Data from 2014 reported Manchester’s strongest year for occupancy since records began, and 2015 is already shaping up to be another big year for boutique hotels in the city. Boutique Hotelier delves a little into how the continued hotel boom will impact on visitor numbers and tourism levels to this colourful area.
Hotels in Greater Manchester enjoyed their strongest occupancy since records began in 2014, according to figures released in February from STR Global Ltd and Marketing Manchester.
The figures highlighted just how much of a positive effect the 12 months of last year had on the whole hospitality industry. Hotels in the city centre in Manchester achieved an average annual occupancy rate of 79%, building further on the success of 2013, when rates matched a previous high of 77%.
Nick Brooks-Sykes, director of tourism at Marketing Manchester, said: “2014 was a very good year for Greater Manchester’s hotel industry with occupancy levels outstripping previous records set across the conurbation. To see figures continue to rise alongside ever-expanding bedroom stock speaks volumes about the current health of our tourism industry.”
Paul Bayliss, chair of the Manchester Hoteliers Association, added: “It’s always good to see growth in hotel occupancy levels; however, achieving a record year like this is particularly satisfying following the difficult years experienced during the economic downturn. The region’s profile is undoubtedly on the up and as a result we’ve seen a noticeable increase in forward bookings, particularly when the city is hosting major events, conferences and festivals.
“The demographic of our staying guests also continues to diversify; they continue to look for a more sophisticated and novel offer and Manchester as a city continues to provide it through its consistent regeneration programmes in both leisure and supporting services for commerce sectors as new businesses make the city region their home.
Riding the wave of buoyancy
The start of 2015 signified another exciting time for the city’s hotel sector, with almost 800 hotel bedrooms set for completion by the year end and a total of 15,000 rooms to be in operation in Manchester within the next two and half years.
That number outstrips Birmingham where in 2016 there will be just over 12,000. After that comes Edinburgh, which will have a stock of around 12,000, then Glasgow, at just more than 8,000, and Liverpool, at about 7,500.
Brooks-Sykes continues: “There are a number of new hotel operators preparing to enter the market in 2015 and notably many of the city’s existing hotels are currently upgrading their facilities. This investment is very well-timed as the tourism calendar is packed with new developments and drivers.”
Some of the biggest new hotels scheduled for this year have already opened to rave reviews, including the hotly-anticipated Hotel Football, which was opened in February by former teammates Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville. The hotel marked a world-first for the city, with each of the hotel’s 133 bedrooms and public areas themed around the beautiful game. It launched in the first quarter of the year at a cost of £28m.
The 60-bed Hotel Gotham opened in April, owned by Bespoke Hotels, and saw former Cannizaro House GM, Jeff Ward take the helm at the stylish boutique. Set out over seven floors, the hotel is stylishly eclectic and as the name suggests, is full of subtle nods to Batman around the building.
“Our website really helped to capture people’s imagination before we even opened,” explained Jeff Ward, managing director, Hotel Gotham. “Then for the opening, we did a room rate of £119 which meant from day one we were fully booked – which was fantastic.
“The hotel is really for those who need privacy and exclusivity, but it is also for anyone who enjoys the Art Deco heritage of a building such as 100 King Street; with rooms from £150 for one night, we have made it a hotel which is a treat but still accessible.”
Hotel Gotham has been designed to stand out in the boutique hotel market in Manchester and a range of bespoke elements within the hotel help it to achieve real individuality. With a private members club, quirky trunks holding ‘treasure’ in the form of snacks, drinks and Champagne and a special martini trolley delivering tipples to each guests bedroom, there are a few innovations that has seen the hotel break the mould.
Ward continues: “The vast majority of the feedback to date has been, there is nothing like this in the City, it’s quirky, with a distinctive character and very specific detail which suites not just the building but also Manchester.
“The general hotel industry in Manchester is extremely buoyant and it is fantastic to see such a great year for the city with HOME, the Whitworth new restaurants like Hawksmoor opening – it’s a great year to be a part of the development of Manchester.”
Other anticipated hotel launches in the pipeline for 2015 also include four-star 208-bed Innside Manchester, a new offering from Spanish brand Melia Hotels set to open in the summer, 330-bed Motel One and a new boutique hotel from Eclectic Hotels, the King Street Townhouse.
Opening in the summer, the 40-bed boutique will be located within the Upper King Street conservation area in a Grade-II listed building and will join three other establishments in the Eclectic portfolio.