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Forced investment from allergen rules is also an opportunity

UFI IBRAHIM is chief executive officer of the British Hospitality Association

WHG snaps up Manchester’s Lowry Hotel

Manchester’s Lowry Hotel – currently thought to be home to several of Man United’s expensive summer signings – has been bought by Westmont Hospitality Group (WHG) and its investment partner Mount Kellett Capital Management for a reported £40m. Newly-arrived United stars


ust in time for the 2014 Christmas party season, every UK food vendor will have to accurately track, record and communicate to the public 14 of

the most common foods to cause allergic reactions. Tis applies to cafes, canteens, res- taurants, hotels, pubs, take-aways, motorway service stations, festival caterers, schools, hospitals and prisons. In fact, anywhere that food is eaten out of home. When you con- sider that some eight billion out-of-home meals are served every year, the enormity of the task quickly becomes clear. The introduction of new Allergen

Regulations on 13 December 2014 is man- datory for all EU member states. Te British Hospitality Association esti-

mates the cost of implementing the new allergen regulations for businesses will be between £90-150m per year on sourc- ing and management processes, adapting menus and websites and training staff. To support businesses, the BHA has created a Guidance Toolkit, designed to help hotels, restaurants and caterers understand and implement the new regulations and mini- mise implementation costs for the business. Te Toolkit will be supported by a series of Regional Workshops and its aim is to mini- mise the cost and impact of the regulations for food vendors, and offer guidance and support to all BHA members. While some food vendors may view the

new regulations as excessive, this EU legis- lation is binding for all member states. It is designed to ensure that food businesses can confidently inform their customers about food allergens so that customers are able to make informed choices about what to eat. Hospitality, as an industry is continu-

ally striving to attract bright new talent and achieve its vision of shaping the future of hospitality and tourism as a driver for inter- national competitiveness and economic growth. It must therefore be devoting both time and energy into training its staff, con- tinually evolving and raising its standards. Only by investing and training our work- force will we become a world class industry. Understanding and implementing the new allergen regulations is a good start.


Marcos Rojo, Radamel Falcao, Louis Van Gaal, Daley Blind and Angel di Maria have all been photographed at the five-star hotel in recent weeks, which was sold by Rocco Forte Hotels in early September. WHG – which has stra-

New star striker Falcao is believed to be among the hotel’s inhabitants

tegic alliances with renowned hotel brands including Intercontinental, Fairmont, Leading Hotels of the World, Hilton and Marriott – will now operate the site, but it is to retain the existing senior management team. A spokesperson for the hotel group told

Leisure Opportunities that the 158-room Lowry would now be subject to a refurbishment pro- gramme, which will see improvements made to the suites, foyer and reception area. Tey

were unable to confirm the reported selling price for the hotel – which opened in 2001. Speaking aſter the sale, Sir Rocco Forte said:

“I am very proud that we created the Lowry as a first-class hotel in 2001 with an outstanding team and, in the process, played a role in the renaissance which Manchester has enjoyed in recent years. I wish the team at the Lowry, its customers and its new owners the very best for the future.” Details:

Accor purchases 13 UK hotels

French hotel group Accor has spent £71m on acquiring 13 UK properties as it looks to gain ownership over the hotels it currently leases. Te transition away from

the oſten-popular asset-light strategy deployed by other hotel groups comes as the business looks to set about re-structuring under the guidance of new chief execu- tive and chair Sébastien Bazin. The group will now fea-

ture two main divisions, its HotelInvest sector, which will act as a property investor, while the other will be known as HotelServices, with a designated role of running hotels and managing brands. Accor, well known for its Ibis, Novotel and

Mercure hotel brands, has purchased the 13 hotels from investment group Tritax. “Tese transactions demonstrate Accor’s

ability to act swiſtly in implementing the strat- egy announced nine months ago,” said John Ozinga, chief operating officer of HotelInvest. “It’s an important step forward in the sig-

nificant restructuring that we are leading in HotelInvest, fully aligned with our objectives

Read Leisure Opportunities online: Te move goes against the standard hotel operator ‘lease strategy’

which include creating value by optimising return on capital employed, while strengthening our position as the largest owner of economy and midscale hotels in key European markets.” The group’s acquired portfolio, which

includes 12 Ibis and one Ibis budget hotels, represents 1,194 rooms across the UK. Accor’s entrance into UK ownership comes as

hotel rival Kempinski has announced it will be temporarily without a presence in the UK, aſter its contract ended for Te Stafford London, currently owned by Britannia Hospitality. Details:

Twitter: @leisureopps © CYBERTREK 2014

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