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M by Montcalm, the new 269-bedroom property by Montcalm Luxury Hotels London, is set to open in Shoreditch this spring.

Housed in a new, futuristic, 18-storey building on City Road, M by Montcalm is the fifth property in the group’s portfolio.

There will be four categories of bedroom – deluxe, club, junior suite and suite – featuring Elemis and Hermès toiletries, rain showers and Bose speakers.

They will all feature free Wi-Fi and a control panel allowing guests to adjust the lighting, temperature and aroma, control the curtains and order room service, while wall-mounted plasma screens will double as mirrors.

Two restaurants will be launched within the hotel. The first, located on the ground and mezzanine floors, will offer a more relaxed space for guests and locals, as well as a bar, while the second restaurant, on the 17th floor is expected to be more refined.

Conference and meeting facilities that can accommodate up to 200 people will be on offer, as well as the M Spa, featuring a range of therapies, a Versace-tiled swimming pool with steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, and gym.

Hotel manager of the M by Montcalm is Ray Goertz, who was previously director of Rooms at ME London.

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Salford-based live communications agency WRG has appointed Ben Atherton to the role of client director. He will be based in the agency’s London office and will focus on the key technology accounts. 
Atherton brings 15 years of experience in the telecoms and professional services sectors, as well as expertise in major events and commercial sponsorship activation having led European and global teams for a number of event marketing campaigns, including activations during the last two Olympic Games.
Most recently he was an associate director at EY where he worked on business awards programmes.
David Sharrock, WRG’s CEO said: “Ben worked on the Vancouver and London Olympic Games where he ran major customer engagement programmes for Avaya and Cisco. We are delighted to welcome him to WRG and look forward to maximising his experience to further strengthen our delivery within the technology sector.”
Atherton added: “I have enjoyed a fantastic working relationship with WRG over many years as a client and am thrilled to be part of the leadership team at this hugely exciting time for the business.”

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The Hilton London Docklands Riverside hotel will rebrand to the Doubletree by Hilton London Docklands hotel later this year after an extensive refurbishment.

The hotel will become London’s tenth Doubletree by Hilton property and will undergo extensive refurbishment to its 378 guestrooms, reception area, ferry entrance, Terrace Restaurant and all 16 meeting rooms.

Patrick Fitzgibbon, senior vice president, development, Europe & Africa, Hilton Worldwide, said: "The property’s recent sale and lease agreement’s conclusion has created a unique opportunity to redevelop and transition the hotel under our upscale Doubletree by Hilton brand.

"Building on our existing relationship with H.I.G. Capital and following a substantial refurbishment programme, we are looking forward to introducing new guests to Doubletree by Hilton in one of London’s prime business districts."

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Two hotels, which will operate under brands from InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), are to be developed at the new £1b University of Manchester campus.

The 210-bedroom Crowne Plaza Manchester – Oxford Road and 116-bedroom Staybridge Suites Manchester – Oxford Road will both operate under a franchise agreement with the owner M&L Hospitality, an exisiting partner, and be managed by Cycas Hospitality. They are set to open at the end of 2016. 

M&L Hospitality is taking a 125-year lease on land owned by the University of Manchester for the dual hotel build, which is part of the wider redevelopment of the Manchester Business School (MBS).

Guests to the two new hotels are expected to come from visitors to the MBS and the university, along with long-stay corporate clients.

Philip Lassman, director of development for the UK & Ireland IHG, said: “We’re delighted to be developing more hotels with M&L Hospitality.  Manchester is a key city for us and it’s great to see an appetite for our extended stay brand Staybridge Suites here.  Crowne Plaza Manchester – Oxford Road will be our third Crowne Plaza hotel in Manchester.”

Professor Fiona Devine, head of MBS, added: “In our 50th anniversary year, our aim is to provide high end accommodation that will have wider benefits for visitors to the University of Manchester, the city and region. The Staybridge Suites hotel in particular offers a range of benefits to our MBA delegates who are often in Manchester for extended periods. Offering longer stays means guests can combine business trips with leisure and are able to visit Manchester and other areas in the North West.”

