Manchester hotels are bouncing back after Covid-19 pandemic amid boom in UK holidays

City breaks are proving extremely popular, but hotel bosses have their fingers crossed that corporate travel will soon resume.

The UK is experiencing a boom in people holidaying closer to home due to Covid-19, and statistics show Manchester is a standout performer.

SiteMinder’s World Hotel Index, which uses open data from its online platform, shows the city is something of a hotspot for people looking to get away.

In the past week hotel bookings have exceeded their 2019 levels for the first time since the beginning of the global pandemic.

Central Manchester, including the Hilton hotel. Photo: Oli Scarff/AFP via Getty Images

Hotel bosses say they are now waiting for corporate travel to resume, but are confident that this trend of people exploring the UK during their time off rather than automatically heading abroad is here to stay.

What the data says

SiteMinder’s hotel index showed that on 26 August hotel bookings in Manchester were above the number recorded on the same date two years ago.

This is higher than the figure recorded for other UK cities such as London and Birmingham and also above the numbers for European city destinations such as Paris, Rome, Prague, Barcelona and Vienna.

Hotel bookings for the UK as a whole sat at 91.76% of pre-pandemic levels on 26 August, compared to 63.82% globally.

This is largely being driven by domestic travel, with 89.92% of hotel bookings currently coming from within the country.

What does SiteMinder say?

James Bishop, a senior director at SiteMinder, said; “Manchester’s highly-encouraging hotel booking figures underline the extent to which the city is treasured by UK travellers as a dynamic and exciting cultural hub, steeped in history yet forward-looking.

Manchester is proving a popular destination for hotel bookings. Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

“The city is on firm footing to benefit from the sustained recovery of the UK travel sector, with domestic travellers eager to make up for the past year and a half, especially in light of the ongoing vaccine rollout.

“In time, we expect this to be complemented by a steady increase of international tourists, which is further positive news for Manchester’s hotel owners,”

What does the hotel industry in Manchester say?

Adrian Ellis is chair of the Manchester Hoteliers’ Association and the general manager at the Lowry Hotel.

He said that while there are plenty of promising signs around the demand for leisure travel, other important aspects of the industry are yet to recover from the pandemic.

In particular, hotels are still waiting to welcome back lucrative business travel.

However, Mr Ellis says he is hopeful that the popularity of UK city breaks in places like Manchester is here to stay.

He said: “We are seeing an improvement, although the figures aren’t stronger than 2019 for every month.

“This month has been stronger than 2019 but July was behind it and September probably will be.

“City breaks are quite popular and we’re getting leisure breaks coming through. People are coming here for shopping, cultural activities, festivals, football, the whole nine yards. We are getting signs of recovery in all parts of the leisure business.

“I think it will carry on. People are coming to UK cities and don’t know much about what is going on in Manchester. It is opening people’s eyes to what they can do here instead of going abroad every year.

“I think that is positive for the future.

“We are still missing the corporate and meetings business as well as international business. They are not back yet.”