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Meet the developer: John Bates from Village Hotel Club

Mon 19th December 2016, 11:13 am

Sitematch catches up with John Bates, director of acquisitions from Village Hotel Club, to discuss his role at the company and its plans for Sitematch

Can you say something about yourself and Village Hotel Club?

We’re growing Village Hotel Club and want to double the number of hotels we have in the UK within the next five years. That’s why we’re coming to Sitematch and one of myreasons for joining the team this autumn as director of acquisitions. We’re serious about expansion – our format, which combines excellent business and leisure facilities around a great place to stay, is different to anything else on the market and we’re looking for partners and sites so that we can invest and grow.

Each hotel creates around 100 new jobs and delivers approximately £20 million of investment, which is a powerful combination. My colleague Iain Stackhouse (head of property) and I are keen to explore opportunities at Sitematch and identify the next generation of investment sites.

What sets the company apart from others in the sector?

It’s the combination of top quality leisure and business facilities within the Village Hotel Club package that makes us different. All of our hotels have a swimming pool, state-of-the-art health and fitness club and an excellent food and beverage offer, coupled with top notch business facilities too. That’s the heart of our customer proposition and our property proposition is similarly clear – we need sites with a footprint of 2.5 acres [1.01 hectares], on which we can site a hotel building with a 1,850sq m footprint and rising to 23m.

We use space very efficiently and pack a lot of product into each and every one of our locations. On our growth programme, we’re talking about adding an extra 1.5 million sq ft [139,354.56sq m] of new space within the next five years.

What are you looking to discuss with the local authorities at Sitematch?

Doubling our estate within five years (from the 28 hotels we have today) will mean that finding new sites and working with local authorities is going to be essential. The growth we’re looking for is equivalent to adding another 3,000 bedrooms. We want to unlock new investment and development opportunities that will realise mutual value. We can play an important role in terms of inward investment, regeneration and quality new development, so we’re looking to discuss ideas on sites with anyone who can bring something to the table.

What are some of the factors that are important when selecting a place for a hotel?

Great locations and the site’s ability to provide great facilities are what we need. Our format means we have certain requirements for size, footprint and height – these are the things that ensure we can provide the full suite of leisure and business services for customers. Finding positively minded property partners who are looking to do deals and get growth is an important part of that.

What are some of the qualities that make a local authority attractive to work with?

Clarity, certainty, commitment – these are all important ingredients. We want to commit investment and build out great new hotels so we’re looking for local authorities to support that objective both in terms of sites and consents. 

We also value working with local authorities which recognise our aim to create jobs, alongside our investment and bricks and mortar proposition.

In simple terms, we look to forge partnerships to realise mutual benefits. That makes having vision and an appreciation for the wider benefits our investment can unlock, another important quality in any local authority.

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