Hotels

South east hotel investment volumes break £1bn in 2018


Investment into south east hotels reached £1.36bn in 2018, a 39% increase on full year 2017 volumes according to international real estate advisor Savills.

The group said the market was “dominated” by portfolio transactions, however, domestic appetite for individual hotel assets remained a “key character of the region”.

The south east was the most active market outside of London, accounting for 20% of the total investment into UK hotels, behind the capital’s 39% share. The north recorded a 17% slice, Scotland 14% and the south west 10%.

Key deals in the region included Aberdeen Standard’s £40m sale of the 297 bedroom Travelodge at Heathrow Terminal 5 to Sidra Capital, and Principal Hotels £24m sale of the 140-bedroom De Vere Theobalds Estate, Waltham Cross to Aprirose.

Investment into south east hotels was made up of 39 individual assets and components of 15 portfolios. In total, 70% (£957m) of investment volumes were accounted for by hotels included in portfolio transactions.

Individual deals also accounted for £403m of investment, with the average lot size being approximately £13m. Additionally, domestic money dominated the single asset market, with UK investors accounting for 76% of individual transaction volumes.

Georgie Liggins, associate in the hotels team at Savills, said: “The south east continues to attract the lion’s share of investment outside of London. Appetite from visitors is driven by its diverse range of attractions from the beaches of Brighton and Norfolk to the historic market towns of Canterbury and Chichester.”

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Easyhotel opens latest property in Ipswich


Super-budget hotel chain Easyhotel has opened its latest hotel in Ipswich, featuring 94 rooms.

Easyhotels said they chose the location as Ipswich is “rapidly becoming a stylish technology hub” with more than 100 technology start-ups have made their home in the town and the Waterfront area.

St John Harvey, chief cultural historian at easyHotel, said: “Alongside its cosmopolitan culture, Ipswich really is a cradle of British innovation and inventiveness. Not many people know that the world’s first commercially marketed powered lawnmower was built by Ransomes in Ipswich in 1902.

“But it’s not all about lawn mowing. The plough, the iron bridge, the fried clam, a fully hydraulic auger for winemakers and fruit growers, a test that has drastically reduced the number of diabetics suffering heel ulcers at the town’s hospital and the HI Kayak rescue method were all invented in the town.”

Commenting on the design of the hotel Easyhotel said they have brought a “sort of upgraded seventies minimalist chic” to the rooms.

St John Harvey added: “Stylish, simple rooms, our signature orange colour, integrated en suites and simple, convenient touches such as integrated bedside USB charging points.”

EasyHotel’s currently owns 11 hotels comprising of 1,219 rooms and has a further 24 franchised hotels with 2,039 rooms. Alongside Ipswich the hotels are located in Liverpool, Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Reading and London.

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Premier Inn owner sees total sales up for third quarter


Whitbread, the owner of Premier Inn, has reported total sales growth of 2.5% for the hotel brand in its Q3 trade report.

The UK business achieved a total accommodation sales growth of 3.5% in the third quarter, which group said reflected a “strong central London market and a weak regional market”.

Additionally, over 2,000 new rooms have been added in FY19 so far, and the group said “occupancy remained” high at over 80%.

Whitbread said it is now a “focused hotel business”, with over 800 hotels in the UK, Germany and the Middle East operating under the Premier Inn brand, and a “committed pipeline of over 20,000 additional rooms”.

Whitbread CEO Alison Brittain said: “We are cautious about the macro environment for the next financial year due to increased uncertainty and continuing high inflation. Although we are confident in our ability to create value from ongoing investment in the UK and increasing investment in international growth, in this environment we expect underlying profit before tax in FY20 to be consistent with this year.”

She added: “Our unique model and leading market position in the UK puts us in a strong position to capture structural growth opportunities in the UK and internationally.

“Investing in growth through our disciplined approach to capital allocation ensures we can create sustainable value for shareholders over the longer-term. We look forward to presenting this in further detail at our Capital Markets Day.”

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UK hotel market to continue growth in 2019 according to Chrisite & Co


Despite “growing operational costs” and “concerns over staff recruitment in post-Brexit Britain”, the UK hotel market showed “encouraging signs of growth” in 2018 which looks set to continue in 2019, according to the latest annual report by Christie & Co.

The report, ‘Business Outlook 2019: Navigate, Innovate, Accelerate’ forecast that RevPAR growth in both London and the UK regions would be steady, with growth of +0.6% and +0.7% in London and the regions respectively, between 2018 and 2019. Supply was also found to show healthy increases, with many of the major British cities such as Manchester, Belfast and Edinburgh seeing “strong” pipelines in the year ahead.

The report also found international investment continued to be a key driver, with Christie & Co identifying capital from across the globe, particularly from European investors making up more than 50% of UK investment in 2018. Average prices also remained economically positive throughout 2018 with hotels seeing a 4% increase.

