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Today’s news in brief – 28/3/24

Chickpea Group, headquartered in Wiltshire, has acquired its first pub in Somerset, expanding its portfolio of country pubs with rooms. The Manor House, nestled in the village of Ditcheat near Bruton, boasts “historical charm” and scenic views of the Mendip Hills. After being closed for six months, the pub is undergoing a two-month refurbishment to prepare for its reopening. Plans include offering seven bedrooms, a traditional pub menu, and a separate pizza kitchen serving sourdough pizzas. Emphasising locally sourced ingredients, the menu will be curated by the executive chef, featuring traditional pub fare and pizzas, alongside beers from the group’s new brewery, Rude Giant Brew Co.

According to the RSM Hotels Tracker, February saw a surge in demand for UK hotels, attributed to half-term holiday staycations. Occupancy rates surpassed pre-pandemic levels, accompanied by increases in average daily rates and gross operating profits. Despite seasonal slowdowns, the hotel industry exhibited resilience, driven by consumer confidence and economic recovery. Positive outlooks are supported by potential interest rate cuts and increased household spending.

Fishmore Hall, a 15-bedroom hotel in Ludlow, Shropshire, has been sold to a private Midlands-based buyer experienced in the hotel industry. The Georgian-style house underwent significant refurbishments, including the addition of a modern restaurant, lounge areas, and spa facilities. The sale generated considerable interest, highlighting the appeal and success of the business. The new owner aims to build on the current business model and further develop its potential.

Mintel data indicates a growing preference among UK holidaymakers for domestic staycations, driven by climate-related factors such as warmer UK temperatures and extreme weather events abroad. Unpredictable UK weather encourages last-minute bookings for UK breaks, with nearly half of domestic holidaymakers opting for more staycations than trips abroad since the onset of Covid-19. While overseas travel remains desirable, travellers are increasingly seeking cooler climates or planning last-minute trips to avoid extreme temperatures. Rising holiday costs may lead to fewer overseas “top-up” breaks in favour of prioritising main summer holidays.


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