The new head of Interstate Hotels and Resorts – the international division of Aimbridge Hospitality – has said he is “optimistic” for further growth for the company in 2022 despite the continuing uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
David Anderson, who joined the global third-party management company as executive vice president – international at the end of 2021, is optimistic for the year ahead due to signs of “improving consumer confidence, the occupancy rebound strength in markets where restrictions are lifted and a predicted quicker bounce back overall from the Omicron wave”.
Spurred on by “clear indications” that people are ready to travel again for business and leisure with trusted providers, Anderson said he is pressing on with plans to grow Interstate’s portfolio across Europe in the next five years.
He said: “We are entering this year in a much stronger position and with more certainty than we did in 2021. We have seen strong results in Russia in December, following strict restrictions in November, with occupancies reaching 73% for the month, the strongest performance of the year.
“Additionally, we held sturdy performance in a number of key markets with Antwerp moving above 80% in December, and key UK cities like Newcastle and Birmingham also showing tangible signs of confidence and booking resilience.”
He added: “Despite the challenges of the global pandemic, Interstate saw impressive overall growth last year and that is down to the sheer hard work and dedication of the team, our ability to quickly adapt and source new revenue streams and to provide safe environments and reassurance for customers.
“Our dynamic approach ensured that all Interstate Hotels have operated fully, either open or for exclusive use business, since May. 2021 was a key year for Interstate as we integrated all 31 of Jupiter’s UK properties into our portfolio, opened a new Hampton by Hilton property in Canterbury and grew our pipeline for 2022/23 taking the company’s growing pan-European portfolio to 138 properties.”
Anderson continued: “It has been really reassuring to hear from our venues that we are seeing a shift in demand in meetings and events. Whilst we have an experienced impact in Q1 due to Omicron, clients are moving bookings, rather than cancelling.
“One of our most popular events spaces, The Eastside Rooms in Birmingham, reports that 84% of event revenue has been postponed to later in the year, rather than cancelling outright. In person events remain in demand and important to organisations. We’re looking forward to 2022 and working with our owners, brands and managers to ensure that guests have the best possible experience as they return to business and leisure travel.”