London hotel sector looks ahead with optimism

If you're keeping an eye on hotels for sale in the London area, you'll be glad to hear the results of PricewaterhouseCoopers' latest UK hotel forecast - it shows the industry's over the worst, though a drop in corporate travel has undoubtedly left the sector weakened.

Liz Hall, the accountancy firm's head of hotels research, says budget hotels have found it particularly tricky to swim upstream as three and four-star operators hold on to customers through value-for-money deals.

"Midscale customers have been able to negotiate discounts at their usual locations rather than switching to a cheaper option," she explains. "We are also seeing a selected reduction in brand standards among some chains as hotels seek to contain costs."

Some four and five-star hotels have even looked to cut their star ratings to trim "unnecessary expenditure in areas not valued by guests", Hall adds.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' info shows average London room rates have been going up for the past five years in a row, but by the end of this year the average room is set to cost £10 less than in 2008 - and could cost £20 less by the end of next year.

Out of 60 hotel owners questioned, three-quarters said they feel more optimistic now than they did six months ago.