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UK hoteliers are missing the chance to build holidaygoers' sense of excitement at the time of booking a holiday.

That's according to TripAdvisor's assessment of its latest TripBarometer study, which focuses on the psychology of travel.

The fourth edition of the biannual study, conducted on behalf TripAdvisor by research firm Ipsos studied the emotions travellers (more than 53,000 globally and 3,448 in the UK) were most likely to feel at the five stages of travel: booking, arrival, during the stay, departure and back at home.

Meanwhile, the study also asked hoteliers what actions they took through the "traveller journey" to relate to their guests.

The study found that 62% of UK hoteliers said their main priority was to ensure a smooth and efficient process at booking.

But TripAdvisor pointed out that only 12% of UK hoteliers regarded providing guests with local information about their destination at the time of booking as a priority, while the same percentage said their priority was to make guests feel as though the holiday had already begun.

TripAdvisor said that when it came to global travellers, the main emotion they felt at the booking stage was one of excitement (54%) suggesting there was more UK hoteliers could do to take advantage of travellers' feeling of excitement.

However when The Caterer questioned TripAdvisor about how the survey of hoteliers was conducted, it emerged that they were only allowed to choose two "main priorities" from a list of eight, with "make guests feel reassured about their booking" coming in second with 56%:

For the UK, the results were as follows:

1. Make the process as smooth and efficient as possible – 62%
2. Make guests feel reassured about their booking – 56%3. Make guests feel as though the holiday has already begun – 12% 4. Introduce guests to the hotel (e.g. its location and facilities) – 25%5. Provide local information on the destination (e.g. weather) – 12% 6. Promote add on services to guests (e.g. transfers) – 1% 7. Provide additional travel suggestions (e.g. restaurant choices, attractions, itineraries) – 29%8. Other – 2%

Globally, the results were strikingly similar to the UK:

1. Make the process as smooth and efficient as possible – 52%
2. Make guests feel reassured about their booking – 46%3. Make guests feel as though the holiday has already begun – 16% 4. Introduce guests to the hotel (e.g. its location and facilities) – 31%5. Provide local information on the destination (e.g. weather) – 14% 6. Promote add on services to guests (e.g. transfers) – 12% 7. Provide additional travel suggestions (e.g. restaurant choices, attractions, itineraries) – 27%8. Other – 1%

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Results of a recent survey from Hotel solutions provider HRS underline that smartphones, tablets and corresponding apps are essential companions for many travellers today.

According to HRS research, conducted with the Fraunhofer IAO, 42 per cent of guests from the UK would rather operate their room’s lighting, air conditioning and television via a display instead of using a separate remote control or switch.
The survey also revealed that business travellers in particular are looking for a home from home experience when it comes to technology in their hotel room.
Globally, 44 per cent said they would like the availability of a tablet, while 23 per cent wanted a laptop in their room.
“As the fast-paced high-tech world finds its way into hotels with tablets instead of guest folders, smartphones instead of room keys, and apps instead of remote controls, the findings show that the hotel industry needs to adapt to the new user behaviour of many of their guests or risk falling behind,” said John West, MD for HRS UK.
One example of a UK hotel setting standards in delivering the latest technology, according to HRS, is Eccleston Square in London. Guests receive a personal iPad as a digital concierge and can navigate almost everything in their room via a touchpad. Among other innovations, the see-through bathroom wall can be turned into frosted glass. 
Jens Luik, Hotels Solutions Director for HRS UK and Ireland, said: “Hotels are certainly starting to respond to customer demands and recognising that busy business travellers want the latest technology and best gadgets available during their stay to ensure that they have the best experience.”

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Gary Davis, chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin, has confirmed that both brands are on the verge of expansion.

He told The Caterer  that he has looked at an extensive number of sites across the UK, including London and that due diligence is currently being carried out on around five locations for each brand.

“We expect to be able to announce deals on at least two Malmaisons and two Hotel du Vins in the coming weeks and months,” he said.

