Best Western expects a great year in 2018 due to weak pound | City & Business | Finance


Les Asplen, managing director of Best Western Great Britain, believes that the hotels group can achieve above industry growth rates next year.

This year has seen a record number of hotels join the group and Asplen said that Best Western expects to beat that, as it has 30 already in the pipeline for next year.

The firm has 266 hotels in the UK. He said: “PWC is projecting a 2.5 per cent improvement in revenue per room for the sector in 2018.

We see opportunities for growth and as a brand, we have grown by 5 per cent, which is an outstanding performance, and see possibilities to improve upon that.”

Best Western parted with a number of hotels over the course of the year, a move Asplen said had boosted its customer satisfaction scores.

A combination of new brands being launched and further investment should further boost the firm’s prospects, he added.

Britain’s domestic tourism and hospitality sector has seen a boom in business from overseas following the 2016 Brexit referendum, which devalued sterling and made it better value.

However, Asplen said that once the UK’s future relationship with Europe is clarified, the slump in sterling is likely to be reversed and with it, the boom in tourism: “It is likely to taper off when the currency appreciates when we get clarity on Brexit.”

He said Brexit uncertainty could exacerbate a staffing crisis within the hospitality sector, as European Union nationals start to head home.

Over 3million people are employed in the UK hospitality sector, of which a quarter are estimated to be EU nationals.

The sector already suffers from a 60,000 annual shortage of workers.

He added: “There is great pressure building on hotels, from the minimum wage and higher food costs, but the main one is Brexit and what happens to the pool of employees. That tops their list of concerns. They are probably going to go home because of the uncertainty, compounding the existing problem.

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