• Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Bookings Ramp Up for London Hotels as King’s Coronation Nears


May 4, 2023
The May 6 coronation of King Charles III is the first royal coronation in almost 70 years and is expected to be watched on TV by hundreds of millions of people. (Getty Images)


The coronation of King Charles III on May 6 will be the first event of its type in the United Kingdom since June 2, 1953 — a gap of almost 70 years.

Charles III will be crowned Saturday at Westminster Abbey. The abbey has officiated the coronation of 38 monarchs in the British Royal Family since 1066.

Often when a huge event comes to London, it adds little demand to the overall performance of hotels in the capital, which typically post high occupancy and can charge high rates.

According to STR, CoStar’s hotel analytics division, demand for hotel rooms in London has increased in the past few weeks, and May 2023 bookings are at their highest in London for the weekend of the coronation.

As of May 1, hotel occupancy on the books across all of London is 73.1% for Friday, 71.8% for Saturday and 56.5% for Sunday. In the submarket that contains Westminster Abbey, occupancy on the books is 78.8% for Friday, 70.2% for Saturday and 53.6% for Sunday.

Thomas Emanuel, STR’s senior director, said he expects London’s hotels to fill up even more over the weekend.

“As we approach the historic coronation of His Majesty The King, hotel bookings across London are surging. … While the Friday and Saturday of coronation weekend have already hit a peak for the month of May, we expect these figures to increase in the coming days as excitement grows and the eyes of the world are once again on London,” he said.

Cristina Balekjian, CoStar’s director of hospitality analytics for the United Kingdom, said she spoke with sales and marketing cluster managers at three luxury London hotels in mid-April, and all three told her bookings for coronation weekend were not as strong as they expected.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: Coronation-themed biscuits are prepared at the Biscuiteers baking company on April 19, 2023 in London, England. The British baking company Biscuiteers has launched a new collection of biscuits to commemorate the Coronation of King Charles III. The new biscuits feature the Imperial State Crown, the Royal Ermine, the Sovereign's Orb and Sceptre and Westminster Abbey. The Coronation of King Charles III and The Queen Consort will take place on May 6, part of a three-day celebration. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

Everyone is celebrating the succession to the throne of King Charles III, including cookie manufacturer Biscuiteers, who have created a “biscuit” in the shape of the royal carriage that has traditionally carried monarchs to and from Westminster Abbey for their coronation. (Getty Images)

What might be more significant for hotel demand during coronation weekend is the additional U.K. bank holiday on Monday, May 8. In normal years, U.K. residents are excused from work for two bank holidays in May, one on the first Monday of the month and the other on the last Monday. This year, U.K. residents get three Mondays off from work.

Both the preceding Sunday nights might show higher occupancy than a normal Sunday, STR analysts said.

The mood in London is upbeat as it prepares for Charles’ coronation. Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, said the coronation will be a once-in-a-lifetime moment for the majority of British people, and London will be at the center of the celebrations.

“We’re looking forward to welcoming people from all over the world to experience the famous pomp and pageantry of this special event,” she said.

Citron said there would be many goings-on in the city and elsewhere in the U.K. around the festivities.

“London will be putting on a show far beyond the coronation weekend, with related events and activities on offer for visitors throughout the rest of the year. From themed afternoon teas to our royal palaces, parks and cultural attractions, there’s something for royal fans to enjoy all year,” Citron said.

Many visitors also are expected to celebrate in Windsor, where the Royal Family has one of its principal homes, Windsor Castle. Windsor is only 25 miles west of the center of London.

Charles’ coronation comes 25,540 days after the coronation of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who was crowned not only as sovereign of the U.K. but also as head of an empire. The empire is for all intents and purposes no more.

There also is no method of comparing hotel industry performance around King Charles’ coronation to that of his mother’s. When Elizabeth was crowned in 1953, STR, CoStar’s hotel analytics division, was still 32 years from being founded.

There were only a few British monarchs who were not in the role long enough to have a coronation. These include Edward IV — who was a minor at the time — and then in the same year of 1483 was murdered, allegedly by Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who became Richard III. Edward VIII abdicated the throne in 1936.

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