First, in the early days, there were budget hotels, a concept spearheaded in the UK by well-known
brands like Travelodge and Premier Inn. Travelodge still sits firmly in the budget sector, but it’s arguable that Premier Inn has
now moved into the limited service category, joining the likes of Holiday Inn Express
and Hampton by Hilton.
We then saw the emergence of the “designer” budget label,
with hotels such as Yotel, Dakota, Sleeprz and Motel One
offering contemporary, consistent accommodation at a good price - and now we
can add a new entrant to the seemingly never ending list of hotel sub sectors: Hub
by Premier Inn, an urban concept that delivers small but well-equipped rooms with a deli style bar and food offer on-site.
Whilst the variations between these sectors may be overlooked by
the travelling public, it does leave a space in the true budget sector - that
is, hotels that offer no frills, add-ons or food and beverage facilities.
One operator that does stand out in this bracket is easyHotels, which opened its first
operation in London in 2005. Modelled on
the budget airline approach pioneered by easyJet founder Sir Stelios
Haji-Ioannou, properties offer small functional rooms and guests can choose
extras such as TVs or a room with a window.
easyHotels now have 21 hotels (10 in the UK), the majority of
which are operated by franchisees with plans to expand across the UK.
A newer entrant in the UK super budget category, with a
similar operating model, is Malaysian based Tune Hotels, who we have recently worked with across a number of sites. The company launched its first
UK hotel in London in 2010 and, in an indication of demand for this type of offer, already has 8 properties across the country.
The super budget sector - characterised
by a “pay as you use” model for items such as televisions, air-conditioning,
towels and room cleaning – now looks set to expand, further with both easyHotels and
Tune seeking opportunities across the UK.
While the hotel sector continues to diversify, and new trends
emerge, it looks as if there’s one thing we can be sure of: a super budget
hotel will be coming to a city near you in the not too distant future.