The CEO of Andrew Brownsword Hotels has revealed plans to grow the group to a portfolio of 20 properties within the next five years.
Stephanie Hocking spoke exclusively to Boutique Hotelier about the brand’s ambition to add another seven hotels to its stock, by the time the year 2021 rolls around.
Andrew Brownsword currently consists of iconic hotels including Gidleigh Park, Amberley Castle and the Bath Priory and Hocking, who joined in March 2016 from her role as operations director with Malmaison, explained that despite this year being particularly competitive for the group, acquisitions were at the ‘top of the agenda’ for 2018.
“When I just joined I had a simple brief from Mr Brownsword,” she tells BH, “he wants to have an overgrowing quality throughout his hotels and to have happy customers and happy staff.
“We had 12 hotels (when I joined), and our ambition is to have 20 within the next five years, so growth was always on the agenda.
In September 2016, just six months after Hocking was appointed CEO, the group snapped up two new properties – The Imperial Torquay and Old Swan and Minster Mill in Oxfordshire, both of which will be undergoing development in 2018.
Andrew Brownsword owns the portfolio with his wife Christina, which consists of eight Andrew Brownsword hotels, plus the five-strong city boutique brand Abode, that has introduced new F&B concept, Brasserie Abode, into its locations such as Glasgow and Manchester over the last 12 months.
Hocking added that throughout both portfolios in 2017 rooms performance has been healthy, with occupancy stable and room rate having good growth also, undeterred by the fast pace of the sector.
“The market has been very competitive this year,” Hocking explains, “and we have to be able to move faster and faster and react more quickly to drive growth through the business.
“We have a planned approach to how we manage the pace of our business and we plan to be able to be reactive and we really measure what we do on pace.
“We will be looking, a year out, six months out, three months out, three weeks out, and we have planned slots in all our marketing and promotions that allow us to react if we feel we are falling off our pace. We’ve had to get quicker, sharper and more reactive.”
Hocking also added that the reinvestment pot for maintaining standards throughout the portfolio is in the ‘millions’ each year, citing quality as ‘incredibly important’ for the group.