According to Best Western CEO Rob Paterson, the middle of the market – medium-sized hotels – showed the smallest amount of growth in recent months, compared to smaller cheaper venues, and the more expensive, boutique-style hotels.
Consumers were either willing to go cheap when holidaying in the UK, or were looking to pay more for the experience they would get from a boutique hotel.
“The middle is seeing the softest growth compared to the economy and the boutique side, which is performing well,” Paterson told The Morning Advertiser.
“Where we’re putting our focus is the boutique market, whether it’s conversion of our buildings or taking existing sites and turning them into boutique hotels.”
He added that Best Western operates the accommodation for two pubs in the north of England, allowing the pub owners to focus on their core offering – food, drink and hospitality.
Paterson claimed this sort of model was something other large hotel chains had steered away from because the return on investment was deemed to be too low.
However, he added: “Our core focus is on the boutique side of things, and pubs with rooms are not something that we would say is our major focus for growth, but we’re willing to work from economy to luxury and that includes pubs with rooms.”
For operators looking to delve into the accommodation category, Paterson advised they work harder to achieve a look and experience that is of high quality, claiming to have stayed in inferior rooms within a pub.
Core is boutique
There was also potential for operators to tap into the wealth of real estate available to them on the high street, which would have been unaffordable in recent years. Yet, now the high street is struggling, property is considerably cheaper.
One of the bigger areas of focus for those offering accommodation this year is the wealth of Brits who have claimed to be planning staycations instead of going overseas.
Recent research from MoneySuperMarket, for instance, claimed that more than a fifth of families said they weren’t planning a summer holiday this year.
Furthermore, over a third (39%) of the 2,000 adults surveyed said they were looking into a staycations rather than expensive holidays abroad.