The new managing director of BDL Management has announced plans to almost double its hotel portfolio to more than 75 over the next three years.
Steward Campbell, who joined the company in 2002 as a chartered accountant and worked as finance director and chief financial officer before being promoted to MD at the end of last year, said that BDL's strong pool of experts among its 2,500 employees was a key reason for its growth and diversification during a tough economic climate.
"When the financial crisis hit the hotel industry we made the decision to stop developing new-build hotels," Campbell explained. "We had a talented property team and over a decade's experience of hotel management, so instead of cutting staff we refocused our efforts on winning management contracts.
"This has proved a successful strategy for BDL Management, particularly with hotels that have gone into administration and properties that banks have taken on to their balance sheets. The fact that we have retained our people ensures that we are capable of scaling up our development activity if we choose to do so when the market is more buoyant."
Established in 1997 to develop and operate new-build branded hotels, Glasgow-based BDL Management has taken on 11 new properties over the past 12 months and aims to add another 30 to the group by 2014.
As well as being the UK's largest franchisee of the Wyndham Hotels Group through the Ramada brand, BDL also operates many franchised InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) hotels, as well as a growing number of independent hotels such as the five-star Grand Jersey Hotel and Spa in St Helier.
In September 2011, the company was appointed to operate the UK's first Crowne Plaza Resort, on behalf of IHG, in Maldon, Essex.
Campbell, 35, said that he could tell whether a hotel was well run within five minutes of walking in. "There is a fantastic spirit in a happy hotel and I think that's why it is easy to be passionate about our industry. BDL focuses on exceptional service by exceptional people."
By Janet Harmer
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