Quest launches inaugural UK hotel

November 2, 2019

Australia’s largest apartment hotel network, Quest Apartment Hotels has extended its international portfolio, launching an inaugural UK property.

The new Quest Liverpool City Centre hotel brings 100 premium serviced apartments to the iconic UK town, serving as the primary point of entry for Quest’s continued expansion in the region.

 
Over £10m was invested to covert the former commercial office space into a hotel, with management company Cycas Hospitality appointed as independent operating partner.

Quest founder and executive chairman, Paul Constantinou said that while the headwinds brought on by Brexit had introduced some unexpected sector conditions, there was still a growing demand for business travel accommodation.

“There are plenty of serviced apartment operators in the UK, but we have certainly identified an opportunity to grow market share of the apartment hotel sector as a proportion of the overall accommodation market in the UK,” Constantinou said.

Related: Travel and Leisure Franchises UK – Should You Buy A UK Travel Agency Franchise?

“Quest’s offering targets both extended and short-stay business travellers requiring more than just a standard hotel stay and looking for a genuine home away from home experience. The ability to seamlessly transition between work and home life is at the core of our offering.”

Quest Liverpool City Centre

While the new Liverpool City Centre hotel will be corporately-owned, Constantinou reiterated that franchise operations will commence once critical mass has been achieved.

“The demand for business traveller accommodation, the growing rate of business activity in the UK and the ease of doing business makes Liverpool an ideal location,” Constantinou said.

“Quest Liverpool City Centre is a bellwether for our UK expansion and we look forward to building relationships with the business community in the UK.”

Related: Travel & Leisure Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

The key areas for initial franchise exploration have been identified, with Quest looking to target Birmingham, Bristol, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Belfast and commercial areas of Greater London moving forward.

Paris D’Allessandro, newly appointed general manager of Quest Liverpool City Centre said the brand had a bright future on the UK market.

“Australian hospitality companies carry an international reputation for their professionalism and premium standards. We look forward to working closely with our colleagues at Quest to build the brand in the UK,” D’Allessandro said.

The new Quest Liverpool City Centre is just one of ten new Quest properties opening across Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom over the next two years.

By Nick Hall

Source: Franchise Business

EasyHotel makes development progress in three markets

October 27, 2019

Super budget hotel developer and operator easyHotel updated the market on its developments on Wednesday, reporting that at its owned hotel at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport in France, planning permission for the 209-room property had now been granted.

The AIM-traded company said it had secured an operating lease agreement with airport management company Groupe ADP, with the hotel to be let on a 24-year fully repairing and insuring lease at an annual rent of approximately €1.1m.

 
It said the site was being developed by Linkcity Ile de France – a subsidiary of Bouygues Construction – and construction works would now begin “imminently”, with the new hotel expected to open during the 2021 financial year.

Looking at its franchised hotel development pipeline, in Derby the company confirmed that it had signed a franchise agreement with Ushba for the development of a new 110-room hotel.

Related: Travel and Leisure Franchises UK – Should You Buy A UK Travel Agency Franchise?

Located close to the city centre and main transport hubs of the city, the hotel was expected to open in 2021.

In Tel Aviv, Israel, easyHotel said it had signed a 20-year exclusive franchise agreement with R&N Services to support the brand’s development in the city.

The agreement included the development of three initial hotels in prime locations across Tel Aviv, totalling 667 rooms.

It added that the hotels were expected to open by late 2022.

Related: Travel & Leisure Franchises – Search Franchise Reviews Directory

“I am pleased to report further progress against our strategy as we continue to expand our network of super budget hotels in city-centre locations, both in the UK and across international markets,” said chief executive officer Guy Parsons.

“The board believes that the current economic uncertainties will continue to present attractive investment opportunities for the brand and we look forward to announcing further updates in due course.”

By Josh White

Source: ShareCast

Whitbread reports first half drop in pretax profits

October 24, 2019

Whitbread Plc (LON: WTB) have announced a first half drop in pre-tax profit and UK accommodation sales amid a challenging UK leisure and hotel market.

The owners of the Premier Inn franchise speculated about tough political and economic uncertainties driving the drop in profits and sales. Firms such as Marriott (NASDAQ: MAR) and Elegant Hotels (LON: EHG) have merged to stimulate business.

