FEWER visitors are staying overnight in Blackpool but improved room rates mean hoteliers are making more money, according to new figures.
A cross-section survey by PKF Hotel Consultancy Services found the resort recorded the largest drop in overnight visitors in 2012, compared to other parts of the North West.
The figures show daily room occupancy fell from 59.7 per cent in 2011 to 57.5 per cent in 2012, a drop of 2.2 per cent.
However, average daily room rates went up 8.4 per cent to £55.39 meaning yield improved by 4.3 per cent from £30.53 to £31.85.
But hoteliers leader Claire Smith today challenged the figures, which are based on less than two dozen hotels in the resort.
Mrs Smith, president of StayBlackpool, said: “I would disagree with these figures because what our board found this year was that people are saying turnover is fine but our bottom lines are down.
“In 2012 we had events including the Open Golf, the magician’s convention and the world darts which all had a positive impact on room occupancy levels.
“But for example, we have not increased our prices in eight years but all our overheads are higher including commission.”
The latest visitor figures available from Blackpool Council show 11.89m people visited Blackpool between January and August 2012, up from 10.57m in 2011.
However while in 2011, 56 per cent of summer visitors stayed at least one night, in 2012 that fell to 42 per cent.
PKF has been undertaking its annual survey since the 1970s, and bases its findings on monthly figures provided by a mix of hotels.
The survey shows Liverpool also experienced a dip in occupancy, down 0.4 per cent, but occupancy rates were up by 2.2 per cent in Manchester and 2.1 per cent in Chester.
PKF Partner Mark Sykes said the figures showed operators “are more than holding their own despite the very challenging economic climate.”