Brexit was identified as a “pivotal factor” for businesses within the hospitality sector in the UK, which employs around 400,000 EU migrant workers, and Christie & Co said any changes to immigration policies “could have a notable impact”.

Looking to the year ahead, the report outlined Christie & Co’s market predictions; flat or negative profit growth for some operators due to higher costs, a potential increase in distressed positions in the second half of 2019, and new developments in technology being implemented to improve customer service and productivity.

Barrie Williams, managing director – hospitality at Christie & Co said: “The UK hotel market remains an attractive investment proposition and appeals to a wide range of buyers. Christie & Co continue to see many opportunities for value creation in the hotel market and across brokerage, valuation and consultancy, we are well placed to provide all types of investors with advice.”

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Hotels defy consumer spending decline in December


Consumer spending continued to fall in the month of December with a 1% decline, however hotels managed to defy the trend – with spending having increased by 7.6%.

This is according to Visa’s UK Consumer Spending Index, which showed that overall expenditure declined 1% year-on-year in December – the fastest decline seen since April.

However hotels and restaurants outperformed other UK sectors in December, and experienced the joint-quickest rate of increase in the past 20 months.  

For the whole of 2018 Visa’s index found expenditure has fallen in eight months of the year, underscoring “a relatively weak overall picture of household spending”. Lower expenditure was largely driven by a disappointing performance by the high street, as ‘face-to-face’ spending fell -1.6% on an annual basis in December.

Visa also found that online spending remained “relatively subdued”, with expenditure rising by just 0.5% year-on-year.

Adolfo Laurenti, European principal economist at Visa, said: “The further decline in UK consumer spending in December 2018 is a disappointment, but not a surprise. Notwithstanding a backdrop of low unemployment and rising wages, households remained very cautious at the end of the year – as they were for most of 2018.

“An acceleration in spending at hotels, restaurants and bars (+7.6% year-on-year) suggests that some categories of discretionary spending are holding up better than the market as a whole. And the modest pickup in ecommerce point to the resilience of digital channels of distribution, a favorable long-term trend that recent woes have not derailed.”

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Audleys Wood Hotel named Hand Picked Hotels’ ‘Hotel of the Year’


Hand Picked Hotels, a collection of privately-owned country house hotels and spa resorts, has awarded Audleys Wood Hotel in Hampshire its Hotel of the Year accolade.

The 72-room hotel, situated  just outside Basingstoke, was selected from Hand Picked Hotels’ portfolio of 19 hotels in the UK and the Channel Islands, in recognition of its “outstanding performance throughout 2018”.

The accolade was presented to Richard Storey, GM of the property, during the annual awards ceremony held at New Hall Hotel & Spa in Birmingham, during which the hotel was praised for its “commitment to delivering an excellent guest experience” and “solid financial results” by Julia Hands, chairman and CEO of Hand Picked Hotels.

Hands said: “It gives me great pleasure to present this award to Audleys Wood Hotel. In addition to achieving strong financial performance during the year, Richard and his team have demonstrated exceptional levels of guest care and attention to detail, which is evident from its high customer satisfaction scores, rave guest reviews and consistent repeat bookings.”

Storey added: “On behalf of the entire team at Audleys Wood, I am delighted to accept this award.  Hand Picked Hotels is committed to maintaining meticulous quality standards and our teams are trained to be completely guest-focused so I thank each and every one of the team at Audleys Wood for helping to deliver a successful year for the hotel that is recognised by both our guests and our colleagues.

“The hotel is multifaceted, appealing to a wide range of audiences from our regular corporate guests to those on a romantic break, delegates attending a meeting and wedding parties celebrating their special day, so our teams have to be agile and responsive to ever changing guest needs.  This award underlines the expertise, dedication and passion within the team and I am extremely proud.”

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The Biltmore to join Hilton’s new luxury collection


The Biltmore is set to open under Hilton’s new luxury collection brand  LXR Hotels & Resorts’ following an agreement between Hilton and Millennium & Copthorne Hotels.

The luxury hotel, located in the heart of Mayfair on Grosvenor Square, will open for business in Spring 2019, marking the new brand’s European debut.

The hotel, which will be known as The Biltmore, Mayfair – LXR Hotels & Resorts, has undergone a multimillion-pound redevelopment following its closure in early July 2018. Designed by Goddard Littlefair, the hotel will offer 257 luxury guest rooms, many with views over Grosvenor Square, as well as 51 curated suites.

Martin Rinck, executive vice president and global head Luxury & Lifestyle Group, Hilton said: “LXR properties are truly best-in-class hotels, known for their distinctive character and unrivalled service. We are incredibly excited that The Biltmore, Mayfair will bring to life everything that the brand stands for by joining as the first LXR hotel in Europe.”

