Scotland hotels one year on

Time to read:  3 min

As the Scottish hotel industry marks the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 impact, we are beginning to see the first shoots of recovery with average sessions, transactions and revenue all tracking upwards during the first week of March. 


Between 15th and 21st March, 2021 Scotland’s hotels achieved a 700% increase on average revenue for the same period in 2020 which is understandable, given that exactly the same week last year marked the start of hotel closures across the UK, not just Scotland. As Scotland entered its first national lockdown, website transactions and revenue took a sharp downturn with sessions remaining relatively stable for a time.

For the same period, Scotland’s hotels also achieved their highest weekly average revenue of £6001.21 just 13% below revenue achieved in the same week of January 2020.

Announcements by UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the First Minister's reopening announcement have provided a much needed route out of the second national lockdown. With an end to the ‘Stay at Home’ rule on 2nd April and the hospitality industry set to begin reopening from 26th April, we anticipate sessions, transactions and revenue will rise over the next several weeks. Let’s take a brief look back over the last year.

Rural v Urban

Scotland’s rural destinations have been key to hotel performance recovery, most apparent when looking at average weekly revenue. As hotels faced closures across Scotland in March, 2020, average weekly revenue for Scotland’s rural hotels tumbled from £4635 to just £61 in less than 3 weeks. With domestic demand as the main driver and travellers seeking more isolated locations that could cope better with COVID-19 restrictions, hotels in rural locations were highly desirable. In mid-July at the peak of the summer, Scotland’s rural hotels average weekly revenue soared to £9298, a massive 300% increase on the same week in 2019.

Scotland’s remote hotels, naturally located away from tourist crowds and heavily populated areas, were able to cleverly market their space and privacy and continued to watch their average weekly revenue stay way ahead of summer 2019. As the country climbs out of a second national lockdown, rural hotels are again experiencing a surge in average weekly revenue hitting another peak in March of £9489.01.

Scotland Rural Hotels

Scotland Urban Hotels

Scotland’s urban hotels saw a year on year growth in sessions, revenue and transactions throughout July and August, 2020 with strong gains and improvements in the last few weeks.

Google Ad Spend

Unsurprisingly most hotels cut their marketing budgets or stopped marketing altogether during the lockdown periods. As hotels began to re-invest, with less advertisers, the average cost per click was lower, reducing the cost per acquisition price and resulting in very healthy ROI’s throughout August and September for Scotland’s hotels.

As we come out of lockdown, positively we can see investment once more by Scotland’s hotels in Google Ads as hoteliers look towards the summer and beyond. 

We continue to monitor the recovery of the hotel industry with our COVID-19 tracker which is updated daily and our basic report remains a free resource for hotels that would like to remain connected with performance trends within their respective markets. 

Katrina Blunden

Katrina has been working in the hospitality industry since 1993, more recently at Hotel Benchmark, uncovering insight from a wealth of data.