The opening of Crowne Plaza Manchester – Oxford Road and Staybridge Suites Manchester – Oxford Road will take IHG’s portfolio of hotels in Manchester to 21.

IHG franchises, leases, manages or owns over 4,700 hotels and 697,000 bedrooms in nearly 100 countries, across nine brands include InterContinental Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn, and Holiday Inn Express.

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New report shows 14% growth in supply chain globally, exponential corporate, relocation and online demand and increasing investor interest in the sector.

  • 748,437 serviced apartments worldwide operating in 9,875 locations
  • Inventory up 14% year-on-year and 80.1% since 2008
  • Apartment usage for assignment/project work growing in 72.73% of companies
  • Distribution widening – 75% of operators now receive bookings from OTAs

Compiled by Travel Intelligence Network (TIN) for The Apartment Service, the new edition is the most detailed yet, including over 30 interviews and findings of surveys conducted amongst 2,500 serviced apartment operators, associations, buyers and agents.
The report highlights that the serviced apartment industry has reached a level of maturity that is showing future growth of supply through a multiple of factors, including sustained investment in delivering new products, continued opportunities in educating buyers and driving awareness of the sector through summits, conferences and thought leadership.

Global supply of serviced apartments has increased by 14% since the previous edition of the report which was published in June 2013.
Charlie McCrow, CEO The Apartment Service believes ‘the market doubled over the past 12 years’ and forecasts it will double in size again in the next 4 years.
There are now 748,437 serviced apartments worldwide – an 80.1% increase in just seven years.  GSAIR 2015-16 highlights significant interest from institutional property investors as a source of considerable future growth in inventory across the globe. 
69.12% of operators say they will increase the number of apartments in existing locations over the next two years, predominately in Europe and Asia.  
Global networks and partnerships, such as the TAS Alliance launched in February 2014, have provided a platform for all brands and operators to showcase their products. These alliances are helping the largest and the smallest operators to gain access to global booking channels and global serviced apartment programmes worldwide.
For the first time, the GSAIR has ranked the leading serviced apartment brands by product and consumer ratings, as The Apartment Service’s CEO Charlie McCrow explains.
“There has been much said and written recently about defining the sector so we wanted to assess whether the variations in amenities provided by some of the leading brands actually reflect what travellers actually want. We compared these to aggregated customer review scores on Trip Advisor and”
“The theory is that greater product consistency and growing brands will drive consumers to base their purchasing choices on the points of difference between operators’ brands. However we believe that part of the appeal of serviced apartments is that no two products are ever completely identical” says McCrow.

As serviced apartment supply has increased, so has the product’s popularity amongst corporate and relocation travellers. GSAIR predicts that the Millennial Travellers will be enthusiastic adopters and will drive future design, content and distribution.
81.48% of survey respondents prefer serviced apartments to hotels, compared to 78.1% in 2013.  71.6% cite the ability to cook their own meals or entertain, as a factor, 66.6% privacy and 58.3% the ‘overall’ serviced apartment environment.
A competitive market rate remains the primary decision making factor for 75.4% of corporates, followed by total cost of stay, duty of care and traveller/assignee feedback.

GSAIR highlights a number of challenges that are viewed as opportunities for our sector.
“Although the challenges our industry faces are not new, the emphasis is definitely changing” says Jo Layton, MD Group Commercial Sales at The Apartment Service.
Layton adds ‘Over the last 18 months since the 4th edition 2013 -2014 GSAIR report - the serviced apartment industry has continued to grow exponentially.
The industry is enjoying sharing ideas, information and resources through many vehicles, and continues to drive conversation, debate and opinion that has moved the industry forward with subjects from quality to service; from security to local legislation and from sales to distribution – all the time keeping the stakeholders connected through active conversation.
I am excited to be part of The Apartment Service team distributing this current edition, it is definitely the most comprehensive, globally focused and accessible report so far.’

