Private business Hotels find 2008 a hard act to follow.
LIVERPOOL hotel group Centre Island is having a challenging year, in common with the rest of the industry.
Capital of Culture year saw business surge at its city venues which include the Crowne Plaza and Holiday Inn brands, despite trading conditions, but 2009 is proving a different kettle of fish altogether.
Even though Culture year proved a fillip in terms of trade, other factors such as rising costs and the closure for renovation of the Birmingham Crowne Plaza meant a previous profit of pounds 1.4m was turned into a loss before tax of pounds 489,867. However, underlying earnings before interest, tax, deterioration and amortisation was pounds 6m, compared with pounds 6.5m previously.
In the annual accounts for 2008, filed at Companies House, managing director Martin Griffith said: The financial year was a very busy one for the group. The hotels based in Liverpool benefited for much of the year from the Capital of Culture events which ran from March beyond the year end through to November.
"Not only did this assist occupancy, but also enabled room rates to scale new heights. To some extent, this protected this part of the group from the deterioration in trading which many hotels in the UK provinces began to feel from around June.
"The rapid rise in wages, utility bills, insurance and local rates brought increasing pressure to bear on margins. The current financial year presents huge challenges to us in common with the entire UK hotel industry. Cost pressure in several areas is intense while demand has fallen dramatically for hotel rooms and meeting space.
The company employed a total of 700 staff who cost pounds 8.8m on wages.
A dividend of pounds 150,000 was declared, with the only shareholder cited as an Isle of Man-based company called Travan Services.
However, the Group is controlled by Irish businessman Michael O''Donoghue.