Davis was speaking after it had been widely reported that Malmaison had emerged as the front runner to buy the original headquarters of Scotland Yard on London’s Pall Mall to convert into a hotel. “We have looked at the site, but there is nothing concrete in the rumours.”

Funding for the expansion of the two brands has been forthcoming since they were both acquired in March 2013 by US-based private equity firm KSL Capital Partners for around £200m, after former parent company, MWB Group, went into administration.

Malmaison now boast 13 hotels, following the opening of its latest property in Dundee, and 15 Hotel du Vin properties.

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Catering giant Sodexo has scored a three-year hospitality, conference and banqueting contract at Dundee United’s Tannadice Park football stadium.

The Club has appointed Sodexo to develop the business and play an integral part in its growth strategy from the 2014/2015 Scottish Premier League season (SPL).

The growth plans will see the company’s new Sodexo Prestige Venues & Events arm offer bespoke catering and event packages for club delegates.

“We’ve been brought in for an initial three years to help drive the hospitality side of the business as well and help boost the growth of conference and banqueting, something we have had a great track record of at other venues across both Scotland and England,” commented Austin Tilsley, regional director of Sodexo Prestige in Scotland.

“Our chefs create dynamic, fresh menus using local ingredients whenever possible, something I believe will drive more new business to the club.”

Sodexo in Scotland already provides catering services at Pittodrie Stadium, home of fellow SPL club Aberdeen, and Hampden Park, the national football stadium. The Tannadice Park contract is its second venture in Dundee, after the Discovery Point visitor attraction.

The company said it is anticipated that the new win will help boost not only the club’s growth but also help influence tourists to visit the city as part of the wider Water Front development, set to see a £1b regeneration of the city

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Grant Hearn, former chief executive of Travelodge, has taken over as chairman of the Hotel Collection this week following the completion of a financial restructuring of the group of 21 regional four-star hotels.

Following a period of uncertainty, the Hotel Collection, which rebranded from Puma Hotels in June, will now be able to breathe new life in its under-invested portfolio of hotels, which include the 70-bedroom Lygon Arms in Broadway; the 152-bedroom Imperial, Torquay; and the 174-bedroom Majestic, Harrogate.

The UK Group of Hotels, parent company of the Hotel Collection, was placed into administration on 7 August, soon after private equity firm Lone Star Funds acquired the company’s debilitating £323m debt.

Handled by Duff & Phelps, the administration has enabled a proportion of the debt to be discarded and jobs of all the group’s 2,200 staff to be retained.

Paul Williams, managing director of Duff & Phelps, said that the restructure of UK Group of Hotels leaves the Hotel Collection “in a stronger position to carry its business into the future”.

Hearn heads a revitalised management team at the Hotel Collection which has been boosted in recent weeks by the appointment of Paul Manby as operations director, Andrea McKay as marketing director and Helen Smith as human resources director – all under the leadership of chief executive Fredrik Korallus.

Hearn, who led Travelodge for 11 years, the latter period which involved a financial restructure as the group entered a company voluntary arrangement, said: “The Hotel Collection has a fantastic portfolio of properties across the UK and I am thrilled to be joining them at this pivotal time. Fredrik and his team have done a great job in improving the performance of the company and now everyone is ready to take it to the next level as we invest in and build the portfolio.”

Korallus added: “Grant’s appointment as chairman will further strengthen our board and support our growth ambitions following 18 months of sustained growth in revenue, profit and market share. It’s great that we are now in a position to invest further in our assets and staff as we grow the business.”

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Nigel Cooper is to acquire Zibrant through a management buy out (MBO). 

The purchase follows the news that Zibrant’s parent company, Motivcom PLC, has received an offer by Sodexo to acquire its incentive and loyalty brands. Nigel’s 100% purchase of Zibrant’s share capital is expected to conclude in mid-November 2014. 

