Umi Hotels, the three-star group, aims to expand to 50 hotels within the next 10 years.

The company, founded as a luxury budget group by former Acorn Award winner Steve Lowy in 2007, is intending to expand through franchise agreements in both the UK and overseas.

"We are providing something similar to Best Western, but in a fresher, more attractive package," said Lowy.

Umi currently has three hotels - two branded hotels in London and Brighton and the Petrovka Loft, which operates under a franchise in Moscow. They all are aimed at providing a fun, value hotel option for the young at heart.

New franchised hotels - which will ideally have between 70 and 100 bedrooms - can operate under the Umi name or choose to remain as an independent business. Key features of a franchisee agreement include support with direct bookings, web optimisation, social media and marketing.

After paying a £10,000 start-up franchisee fee, all franchisees will pay a 6% commission charge on any bookings gained through the Umi website and commit to a three-year minimum term.

"We have a professional and experienced team and are happy to help other independent hoteliers make their hotel business profitable and efficient," said Lowy. "Out franchise package is excellent value, in line with the value accommodation experience that the existing Umi hotels are already offering."

Steve Lowy - Acorn Award winner 2010 >>

Hotel operator the Vienna Group renamed the Lowy Group >>

By Janet Harmer

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