 
Alison Britain, Chief Executive at the Premier Inn group described the first half performance as ‘resilient’ amid testing times for not just the leisure industry but UK business in general.

She said: “Market conditions in the UK continue to be challenging with business confidence remaining weak and leisure confidence in decline, coinciding with heightened political and economic uncertainty.Whilst the near-term market conditions in the UK remain uncertain, we have confidence in the long-term structural opportunities available in the domestic budget travel markets in the UK and Germany.”

Related: Travel and Leisure Franchises UK – Should You Buy A UK Travel Agency Franchise?

Britain added “Shorter-term trading conditions in the UK regional market have been difficult, particularly in the business segment where we have a higher proportion of our revenue, whilst trading in London remained strong.”

Adjusted profit before tax slipped by 4.1% to £236 million in the first six months of this year compared to the £246 million figure previously mentioned.

Whitbread sold Costa Coffee to Coca Cola (NYSE: KO) last year in a for £3.9 billion, while completing a £2 billion share buyback in July 2019.

Total UK accommodation sales dropped by 0.6% while like for like sales fell 3.6% following tough domestic market conditions.

The group concluded by saying that there is no way to speculate how business and investment will unfold in 2020, such is the uncertainty of both economic and political relations currently.

Russell Pointon, Consumer and Media Director at Edison Group said: “Market conditions in the UK continue to be challenging with business confidence remaining weak and leisure confidence in decline, coinciding with heightened political and economic uncertainty, which has continued into the third quarter of FY20. This has impacted hotel domestic demand, particularly in the regional market, where 80% of Premier Inn hotels are located. There has also been a greater decline in short-lead discretionary bookings, which tend to be at higher price points.”

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He added “Guidance given in April 2019 for costs, efficiency savings, investment in Germany and revenue sensitivity remain unchanged but it is difficult to predict how business confidence and business investment will evolve in the second half of FY20 and into FY21 and impact demand for short-stay, domestic travel. Whitbread’s business model has a relatively high degree of operating leverage – with every 1% movement in RevPAR, PBT is impacted by £12-15m.”

Currently, shares of Whitbread Plc are trading at 4,185p per share, seeing a 0.43% fall. 22/10/19 10:23BST.

By Ishen Patel

Source: UK Investor Magazine

easyHotel To Review Dividend Policy As Hotels Outperform UK Market

October 20, 2019

easyHotel PLC on Friday said it will consider its dividend policy amid challenging trading conditions which are not expected to improve over the medium-term.

The stock was trading 11% higher in London on Friday in early trade at 110.00 pence a share.

 
The super-budget hotel chain said total system sales were up 28% in the year to the end of September to GBP47.8 million from GBP37.3 million reported a year ago.

easyHotel highlighted that despite the ongoing political and economic uncertainty facing the UK, owned hotels have continued to outperform the UK hotel market on a like-for-like basis.

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easyHotel’s owned hotels like-for-like revenue per available room was up 7.7%, but franchise like-for-like RevPar down 1.6% over its most recent financial year.

“The hotel markets have remained challenging in the second half of the financial year, particularly in the UK where we are seeing dampened consumer confidence. Whilst our owned hotels have continued to outperform the market, we have not been immune to the weaker regional hotel market and trading across our franchised portfolio has continued to be subdued,” said Chief Executive Guy Parsons.

The AIM-listed company reported revenue growth of 56% to GBP17.6 million from GBP11.3 million year-on-year.

easyHotel said it has maintained a “tight” control of costs, but against the challenging trading environment it anticipates adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization closer to GBP4.6 million for the year ended September 30. In comparison, last year, the UK-based company’s adjusted Ebitda totalled GBP3.0 million.

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In addition, easyHotel’s current dividend policy will be reviewed prior to the publication of annual results. The company will consider ending the dividend as it looks to grow its current hotel estate.

“Whilst we don’t foresee any improvement to the trading environment in the medium term, we are focused on our strategic priorities and believe the current economic uncertainties will present attractive investment opportunities to continue to expand our development pipeline in our target destinations, underpinning the long-term growth of the brand,” added Parsons.