For further information or to request an interview about the Global Serviced Apartments Industry Report please contact:


Charles McCrow
Jo Layton
MD Group Commercial Sales
Bard Vos
Marketing Executive

Promoting gender parity in the hospitality and wider UK business continues to be a hot topic with daily references in the press.  Back in January Zibrant’s Fay Sharpe announced the launch of a new mentoring initiative, Fast Forward 15, aimed at inspiring, encouraging and empowering women in the events, hospitality and related industry to be the best they can be.  The industry first programme provides 15 women with the opportunity to be mentored, encouraged and advised by an industry expert for one year, as well as being part of a wider community of successful women supporters. 

The initiative is not for profit and has received accreditation and endorsement from the HBAA, MPI and APPG.  Fast Forward 15 represents a fantastic opportunity for anyone in the meeting and events sector, with mentors including Sallie Coventry (Portfolio Director, IBTM), Joanna Lawlor (Global Events Director, AstraZeneca), Karen Sumner (Senior Events Manager, Allen & Overy LLP) and Jo Austin (Head of Sales, Lime Venue Portfolio) plus Juliette Price (Executive Director, HBAA).

With 75% of our industry makeup being female, this figure is nowhere near reflected within senior management teams and on boards up and down the country.   Women have to work harder to gain more recognition in the workplace and career progression. Fast Forward 15 wants to address this concern, and tackle it head-on. We believe that by highlighting the rising female stars in our industry we can start to develop meaningful gender balance, ensuring the best are able to flourish, remember it is these people who will be securing the future of hospitality in years to come. Furthermore, it will hopefully start to encourage more companies to consider more female candidates for management and board positions.

Applications close this Friday 27th February 2015 and I would urge and hope that any women reading this give careful consideration to applying, which can be done online at  If you have any questions please email


Hoteliers have seen the strongest January in five years thanks to a rise in consumer optimism, tourism spend and the improving state of the economy.

According to preliminary figures from business advisory and accountancy firm BDO, hoteliers beat the expected New Year slump to achieve the strongest figures across London and the regions since 2010.

In London, rooms yield was up 8% to £74.98 compared to £69.45 for the same period in 2014. This was largely due to a 5% increase in average room rate (up to £104.86 compared to £99.86) and strong demand that saw occupancy rise 2.8% to 71.5% (compared to 69.5%).

In the regions, the average room rate rose by 7.9% to £55.81 (compared to £51.72 in 2014), while occupancy increased by 4.5% to 59.7% (compared to 57.1% in 2014). Rooms yield was up 12.7% to £33.30, compared to £29.54 in the same period in 2014.

BDO's analysis suggested that lower petrol costs and an increase in wage growth alongside "supermarket price wars", have meant that consumers have more cash to spend, which has in turn boosted domestic tourism.

Robert Barnard, partner at BDO, said the low inflation rate (at 0.4% in January) was good news for hoteliers as it would mean consumers would spend more on travel and tourism.

He predicted that this would continue for the next few months, but also advised hoteliers to "take this opportunity to make hay while the sun shines... for the first part of 2015 at least. The prospect for the future remains robust; hoteliers should make the most of this welcome opportunity."

The results come amid strong results for tourism in the UK in the past few months, including record tourist spend and inbound visitor figures for 2014.

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Yesterday afternoon our Chair Jacqui Kavanagh took to the stage in the Keynote Theatre at International Confex 2015, to discuss whether industry kitemarks such as AIM, are an important consideration to professionals, agents and venues. She was joined on the panel by Nick Milne, Chair of AIM's Development Committee, Mark Handforth, Director of Compliant Venues and Caroline MacKenzie, Director of Association Services at Zibrant.

Of the many points discussed, Jacqui was keen to reiterate that agents needed to be more aware and supportive of the AIM accreditation as it fostered best practice in standards and service in the industry. She also highlighted the confidence emphasised by having an accreditation and that accreditations themselves need to be a ‘must have’ not a ‘nice to have’. Kavanagh also reinforced the HBAA’s complete support of the initiative.

