Hampshire County Council and a number of the county’s local authorities, including Southampton, Portsmouth and Winchester City Councils, and Basingstoke & Deane, Test Valley and Hart Borough/District Councils have commissioned Hotel Solutions to undertake a new survey of hotel performance, market trends, market growth prospects and development opportunities to update the previous research that we have completed in Hampshire. This will be the sixth major piece of work that we have completed in the county since we first worked there in 2001. The work will be undertaken in April and May.
Andrew has just finished work on pulling together an action plan for the National Forest Company to accelerate accommodation development in The National Forest, drawing on the research and analysis that he undertook back in 2014 to help inform the National Forest Destination Development Plan; the research that we have been undertaking in North West Leicestershire and Staffordshire; and a survey of landowners in the Forest. The Accommodation Development Acceleration Plan sets out a number of key priorities for the development of a high-quality woodland accommodation offer that reflects the core brand values of The National Forest and a programme of specific actions to achieve this. Andrew is now in discussions with the National Forest Company to look at how to take the Acceleration Plan forward.
We have recently completed a study of the potential for hotel and visitor accommodation development in Southport, the Sefton Coast and Bootle and South Sefton for Sefton Council. The research looked at what scope there is for all forms of accommodation from hotels, guest houses and pub accommodation to touring caravan and camping sites, holiday parks, holiday apartments, glamping and group and youth accommodation. We found clear potential for further budget and boutique hotel development in Southport and scope in the resort and the rest of the Sefton Coast for a range of different types of non-serviced accommodation. The opportunities for hotel development in Bootle look longer term, but there are more immediate opportunities for hotel investment in other parts of South Sefton. We are now working with Sefton Council on a programme of action to capitalise on some of the key opportunities that we have identified.
Andrew gave an inspiring presentation at this year’s Visit County Durham Spring Conference in Sedgefield on accommodation development opportunities in County Durham, which went down very well with the audience. He discussed the key drivers of future growth in staying tourism in the county and looked at some of the innovative accommodation development trends coming forward in other parts of the UK that could have potential to develop in County Durham.
After undertaking a Hotel Investment Study for Greater Lincolnshire in 2017, Hotel Solutions was retained to support Lincolnshire County Council and its partners during 2018 to implement the recommendations of the study and help deliver new hotels across Greater Lincolnshire. The follow-up work has included liaising with Acquisitions Directions of some of the best known international hotel brands as well as regional operators and independents to secure their interest in key sites, and to help host visits to the county to view sites and to meet associated site owners, agents and developers on a one-to-one basis. A targeted approach has been used to identify brands and offers that have best fit with the market potential identified in the 2017 study, and to match these to sites where they can have maximum destination benefit. Lincoln has been a key initial focus for this work as there are multiple major development schemes underway and proposed where the delivery of a hotel incorporated into the scheme could help add to its vitality and viability. Hotel Solutions has also been part of some of the Team Lincolnshire events in London which have provided an opportunity to secure the attendance of prospective hotel developers and brand owners and introduce them to prospective development partners from the county. The retained contract has been renewed for 2019, and we look forward to continuing to support the LCC team in their pro-active work with the sector.
We are in the final stages of completing this work for North West Leicestershire District Council. It is looking at the potential for hotel and visitor accommodation development across the district, including at the East Midlands Airport, in the towns of Ashby de la Zouch and Coalville, and in those parts of the district that fall within The National Forest. The aim is to produce an action plan for district council and public sector intervention to help bring forward accommodation development in line with the identified opportunities. We are aiming to complete the draft report by the end of January.
We are currently progressing a programme of research for Destination Staffordshire to assess the potential for hotel and visitor accommodation development across the county, and the role that Staffordshire’s local authorities can play to help accelerate accommodation development. This includes interviewing the managers and owners of the county’s hotels and larger accommodation businesses; a telephone survey of smaller accommodation business owners; consultation workshops with the district and borough councils; a review of relevant strategy documents; an assessment of potential hotel and visitor accommodation development sites; and discussions with hotel and visitor accommodation developers to establish their interest in Staffordshire. A key output will be an action plan for public sector intervention and support. We are aiming to complete the work by the end of March.
Lynn has recently put together some business development guidance aimed at pub operators across County Durham interested in developing quality overnight accommodation. There are around 6000 pubs in the UK providing over 50,000 bedrooms. Over the past 5 years some of the national pub operators like Marston’s, Fullers and Youngs have recognised the potential of adding rooms to their existing and new build properties, and some small regional pub accommodation companies have begun to emerge, such as The Inn Collection Group in the North East of England. This has helped to raise the profile of pub accommodation, yet managed and branded pub accommodation operations make up less than 10% of this supply. There is a big opportunity for independent operators to make more of the potential for pub accommodation, a product that has appeal to both leisure and business markets. There are significant benefits to be gained, in terms of generating a third income stream, attracting new markets, increasing spend on food and drink, and increasing the value of the property and business. The guide provides insight into these national trends and the market for pub accommodation in County Durham, then takes the reader through the process of researching the potential for pub accommodation, planning the development, preparing a business plan, and putting together trading forecasts, based upon performance and investment benchmarks which have been pulled together using market intelligence from those operating in the sector.
Andrew has recently delivered a half-day workshop for people that are at the initial stages of looking at setting up a glamping business. The workshop looked at a range of topics including the glamping market and its growth potential; target markets for glamping sites; choosing the right glamping unit; enhancing the glamping experience; the income potential of a glamping business; planning and legislative considerations; and marketing tips. Thirteen delegates attended the workshop and the feedback was unanimously very positive. Andrew is hoping to roll out the workshop to other rural destinations with potential for glamping.
We have just completed a review of the guest house and B&B sector in County Durham for Visit County Durham. It showed a largely stable guest house and B&B industry in the county that is gradually improving in quality; achieving high levels of guest satisfaction; trading well, particularly in and around Durham; and that has not been unduly affected by the growth of Airbnb or new hotel openings. We have made a number of recommendations on the basis of the review findings, including continued Visit County Durham business support for the sector; a focused marketing, PR and social media campaign to emphasise the clear USPs of guest houses and B&Bs; and the possible introduction of a Code of Conduct for Airbnb and short-term letting hosts to ensure that they are safe and legal and providing a good service and visitor information to their guests.