9th February 2016

A leading hotel industry figure is predicting a fruitful 2016 following a transformative past 12 months.

Stewart Campbell, Managing Director at RBH, the UK's leading independent hotel management company, has revealed that 2016 will see the business further strengthen its UK portfolio and develop its strategy for a move into other countries in Europe as it capitalises on the success of its accelerated growth over the last year.

He said: "2015 was a year of evolution and huge expansion for RBH as we welcomed a group of 22 properties into our portfolio and opened two newly developed hotels. Our portfolio growth was made possible by our investment in excellent people and we're very proud to have been so successful.

"Leveraging this success, we are now focusing on a strategy to expand into mainland Europe in 2016. Identifying the right opportunity to transform hotels on the continent is key for us to achieve our vision to be Europe's leading hotel management company."

RBH will also continue to make strides forward with its portfolio of 63 hotels here in the UK, with new properties set to open in 2016 and a strong pipeline of opportunities to further cement the company as the UK's leader in the field.

Campbell continues: "The properties which we took over in early 2015 were all recently sold by the owner and we were delighted to maintain the management contract for them, with each of the new owners. This is an incredibly important milestone for us and we've been able to demonstrate how critical a management company is to the success of a hotel business.

"We already have three brand new hotels joining us in 2016, including the new 94-bedroom Holiday Inn Express in St. Albans, set to launch in May, and the Courtyard by Marriott in Edinburgh which has 240 bedrooms and will be an exciting new development in the Scottish capital - our fourth property in the city."

Commenting on observed trends across the industry in 2015, Campbell noted that conferencing outperformed the high expectations he laid out at the start of the year, leading owners to invest in this area and RBH itself to promote a raft of new meetings and events initiatives in order to meet demand and create a more rounded delegate offering.

He said: "Crowne Plaza hotels within our portfolio became 'Brain Friendly' with meeting rooms kitted out according to a 22-point checklist, and more than a dozen of our properties also received prestigious BDRC Continental Gold Accreditations thanks to their excellent VenueVerdict Scores for the third and fourth quarters of 2015.

"As a result in the year to August 2015, our portfolio saw an 11 per cent increase in meetings and event room hire as compared to the same period in 2014, so we have made sure the wider industry trend has been maximised within the portfolio."

Looking ahead to 2016 for the hotels sector in general, Campbell has a very positive outlook.

He says: "The UK hotel industry certainly looks set to continue growing in 2016 and global travel on the whole is on the up - something which will have a major impact in both London and Edinburgh.

"The UK hotel industry continues to reap the rewards from a series of successful international events that have taken place here in the last 18 months, including the recent Rugby World Cup. When these large global events are executed so well they showcase our cities in a way which allows so many people to see these areas at their best, encouraging repeat visits and recommendations to others to visit.

"In London, PWC has forecast a 2.3% RevPar growth for 2016 - slightly slower than last year - however I would predict a slightly lower rate still due to the increasing supply of new hotel stock in the city. In the provinces a healthy 4.2% RevPar growth is anticipated and the regions look set to enjoy another good year. I would estimate that growth actually rises above published predictions in the regions at just over 5%, driven by strong corporate demand.

"On the back of the government spending review and autumn statement we know that wage inflation is ahead of inflation meaning more individuals with greater disposal income - more good news for UK hotels and something we'll be looking to capitalise on over the next year.

"It promises to be an exciting 2016 for the industry in general, and particularly for RBH as we continue to grow and develop our portfolio and our people."