Zibrant is one of the most respected companies in the global meetings and events sector and is recognised for its high profile client base as well as its enlightened approach to employee and workplace practices. 

Zibrant has recently undergone a period of significant investment in its overall IT infrastructure and has streamlined its business to reflect clear product offerings, from procurement and compliance of policies to the creative live event sector. 

The offices and personnel in Derby, Milton Keynes, Faversham and Godalming will all remain un-affected by the MBO. 

Nigel Cooper, chairman of Zibrant, said “We have a great opportunity and I am thrilled at the prospect of what we can achieve. The recent investment and developments have already resulted in a leaner, fitter, more dynamic and more focussed business with strong levels of new business wins.  We will continue to develop and invest in our products and service infrastructure and further develop our presence in the meetings and events sector”. 


The London hotel market saw continued growth in August, despite the largest increase in supply this year.

That's according to the latest figures from STR Global, which reported a 3.3% growth in supply and a 4.3% growth in demand over the month.

The preliminary data also showed a 1.1% increase in occupancy to 87.2% and a 2.1% increase in average daily rate to £134.92, as well as a 3.3% growth in revenue per available room to £117.61.

“Despite the market seeing the largest supply increase so far this year, hotels still saw strong demand, resulting in positive occupancy growth”, said Elizabeth Winkle, managing director of STR Global.

“Two years after hosting the summer Olympics, it’s good to see strong results still coming out of the market. The strong performance in August also can be attributed to the calendar shift of Ramadan from August to July."

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Luton-based leisure and conferencing complex Venue 360 has awarded a £4m café and hospitality contract to event caterer Kudos.  
The four-year exclusive contract commences 1 October 2014. All previous catering was previously done in-house.
The venue is a popular wedding venue in Luton and has previously hosted events such as the British Olympic Appeal Dinner and pre-election campaigns by David Cameron.
The Kudos team will introduce new events menus and the offer will be tailored to local businesses providing a wide spectrum of price points. Kudos will also be introducing WorldHost customer service training to its events teams.
Jon Pryce, Managing Partner of Kudos, said “I am delighted that Venue 360 has selected Kudos as its catering partner. This contract win is another example of how our customer service excellence, local supply chain and passion for food is addressing customer needs. Venue 360 has listened carefully to their customers and they have selected a high quality, personal and flexible caterer that would be quick to react to their requirements and offer round the clock service.”
Andrew Waller, Head of Hospitality at Venue 360 said: “We are delighted to have selected Kudos as our catering partner; they understand our business and are set to revitalise the hospitality offering here.”

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Specialist venue provider etc.veneus has expanded its central London St Paul’s property at 200 Aldersgate, adding an adjacent floor.

Since opening in March 2012, etc.venues St Paul’s has looked after 2,400 events for over 250 companies, hosting everything from large conferences to small meetings and seminars.  

In mid-October 2014 etc.venues St Paul’s will be opening up three more meeting rooms, the largest able to accommodate 250 theatre-style. Additional breakout rooms, Creative 2 and Creative 3, will offer space for up to 75 and 100 delegates theatre-style or 10 exhibition stands. 

This additional space can be accessed directly from the existing etc space via a new staircase, and the new areas can be used in conjunction with the existing North and South Wing suites.
etc.venues has also announced the opening of its newest venue at Monument. The London venue, near to Monument station, offers 10 rooms over two floors with the largest seating 200. 

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Ashfield runs European Lung Foundation campaign

Ashfield Meetings & Events's Munich-based office has launched a ‘Healthy Lungs For Life’ campaign at the European Respiratory Society (ERS) International Congress, which is taking place in the German city from 6-10 September 2014.

'Healthy Lungs For Life' is one of the largest ever lung health campaigns and aims to raise awareness of the importance of healthy lungs.

The events agency has developed an experiential ‘Lung Function Area’ in Odeonsplatz where, among other activities, there will be public lung function testing.

Ashfield is also managing a number of groups attending the congress with separate clients, including Chiesi UK.

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