Confidence among senior hospitality industry figures is robust in 2011 despite the economic downturn, according to a survey by Deloitte. Just over half (51%) of the 102 respondents to a Deloitte survey said current trading is better than expected, while 17% said it’s unchanged and 12% said it’s worse than expected. Speaking at the Deloitte European Hotel Investment Conference in London today, Nick van Marken, global head of advisory, travel, hospitality and leisure at Deloitte, said: “The majority of major European cities have seen improved year-to-date (YTD) performance, albeit many are still lagging behind their peak levels – particularly in southern Europe. “London has had a spectacular year so far, with revPAR (YTD) 11% higher than 2010 and 13% ahead of the previous peak, reflecting the importance of the city as a true global gateway and one of a triumvirate of unique global hotel markets along with Paris and New York.” However, 58% of respondents anticipated UK regional hotel performance to remain flat in 2012. Respondents agreed that bank funding is still not readily available and expect the most active investors in the next five years to be high net-worth individuals and sovereign wealth funds, while private equity is also expected to become more active. Van Marken said: “Despite ongoing economic uncertainty, global hotel transactions in the first half of 2011 were over double the same period in 2010. In Europe, as predicted at last year’s conference, we have also seen an increase in portfolio deals. Funding continues to be a challenge as lenders focus on reducing their balance sheet risk. “Cash-rich investors have been the main beneficiaries of this credit squeeze and several all-equity deals have been seen.”