable," Mr Dermody said. "We were extremely happy with how everything went from an organisational point of view."

The Ryder Cup does not lead to a boost in hotel revenues compared with a normal week at the Belfry, but gives the group a chance to promote De Vere's 21 provincial hotels as venues for big lucrative corporate conferences.

De Vere said it expected its sports and leisure club division, Greens, which operates 14 clubs around the country, to report an operating profit of around £1.3m compared with a loss of £1m last year.

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