Irish hotel sales topped a record €1bn in 2015

Property group Savills predicts an increase in developments this year

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The Clarion Hotel in Co Sligo | Image: Savills

The value of hotel sales in Ireland topped a record €1bn in 2015.

In an upcoming report on the hotel sector, property consultants Savills Ireland note that demand for hotel assets was consistently strong in 2015.

This was due to a wide range of factors.

These include 14% growth in overseas visitors, Dublin hotel revenue per room growth of over 20% - as well as a significantly stronger US dollar and pound sterling, compared to a weaker euro.

Irish GDP growth of 7% was also cited as a factor for the growth.

Tom Barrett, director of hotels and leisure at Savills Ireland, said: "Ireland's tourism industry is now achieving record volumes, and combined with a strong domestic economic recovery, this is driving high hotel occupancy rates throughout the country".

"This positive position attracted the attention of both domestic and international hotel operators and investors in 2015".

Increasing focus on development

The firm also predicts that 2016 will see further recovery, with events such as the 1916 Centenary and the success of 'Star Wars'.

Savills adds that it expects the focus to increasingly turn to development - particularly in Dublin - due to a shortfall in hotel bedrooms.

Significant Irish hotel sales in 2015 included Dalata's purchase of Moran Bewley's Hotels, in addition to the Clarion in Cork and Clayton Hotel in Galway.

Private equity fund Lone Star purchased Jurys Inn - while the Intercontinental Dublin (formerly The Four Seasons) was acquired by a consortium backed by US businessman John Malone.

Other high-profile hotel acquisitions included Adare Manor in Limerick by Irish businessman JP McManus, and the Castlemartyr Resort in Cork which was sold to a British hotelier.