Reality Check: Is the weak pound good news for hotels?

Rob Payne saying: We know it is early days but we are seeing a double bounce to business as a result of Brexit

The claim: The weak pound is good news for hotels in the UK.

Reality Check verdict: The weaker pound makes visiting the UK from overseas cheaper, but hotels will also find that the weak pound increases some of their other costs.

A press release arrives from Best Western Hotels in the UK talking about how well the chain has been doing since the UK voted to leave the European Union two weeks ago.

It cites increases in bookings from the US and China at four of its hotels: in Edinburgh, Cambridge, York and the Lake District.

A hotel in Edinburgh reported a 10-fold increase in bookings from the US compared with the same week the previous year.

Clearly, these are figures for a single week at only a handful of the chain's 260 properties in the UK. Potential travellers may have been reminded to make a booking by the UK being in the news around the world and the spike may be balanced out over the rest of the year and the rest of the chain.

Nonetheless, it is interesting that its chief executive Rob Payne is quoted as saying: "We know it is early days but we are seeing a double bounce to business as a result of Brexit."

The other part of the double bounce is that there has apparently been an increase in the number of hotel owners inquiring about joining the group because "they are worried about what the impact of Brexit will mean longer term".

A weaker pound makes it cheaper for tourists with other currencies to visit the UK. US tourists, for example, would have had to pay more than $1.50 for each pound they bought on the day of the referendum, while it would now cost them closer to $1.30.

Richard Solomons, chief executive of rival hotel group IHG, said: "It is clearly very early days, but the low pound means that we're likely to see an increase in inbound travel, as international travellers take advantage of the favourable exchange rate, as well more residents choosing to stay put for a staycation to save money and enjoy all that the UK has to offer.

"Either way, it is a good thing for the sector."

It's not all good news for the sector, of course. In the longer term, if the UK eventually abandons freedom of movement it may be harder for hotels to recruit staff.

The weaker pound will also mean that things that hotels buy from overseas - such as wine - will get more expensive.

And it is concerns such as this about the wider economy that have led to the increase in inquiries to Best Western from owners of independent hotels.

Read more: The facts behind claims about our relationship with the EU

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