29th July 2021

RBH’s city-based hotels are seeing a surge in enquiries and bookings for larger groups coming from abroad from April 2022.

While UK-based business for small groups and couples has been increasing for some time, the past four weeks have also seen a resurgence in larger groups from the USA, in addition to Germany, Italy and Spain. The shift has largely coincided with the easing of restrictions in both the UK and the USA, despite ongoing travel restrictions and regulations.

As long-term international travel access is still an area of contention, almost the entirety of bookings across the board for 2021 continue to be from domestic operators. But, international confidence appears to be on the rise from Easter next year, with particular interest in tour series throughout the summer for London and Edinburgh which is a firm sign of travel intent and demand. There is also a spike in international bookings coinciding with Edinburgh Festival next summer.

The RBH groups policy continues to be very flexible, especially when it comes to understanding the uncertainty and discrepancies between different countries’ travel rules. RBH hotels are returning to a 28-day cancellation commitment for group bookings but will still have allowances in the agreements for further movement within the group up to seven days prior to arrival without penalty.

On the increase of group bookings, Chris Martin, Group Director of Revenue said: “It’s very clear that the international demand is definitely there to recommence travel to the UK. The main obstacle continues to be the worry from bookers that they’ll get caught out and lose money if their trip is unable to go ahead. People are wary of committing and being tied in, which is why we’re having to be incredibly flexible with group tour operators, as that’s the only way they’ll be able to be flexible with their own customers – those actually booking to join the trips.

“Domestic travel is booming, and across all RBH hotels, we picked up more bookings from 2-8 July than for the same week in 2019, equating to £1.6m of business in just one week - £1m of which was for bookings this month. It’s great to now see longer term planning for city breaks starting to arise for 2022 as well.”