LXR is a collection of independent hotels which Hilton says is distinguished by an “unrivalled commitment to personalised attention and luxurious yet locally immersive experiences for guests”. Last year, the collection welcomed its maiden hotel in Dubai at Habtoor Palace, a 234-guest room luxury hotel situated on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The Biltmore, Mayfair will feature an all-year round alfresco terrace, an exclusive cocktail bar and a large gymtech fitness suite. In addition, the hotel will showcase an 500 sqm ballroom with capacity for up to 700 guests, with further suites available for smaller events.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, Development, EMEA, Hilton, said: “LXR is designed to bring together the best of luxury in global destinations. The Biltmore, Mayfair is a stunning addition to the new collection and prestigious extension to Hilton’s growing luxury portfolio in London. Guests will experience first-class service in the heart of Mayfair, and the unique craftsmanship and historic surroundings of the hotel will make for a truly memorable stay.”

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UK hotel market struggling to keep up with Europe, says UKHospitality


New data from UKHospitality has revealed that the UK hotel market is underperforming compared to the EU average “on every key metric”.

According to the group, in November 2018 Europe saw year-on-year (YOY) RevPar increases of 4.5%, compared with 1.7% in the UK, and occupancy results on the continent rose by 1.2% during the month, compared with 0.6% in England.

Additionally, ADR change by country in November 2018 vs 2017 saw a 2.7% increase in the European hotel sector, compared with 1% in Britain.

The group said it is now urging the government to “foster an operating environment that enables the hotel market to thrive and remain competitive against European counterparts”.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “Whilst we wait to review the full year figures for 2018, data showing the UK’s latest performance is a concern – particularly during a time of such great political and economic uncertainty.

“These figures arrive at a time when an ill-advised proposition of a tourist tax remains a possibility, business rates continue to damage the growth of the hospitality sector as a whole and more clarity is desperately needed on the Brexit deal and future immigration system.”

She added: “The decisions made in Westminster in 2019 will have a significant impact on our sector and we are making every effort to ensure that the government fully understands what the sector needs to fulfil its growth potential and continue its significant contribution to the UK’s economic and social wellbeing.”

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CastleCollection.com acquires Perthshire spa hotel for £2.5m


The 72-bedroom Scotland’s Hotel and Leisure Club hotel in the town of Pitlochry, Perthshire, has been sold in an off-market deal to Irish-owned CastleCollection.com, off a guide price of £2.5m for the freehold property and business.

The hotel features a lounge, restaurant and swimming pool, as well as planning consent for 24 additional bedrooms, and was sold by Julian Troup, head of Colliers’ UK Hotels Agency, on behalf of the Crerar Hotel Group.

Troup said: “The acquisition of Scotland’s was conducted in a highly confidential fashion and is a further example of domestic and overseas buyers looking to secure a hotel in a prime Scottish location.”

CastleCollection.com, which is owned and run by the MacCumhaill family, said the acquisition forms the group’s seventh hotel property across Scotland, Ireland and Wales and joins Fishers Hotel and Atholl Palace, also in Pitlochry.

Fionn MacCumhaill, managing director of the CastleCollection.com,added: “We are delighted to add Scotland’s Hotel & Leisure Club to our collection, which will strengthen the hotel base and tourist offering, in what we believe is the heart of Scotland.

“Pitlochry is a great choice for staycation tourism and we aim to create a modern metro boutique hotel with spa to grow this segment of the market.

MacCumhaill added: “We will be investing a further £2m over the coming year to develop Scotland’s Hotel & Leisure Club into a modern vibrant metro boutique hotel, so keep an eye on ScotlandsHotel.com for updates and great new special offers.”

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Bike and Boot Inns acquires Mount Hotel


The Mount Hotel, located in the Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough, has been acquired by leisure brand Bike and Boot Inns.

The 50-bedroom, five storey hotel was previously owned and operated by the Lothian family from Glasgow for several years, who have decided to sell in order to relocate back to Scotland.

Bike and Boot Inns plan to undertake “significant investment, alterations and upgrades” to the hotel, with The Mount to reopen, fully refurbished and rebranded, in summer 2019.

Stewart Lothian, former owner of the Mount Hotel, said: “It is with a heavy heart that the family chose to sell the hotel which was largely for logistical reasons given the commuting distances between Scarborough and Glasgow. Our strong hopes were that The Mount would be sold for ongoing use and to a buyer who would invest and reinvigorate the hotel.”

Bike and Boot Inns is led by Simon Rhatigan and Simon Kershaw. Kershaw added: “This is our first acquisition and our intention is to roll out the brand, initially across the north of England in key leisure and tourist locations, such as coastal towns and national parks.

“Our target client base is the short break market but with facilities for cyclist, walkers, dog owners and those who simply enjoy some of the most beautiful areas in the country.”

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A recent survey from hotel solutions provider HRS has found that the demand for innovative technology in hotels is on the rise

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