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Exeter - New hotel rooms
Thursday 14 February 2013 - John Kinsey, director of hospitality and hotels group, Jones Lang LaSalle. talks abouth Exeter's hotel market.
Around six years ago, Jones Lang LaSalle boldly predicted that Exeter would need up to 700 new hotel rooms in the coming 5-7 years in order to retain its commercial edge in what would be a tough economic climate.
With the crash that ensued, one might expect these predictions to have been overly optimistic, but since it was me that forecast the figures I’ve had a vested interest in keeping an eye on them. If anything, it seems I underestimated things.Today, Jones Lang LaSalle has been involved in the development of over 600 hotel rooms, creating around 600 new jobs and pushing the occupancy rate reportedly above 90%.
These include the sale of the new Hampton by Hilton site at Exeter Airport, with 120 rooms due to open soon and the acquisition of the Premier Inn site at Dean Clarke House in Southernhay.
Other deals include170 rooms at the new Jury’s Inn,103 rooms at the new Premier Inn at St David’s station and 104 rooms at the new Premier Inn on Honiton Road. As well as these, the extensions of Southgate Hotel, The Holiday Inn Express and The Travelodge at Exeter services have brought the total number of rooms to the levels we originally predicted.
However, it’s clear that demand is still outstripping supply from both the business, hotel and leisure industries and we predict a further 200-300 new hotel rooms are still needed if Exeter is going to continue to be commercially successful. Take up has been typically strong across the budget sector and there are noticeable requirements in the mid-market sector but overall, the hotel market still requires some development with conversions in the city centre and new builds in the area close to junction 29.
Sites such as Sky Park and the Science Park are still waiting for hotel development but it looks positive that pent up demand will be fulfilled once more funding becomes available for management agreements. Sadly, until this funding exists development of further hotels will undoubtedly remain difficult, like St Thomas’s Hall – a listed building near the University - after plans to convert it fell through.
Large national brands were out of the running for this site as there are difficulties converting existing listed buildings in line with branding requirements, so, in this instance it was down to regional hotel operators to take the reins.
Despite the delays, the outlook is looking bright for Exeter and here at Jones Lang LaSalle we’re very proud to have contributed not only to the economic success of the hotel market in the region, but also the high number of jobs that have been created as a result.
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