By Evelina Grecenko

Source: Morningstar

Fast-paced OYO brand grows to 100 UK hotels

October 7, 2019

OYO Hotels has announced that since entering the UK market only 10-months ago, it has grown to 100 hotels across 25 major towns and cities, including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Blackpool and Torquay.

Introducing the company, the brand explains that through franchise or lease partnerships with small and midsized independent hotels, it can improve their performance through its proprietary technology, revenue management capabilities and operational expertise.

 
OYO additionally seeks to improve financial returns for hotel owners whilst ensuring guests have a great experience during each and every stay. It also invests with owners to transform the property itself, improving the infrastructure and the look and feel of the hotel.

This flexibility said OYO works with all types of hotel – business, tourist, metropolitan, rural, large or small – with the aim of using expertise to deliver value for hotel owners and customers alike.

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The diverse range of hotels in its current portfolio, which have an average of 25 rooms, are already benefitting from higher occupancy rates, increased customer satisfaction and room revenue uplift, added OYO.

Jeremy Sanders, head of OYO UK, said: “We are delighted to now have a portfolio of 100 diverse hotels in some of the best city centres, seaside and rural locations across the country. Our rapid growth shows there’s a real appetite from hotel owners and customers alike for good quality, affordable hotels with a local touch, and we look forward to adding value to more independent hotel owners as we continue to invest and expand into new areas of the UK.

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“Six months ago, OYO had a team of 25 and just five hotels in London. Today, we have a team of 275 OYOpreneurs. They are the people who are driving our success and helping independent hotels across the country to thrive.”

Source: Franchise World

EasyHotel eyes council link ups for new sites

September 17, 2019

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.

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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.

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“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

EasyHotel boss backs British market despite Brexit fears

July 21, 2019

The boss of easyHotel has said the UK is still a “great place to do business” despite Brexit uncertainty hitting the hospitality sector, as the budget chain reopens its flagship London site.

Speaking to PA at the official opening of easyHotel Old Street, chief executive Guy Parsons said his company would continue to invest in Britain as it targets 25 sites around the country.

 
“Our performance is strong but we’re very mindful of what’s taking place in he wider economy and the impact it could have on our business,” he said.

“Fundamentally I still think the UK economy is going to be strong, it will still be a good place to do business in.”

Related: Travel and Leisure Franchises UK – Should You Buy A UK Travel Agency Franchise?

Commenting on the impact of Brexit, he said both consumers and businesses had slowed spending due to a lack of clarity.

“The hotel industry relies on confidence,” he said.

“Businesses need certainty and until we know what’s going to happen at the end of October, people are more likely to have a wait and see approach.”

His comments came as the 89-room Old Street branch opened its doors again following an extensive renovation. The no-frills accommodation starts at £49.99 a night.

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Mr Parsons told PA there was room for as many as 25 sites in the UK. The brand currently has 11 owned sites in the UK and six through franchise agreements.

He said most of the expansion would be achieved through franchise agreements, but that the company was eyeing up Bath, York and Edinburgh as locations for owned hotels.

By Alys Key, PA City Reporter

Source: Yahoo Finance UK

Quest Apartment Hotels awarded nation’s first 5-star franchise rating

July 16, 2019

Accommodation franchise Quest Apartment Hotels has achieved a major milestone, being named as the country’s first system with a 5-star rating under the Australian Franchise Rating Scale.

The objective rating system was introduced by franchise market research and consulting company, FRANdata back in March, following a successful US initiative.

 
Under the rating scale, franchise businesses are measured on seven key performance criteria. These include; franchisee financial performance, satisfaction, engagement, franchisor training and support, and compliance.

While Quest Apartment Hotels’ recognition is a boost to the serviced apartment franchisor, it’s also certain to bolster the industry as whole. The result demonstrates a renewed focus on transparency, marking a significant milestone in rebuilding sector confidence, particularly in the wake of the parliamentary inquiry.

“In achieving the 5-star rating, the extended stay accommodation specialists have been able to demonstrate a high level of transparency and an outstanding overall level of franchise performance,” FRANdata said in a statement.

“The review team was particularly impressed with the systems and disciplines in place that allowed Quest to measure, monitor and support a high level of performance at an individual unit level.”

Related: Travel and Leisure Franchises UK – Should You Buy A UK Travel Agency Franchise?

Quest Apartment Hotels success

Two of those high-performing operators were also celebrated this week at the official opening of Quest NewQuay.

