Belfast Telegraph

Dalata planning major UK hotel expansion

By John Mulligabn

Ireland's biggest hotel operator Dalata is aiming to become the largest operator of three and four-star properties in 20 cities across the UK.

It hopes to add another 8,000 bedrooms to its portfolio there over the next five to seven years, it has told investors.

The company runs the Maldron Hotels at Belfast International Airport and in Londonderry.

And next year it will open another Maldron in Belfast, at Brunswick Street.

Dalata has pinpointed significant expansion opportunities for the company in cities including Edinburgh, Oxford, Liverpool, Cambridge and York.

It aims to take advantage of what it said is a "very fragmented" UK regional hotel sector and capture between 10% and 15% of the market in each of the 20 cities it's targeting.

The hotel group has also told investors that while Brexit poses a risk to the economies of the cities it's aiming to expand in, it believes a structural shift in the hotel industry, as international brands leave regional locations, poses a greater opportunity.

Dalata, whose chief executive is Pat McCann, already has a total of eight hotels in UK cities including London Manchester, Leeds, Belfast, Cardiff and Birmingham.

They are three and four-star properties and have a total of 1,700 bedrooms.

It has two properties in London but is not aiming to expand there except on an opportunistic basis.

This week Dalata announced that it has agreed to lease what will be a new Clayton Hotel in Glasgow.

The four-star hotel, which has yet to receive planning permission, will be built by Artisan Real Estate Investors and have about 300 bedrooms. It's intended that the property will open at the end of 2020.

Dalata announced last year that it secured a 35-year agreement to lease what will be a new Maldron Hotel that's being built in Newcastle by a unit of Co Tyrone firm McAleer & Rushe.

The four-star hotel, which will have 226 bedrooms, will open next year.

Other cities being targeted for growth by Dalata in the UK include Bristol, Bournemouth and Southampton.

Dalata aims to have a total of 2,500 bedrooms in the UK by 2020, deputy chief executive Dermot Crowley confirmed to investors this week.

Belfast Telegraph

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