Also, Triggerfish also chaired a panel on day one with Fay Sharpe, Managing Director of Zibrant, Claire Wormsley, Director of Global Conference Network, Colin Bailey, Managing Director of Levy Restaurants UK and Rebecca Kane-Burton, General Manager at The O2.

The panelists discussed everything currently affecting their businesses – from catering, to sustainability, to whether event management degrees are worth it, and as ever, how to be more creative and move with the times. A theme throughout the session was that people still want to meet and engage, and are open to new opportunities, but that creativity and personal customer service need to be much more of a priority.

Read the top quotes from the industry figureheads here:

“The industry needs to turn itself on its head, shake it up and look at what the customer wants”

“The biggest investment in events and ROI is still the content and why we’re doing it”

“Every sector has a challenge – there’s lots of business out there, as an industry we have to be creative”

“Take inspiration from the setting, engage people, work harder”

Accor’s Hotelnvest completed the sale and acquisition of 20 hotels in the UK and Ireland, including a £70m deal in December.

The hotel operator’s ownership and investment arm was launched in November 2013, alongside Hotel Services, the operating and franchisor part of the business, as Accor adjusted its property strategy to no longer expand through leases to actively look to buy in or reposition many existing rental agreements. 

The £70.2m deal was the biggest of 2014 and saw HotelInvest acquire 13 hotels with a total of 1,446 rooms, previously leased from real estate investor Tritax.

The hotels, in eight locations across the UK including London, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, moved from variable lease arrangements to group ownership. HotelInvest UK will manage each property according to its location and profitability, which may result in individual sales and management or franchise opportunities.

Other deals in 2014 included the conversion of Ibis budget hotels in Leicester and Derby from fixed leases to franchises; the raising of capital through the sale of two Novotel hotels in Nottingham and Stevenage to Fairview, which have now been franchised back to Accor UK; and the sale of the Ibis Styles in St Andrew’s Square Edinburgh to St James’s Hotel Ltd, while retaining the management contract.

HotelInvest has just completed the acquisition of a site in London where a 196-room Ibis hotel will open in 2017 as part of the Canning Town and Custom House Regeneration Programme developed by property group Bouygues UK. A new build 310-room Novotel at Canary Wharf is also due to open that year.

John Ozinga, chief operating officer of HotelInvest, said: “The past 12 months have been an important step forward in the restructuring of our asset portfolio. The operations successfully carried out in the economy and midscale segment by the UK teams are fully aligned with HotelInvest’s strategy which is to become the largest and best performing hotel investor in Europe.”

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London hotels are now the most expensive in Europe, while Leeds saw the biggest price hikes among UK cities in 2014, according to hotel solutions provider HRS.

The UK capital has knocked Zurich off the top spot, with average hotels rates of £126 per night, followed by Zurich with average room rates of £110 per night, and Paris in third place at £106 per night. 

HRS analysed bookings made via its HRS hotel portal in 2014, which revealed that throughout the UK and Ireland, average prices for hotels rooms grew steadily in all the major cities in 2014 compared with 2013. 

Leeds hotels saw the highest price rise, with an average increase of 21.6%. London followed behind with an average increase of 16.1%, while Birmingham saw an average rise of 14.5%. All UK and Ireland cities recorded an increase in average room rates of at least 9% for 2014.

Edinburgh was the second most expensive UK city, with average rates of £99 a night, while Bristol was third on £87. The city with the cheapest average hotel rate in the UK was Birmingham, at £72 per night.

Jon West, managing director of HRS UK & Ireland, said: "These figures show that UK hoteliers are clearly reaping the rewards from an uplift in demand from both leisure and business travellers. This is great news for hoteliers who are able to charge more on average for their rooms per night, but obviously not so great for guests paying a premium.

"In fact, as rates continue to increase in the UK and Ireland, and fluctuate globally, we really would urge travel and procurement managers to review the effectiveness of their travel programmes on a regular basis to ensure they’re getting the best rates possible to make substantial savings for the long-term."

Worldwide, New York was the most expensive city for an average night’s stay at £157 per night, followed by Washington (£130) and Rio de Janeiro (£128).

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