The 125-bedroom Bolton Whites hotel is set to play a pivotal role in driving forward business at the previously debt-heavy Bolton Wanderers Football Club, according to one of the new owners of both businesses.
Ken Anderson, together with former footballer Dean Holdsworth, acquired Burnden Leisure, which operates both the football club and the hotel - located with the club's Macron Stadium - two months ago. At the time, Burden was on the verge of going into administration with debts of £179.2m, including an unpaid tax bill of £2.2m.
However, despite a torrid 12 months for the company, which saw the football club relegated from the Sky Bet Championship league and the death of chairman Phil Gartside at the age of 63, the hotel has been the one part of the business that has consistently performed well.
Anderson, the new chairman of Bolton Wanderers, told The Caterer that Bolton Whites, which offers a venue capacity of up to 7,000 guests, already plays an integral part in the running of the Macron Stadium.
"The conference and event business is thriving, but myself and the hotel team know we can push it to the next level and that is the proactive stance we are taking as we enter a new era and into markets with a strong revenue stream such as larger music events and concerts."
Anderson praised the hotel management team for being "the backbone of the business" over the past 12 months "steering their teams through what we know has been an extremely difficult and unsettled time, whilst trying to maintain morale" as they continued to provide the best service.
"Each team member pulled out all the stops and despite the uncertainty have actually grown the business year-on-year which is a remarkable achievement. Moving forward we can capitalise on that passion and loyalty."
Suzanne Speak, general manager of Bolton Whites, said that the business had emerged from a very dark period. "Even though the hotel itself was stable, it was difficult to remain positive when we could not be sure what was going to happen with the ownership of the business in the future.
"Now with the new owners in place, we are debt-free, have a healthy forecast and expect to be able to announce that turnover of the hotel to June will be up 4% to £7.5m net."
Damian Chadwick, venue controller at the hotel, added that while match day and conference business had been dented by uncertainty of the past year, confidence was now returning.
Business at Bolton Whites will be boosted in the next 12 months by educational visits from overseas football teams who will stay at the hotel while using the training facilities of the training academy adjacent to the stadium and an increased number of live events including concerts from the likes of Scouting for Girls and sporting dinners featuring speakers such as Pele.