York might have bucked the trend and voted to Remain, but Brexit has delivered a big bonus to at least one city business.
The Dean Court Hotel in York has seen bookings by American guests increase by 236% in the days following the vote to quit the EU, confirmed on June 24.
Best Western GB chief executive Rob Payne said:
We’ve seen an increase in international bookings to some of our hotels in Great British locations and we’re exploring this further.
Manager of the Dean Court Hotel, Simon Murphy said that the spike in bookings was exceptional as “York is a popular destination for international travellers at all times during the year”.
He said the bookings boost occurred “after the Brexit campaign” and was “very coincidental with the Brexit vote”.
The weakening of the pound following Brexit may be the reason, with international travellers able to get more for their money.
Although there had been an increase in international booking figures, Simon said the number of European bookings had not dropped at the Dean Court following Brexit.
The hotel does not yet have a breakdown of figures from visitors outside the US as that data is tracked on a weekly basis.
Business looks to be booming across the hotel industry, and the Dean Court manager believes the increase is particularly high in York due to the city’s historic beauty, events and culture.
“It’s all about what’s happening in York, it’s a very popular place with tourists,” Simon said.
The bookings increase in York was exceptional, but Best Western is reporting extra businesses in its hotels elsewhere in the UK. An Edinburgh hotel saw bookings from Chinese visitors up 50% on the same week last year.
Hire extra staff
Best Western have even had to hire extra staff at its York head office to meet the demand of new membership enquiries.
Tourism body VisitYork analyses hotel bookings information on a monthly basis and the figures for June are not yet available. So it is too early to see if this “Brexit bounce” has been replicated elsewhere.
But Sterling’s fall in value could make the city more attractive to international tourists, said Make It York head of tourism Kate McMullen.
“The exchange rate will help make Britain a more attractive proposition for both long haul and European visitors,” she said.
“VisitBritain is predicting a strong year for international visits and York is well placed to benefit from this, given the city’s easy access and strong image overseas.”