After launching in February, Quest NewQuay achieved full occupancy within the first month of trading, with franchisees Stacy Andronikos and Daniel Hibberd revealing growth is ongoing.

“High occupancy of premium accommodation is a sign of a healthy business environment. We’re thrilled to be part of NewQuay’s development and want to thank MAB, Quest and Development Victoria for helping us reach this point,” Andronikos said.

The NewQuay property is perfectly situated within the emerging Docklands business district, in close proximity to the Melbourne Observation Wheel, Marvel Stadium and the city’s iconic free tram services.

It follows a series of new openings in Victoria for Quest Apartment Hotels. Earlier this year, the franchise brand unveiled two new sites at Burwood East and St Kilda Rd.

Karen Cowden, development director at Development Victoria said the body was eager to continue its ongoing relationship with Quest Apartment Hotels.

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“Development Victoria has worked with stakeholders such as MAB Corporation and Quest to deliver the Docklands precinct since the late 1990s,” Cowden said.

“During this time the precinct and Docklands has changed significantly. We now have around 13,000 residents and 65,000 people working in Docklands. Not to mention the thousands of people who visit each year.”

This latest opening is just one of the eight new Quest Apartment Hotels properties slated to opening across Australia, New Zealand and the UK over the next two years.

By Nick Hall

Source: Franchise Business

Award Leisure Hoping for Award Success

June 18, 2019

Award Leisure, a hot tub & outdoor leisure retailer, has been shortlisted for the Emerging Franchisor of the Year accolade, and are brimming with anticipation ahead of the awards, to be held at the Vox, Birmingham.

 
Jessica Anthony, the Franchise Development Manager at Award Leisure, enthuses: “We are waiting in anticipation to hear if we have done enough to win! It would be such an honour! The process has been very enjoyable and has certainly kept us on our toes ensuring we meet the standards and deliver to the judging panel!”

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The awards evening is the flagship event in the franchising calendar and getting a nomination in itself is a major achievement, proving the business works ethically and in the best interests of franchisees and staff, fighting off many other companies vying for the accolade.

Pip Wilkins, CEO of the British Franchising Association (bfa), congratulated the company:

“Award Leisure have been nominated for Emerging Franchisor, a prominent category for early franchise systems who have proven to have built a strong franchise model that is passionate and sustainable.

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“Its family values shone through while presenting to the judges in April, and I am excited to meet them again at the awards.”

They will go face-to-face against two other franchise units in June from sectors in domiciliary care and installations.

Related: Award Leisure Franchise

By Emma Lumley

Source: BDaily

Easyhotel to expand in EMEA and make Asia debut

June 3, 2019

Easyhotel says it is set to grow its portfolio by almost 20 properties over the coming years, as the budget brand announced raised revenues but a fall in profit.

There are currently 36 Easyhotels across various European cities.

Its development pipeline of owned hotels now includes properties in Milton Keynes, Chester, Cardiff, Oxford, Blackpool, Cambridge, Bristol, Dublin and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. All are set to open over the next 24 months – see all the expected opening years here.

Franchise hotels are also due in Malaga, Zurich, Basel, Amsterdam Schipol Airport, Dubai and – in firsts for the brand – Iran, Turkey (Istanbul) and Sri Lanka, marking its first Asian property.

Easyhotel this week announced that in the six months to March 31, revenue hit £7.26m, compared to £4.76m year-on-year. However it saw a pre-tax loss of £120,000 over the period, down on a £90,000 profit.

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The company blamed the temporary closure of its Old Street property and higher depreciation from new hotels for the fall in profit.

Easyhotel CEO Guy Parsons commented: “Easyhotel has delivered a market outperformance and good profitable growth in the first half of the year against a challenging market.

“Over the course of the last two years we have added a total of 18 hotels to our portfolio, significantly expanding our network in key business and tourist destinations across the UK and Europe.

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“Our most recent openings have not only traded in line with our expectations but have also tracked the good performance seen from our new hotels opened in the prior year, which in the current trading environment is very encouraging.

“Our UK network of owned hotels is already well established, with a strong opening programme in place for the next two years. The Group is now focused on replicating this success across Europe.”

By Jenni Reid

Source: Business Traveller