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Today’s news in brief – 17/6/24

The Swan Inn, established in 1536, is set to reopen this autumn after extensive renovations. Originally dating back to the 14th century, the inn now boasts a pub bar, a 46-cover dining room, a restored barn for breakfast and private dining, and 12 ensuite bedrooms—ten in the main building and two in a converted stable block. The menu features local dishes, including girolles on toast, Whitstable oysters, Sutton Hoo chicken, and sharing plates like South Downs lamb. Desserts include Sussex Pond pudding and profiteroles. The bar serves local beers and English sparkling wine, with a well-stocked wine cellar. The 26-month restoration project preserved the inn’s historical charm while modernising its facilities. Each room is named after a historical guest, with interiors featuring British fabrics, antique furniture, and amenities like Frette linens and Verden toiletries. 

Neil Butler has been appointed as the new hotel manager of The Chester Grosvenor, a prestigious five-star hotel part of the Bespoke Hotels group. Butler brings over 25 years of hospitality experience, previously serving as operations manager at Hotel Gotham and hotel manager at Hotel Brooklyn Manchester. His extensive experience includes working with MacDonald Hotels and Resorts and The Midland Hotel, providing him with valuable insight into managing historic, city-centre hotels. Butler expressed his honour in joining The Chester Grosvenor, a hotel with a rich heritage and excellence. Richard Grove, COO of Bespoke Hotels, praised Butler’s hands-on management style and industry knowledge, confident that his leadership will enhance the hotel’s reputation.

The Bristol Hoteliers Association (BHA) is urging faster development of the YTL Arena to attract more significant events to the city. Initially expected to open in late 2025, the 19,000-capacity venue’s completion has been delayed to 2026 or 2027. The arena is anticipated to become a year-round destination with conference and exhibition facilities. The BHA commends Ashton Gate, home to Bristol City Football Club and Bristol Bears, for its role in hosting large events, including two recent Take That concerts that drew 60,000 fans. The new arena is expected to level the playing field with cities like Manchester, Birmingham, and Cardiff, attracting visitors who will also explore the local area and benefit the economy.

A report from Accor reveals that 97% of hotel guests consult reviews before booking, with reviews being the second most crucial factor after rooms and amenities. The study, based on 5,000 European travellers, found that on average, guests read nine reviews per booking, with cleanliness, value for money, and bedrooms being the top areas of interest. Reviews are especially important for couples and families, with 85% and 82% respectively considering them crucial. Moreover, 67% of people ignore reviews older than six months. Post-stay, 57% of guests write reviews, with UK travellers being the least likely to do so. Additionally, 71% of respondents appreciate when hotels respond to reviews, highlighting the importance of guest feedback in marketing strategies. Antoine Dubois of Accor emphasises the power of reviews in influencing perceptions and decisions, urging hoteliers to value and respond to guest feedback.

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