Editor's Blog

Cleared for takeoff

In another month where UK tourism reached new heights, many hoteliers throughout the UK – and especially London – will have been happy to hear about the long-delayed approval of a new runway in the capital. Heathrow’s third runway, which the government has predicted will bring economic benefits of £61bn over 60 years, is not likely to be operational before 2025 but this is hardly bad news for those hoteliers in the business for the long haul – no pun intended.

The expansion comes on the back of more positive news for the UK tourism industry, in which latest inbound figures continued to break new records and tourism spend increased £800m over the previous year. With these trends set to continue, the runway’s additional capacity will be a welcome boost for those independent hoteliers looking to capitalise on the increasing volumes of foreign tourists.

This month, Barry Hembling, partner in the construction and engineering team at law firm Fladgate LLP, has contributed a piece on hotel construction projects and the key pitfalls owners should look to avoid. It comes as an increasing number of independent hotel owners are undergoing renovations and construction projects in an effort to improve their guest experience and compete with the home-letting websites, such as Airbnb, that are increasingly taking over the industry’s market share.

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Throughout the piece Hembling cites cases where construction has gone wrong, even for some of the largest and most respected firms in the industry. Take the Harmon hotel in Las Vegas for example. The construction of the 49-storey tower hotel and residential development was stopped after structural engineer identified “serious flaws”, but only after a whopping $300m (£244m) had already been spent on the project. It’s fair to say that most independent hoteliers are not at risk of losing that much money on a project, but every small chunk of cash saved is money that can be pumped back into the business, improving the guest experience, and, in the long-run, increasing the hotel’s potential for profit.

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