HOTEL operators in Renfrewshire have sporting events and pop concerts to thank for seeing them over the economic slump.
Two of the big local hotels – the Watermill Hotel, in Lonend, Paisley, and the Glynhill Hotel, in Paisley Road, Renfrew – are continuing to attract business despite a severe dip in UK occupancy levels.
Room bookings and trading was generally higher in Scottish hotels than in those south of the border, according to new figures for the start of the summer.
Revenue increased by 10 per cent in Aberdeen and by nine per cent in Edinburgh but fell by seven per cent in Glasgow.
However, events like the series of sold-out Take That concerts at Hampden in Glasgow and the Davis Cup tennis tournament in Braehead have helped to boost business in Renfrewshire.
A spokeswoman for the Glynhill Hotel said: “We’re not doing too badly. Occupancy rates are down on last year and are lower than they have been for several years but when we speak to staff at other hotels, whether it’s places like ours or national chains like Travelodge, we are all in the same position.
“What does help though is the overspill from Glasgow when major sporting events or concerts are held in the city. We certainly were very busy when Take That played.”
She added: “We still see tourists coming to Renfrewshire from across the world – especially Americans – for the history of towns like Paisley and to trace their family heritage.
“Overall, business isn’t bad, it just isn't as good as it has been in recent years.”
Michael Lavizani, managing director at the Watermill Hotel, revealed a conference and ballroom extension has helped improve business.
He said: “We have actually managed better numbers this year compared to last year although the profile of our clientele has changed dramatically.
“There’s definitely fewer people staying on business trips this year – perhaps due to the economic climate – but we have managed to gain more business in the wedding and conference market in which the extension will have played a big part.
“And like everyone else, we see our occupancy rates rise when the likes of Take That play Hampden because once Glasgow’s hotels fill up people start to look at Paisley because of the great transport links we have with the city.”
Tom Johnston, chairman of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, believes this area has a lot to offer visitors and with the Davis Cup returning to Braehead Arena in September and the build-up to the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014, he feels the accommodation trade has a busy future ahead.
He said: “I know that quality hotels like Mar Hall in Bishopton are very busy when the pop stars come to Glasgow and the Davis Cup was very good for hotels in the area because it attracted tennis fans from across the UK.
“But it’s not just the overspill from Glasgow that choose to stay in Renfrewshire hotels as the area has a lot to offer in its own right.
“Paisley Abbey is second to none in world heritage terms, the Paisley pattern is known across the world and we even have the birthplace of William Wallace in Renfrewshire.
“The area has all the makings of a wonderful tourist trail and with the continued build-up to the Commonwealth Games bringing people to Glasgow Airport in Paisley from across the world, I expect to see business doing very well in the years to come.”