The economic downturn is seeing the UK outbound market steer towards short-haul European destinations, according to Marriott Hotels.
Speaking at the company's Global Pursuits event on Wednesday (14 January), Marriot group and leisure sales director Ruth Wyatt told C&IT: "We had a very good end of the year, surprisingly, and have not seen too much downturn. But we have to be more flexible than before on terms and conditions. We are also seeing more demand for short-haul than long-haul."
Wyatt flagged up Lisbon, Rome and Paris as the most popular C&I destinations, adding that European hotels under Marriott's business hotel brand, Courtyard, are picking up business from clients seeking convenient locations over full service properties.
Looking at different industry sectors, she said: "The financial markets are most affected. But even the pharmaceuticals are still doing business, although they are trimming the length of stay."
Meanwhile, the company plans to open 15 hotels in key Scandinavian cities in the next four years.
The first of these is the 128-room Renaissance Hotel Malmö, Sweden, which opens in August with five meeting rooms and three restaurants.
A 228-room Courtyard hotel will open in Stockholm by the end of 2009 aimed at attracting the pharmaceutical market.
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