easyHotel has revealed it is in discussions with local authorities across the country with a view to establishing hotels in council buildings which are not fully utilised.
St John Harvey, franchise development director at easyHotel, told Insider that the brand had held positive discussion with a number of councils.
With easyHotel’s business model providing the flexibility to take over part of a building, the initiative provides councils with the opportunity to make a return from an asset that was otherwise redundant.
“Since the financial crash of 2007/2008 the public sector has contracted and we suspect they have buildings that are either partly occupied or vacant and are located in absolutely the right position for an easyHotel,” said Harvey.
The easyHotel brand typically targets a demographic of travellers aged between 18 and 40 with a simple product, which is compact but clean and comfortable.
Hotels are located right in the centre of a city or town, no more than a five-minute walk from food and beverage and ten to 15 minutes’ walk from the nearest bus station or main train station.
“The public sector estate typically has plenty of buildings that meet that criteria that might not be fully utilised,” said Harvey.
“We’ve started to reach out to local authorities, to the district boroughs and unitary authorities and in due course we’ll start talking to the NHS as well, because I think they would fall into this category, and to see what they have available.”
So far discussions, with local authorities across the UK, have proved to be “very encouraging”, Harvey said, adding that the idea “resonates”.
As easyHotel does not require exclusive use of a building, a hotel could be established in a council property which houses, for instance, a library on the ground floor but is otherwise vacant.
“It’s a really flexible model which allows councils to get as much or as little involved as they want, but ultimately has a great civic message,” said Harvey.
“We are driving business to the town centre, we are stimulating local firms because we’re not competing with bars and restaurants, and we are attracting people to visit the town.
He added: “Here’s a building that may be an eyesore or threatened with closure but no longer needs to face that fate.”
By Laurence Kilgannon
Source: Insider Media