Hotel chain reports boost in December bookings

A rise in bookings in the run-up to Christmas has helped boost sales at East Anglian tourism chain Arlington Hotel Group.

Bill Heath, managing director at Norwich-based Arlington, said the company had seen particularly strong bookings in the peak December period, up between 3pc and 4pc on last year.

Takings in the first half of the firm's financial year, starting July 1, were also up about 5pc over the same period of 2009, with Heath Court Hotel in Newmarket seeing the biggest increase, with bookings increasing by 14.8pc.

The Scarborough Hill Hotel in North Walsham was also up 9.8pc, with the George Hotel in Norwich up 6.2pc.

The only hotel to see a dip in trade was Hotel Wroxham, which saw a decline linked to the poor summer weather, with Swaffham George Hotel seeing a 1.2pc rise.

Mr Heath said many hoteliers across the region had seen 'buoyant' bookings in December, helped partly by coach tours of visitors to the Thursford Christmas Spectacular show, near Fakenham, which started in early November and runs until December 23.

The hotel chain has more than 60 coaches booked, and is set to serve 13,500 meals over a six-week period at the George Hotel, Swaffham.

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Mr Heath said: 'In the run-up to Christmas our bookings are very good, and a lot of hoteliers are reporting buoyant December.

'Bookings at our Norwich hotel have completely turned around compared to the start of the year, when things looked bleak, but since April things have continued to pick up.'