Robert Cook, newly appointed chief executive of De Vere Village, has announced details of plans to build up to 18 new hotels, as well as increase awareness of the mid-market brand.

Sites have already been identified and planning applications made in six locations - Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Milton Keynes, Bracknell, Crawley and Portsmouth.

"I would also like to see new Villages in cities like Bristol, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge and Durham," explained Cook, who since moving to his new role from his previous position role as chief executive of Malmaison and Hotel du Vin has carried out a review of the business.

He has visited all 26 Village hotels, which are currently predominately located in the North-west of England and the Midlands, and now aims to expand the brand predominately southwards. The hotels so far have been largely located in and around business parks and close to major motorway junctions, but new sites are now also being considered on main roads close to city centres.

While the existing Village hotels are all owned by De Vere, the development of the new properties - at about £17m each - will be a mix of owned and leasehold businesses, with the Lloyds Banking Group supporting the roll-out.

Cook said that one of his key aims is to raise the profile of the Village brand. "As a brand under the De Vere umbrella, we are not particularly well known outside of the North-west, but there is an awful lot going on at each Village with a fairly equal mix in turnover coming from the bedrooms, food and beverage and leisure facilities. We just need to get the story out there."

De Vere Village to introduce local ales for all 26 Victory pubs >>

By Janet Harmer

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