Sir David Michels, the president of the Institute of Hospitality and former chief executive of the Hilton Group, is teaming up with the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to launch what could become Ireland's largest hotel brand.
Through Michels & Taylor, the hotel asset management company Michels runs with former Hilton colleague Hugh Taylor, a joint venture agreement has been reached with RBS to create the brand, with an initial portfolio of at least 25 properties.
A number of independent hotels, which have existing lending arrangements with RBS through its Ulster Bank subsidiary, will be invited to join the group.
The umbrella brand will be positioned as a wholly domestic flag with a focus on offering the best in Irish hospitality, with each hotel retaining its independent name. It is hoped that the marketing and sales support from the brand will drive more overseas business to Ireland, providing a boost for the hotel sector which has seen its value plummet dramatically during the recession.
Sir David, chairman of Michels & Taylor, said the new brand will plug a gap as Ireland has been without a major domestic hotel brand for many years.
"We believe there's a real opportunity for a group of hotels to get together and offer the customers something tangible and inherently Irish," he explained. "The country is famous the world over for its hospitality and friendly welcome, and we intend to utilise this wonderful asset, with professional hotel expertise from Michels & Taylor, to the commercial benefit of all the hotels that join in".
Derek Sach, senior executive, RBS, added: "We have significant exposure in Ireland and believe that creating a brand for the hotels with whom we work is a creative and commercially attractive opportunity to support them in strengthening their trading performance and enhancing their value for all the stakeholders involved"
Michels & Taylor currently works with 80 hotels in the UK and holds the full management contract on properties such as the Crowne Plaza Resort Colchester- Five Lakes, owned by AB Hotels. Sir David left the Hilton Group in 2007 after the sale of the hotels back to the US-based Hilton Hotels Corporation, now renamed Hilton Worldwide.