Former Manchester United player and football pundit Gary Neville hopes to open a string of hotels across the UK.
In the opening session at the Annual Hotel Conference, held today at Manchester's Hilton Deansgate hotel, Neville told the 500 delegates that the 140-bedroom hotel he is developing close to Manchester United's Old Trafford ground could be the first of many.
"We've got to deliver a profit with the first one, but yes I do hope we can go on and open more across the country."
Neville explained that his interest in hotel development began three or four years ago when a bad tackle ended his playing career. "Looking ahead to the future, I wanted to do something that provided the same excitment as the past 20 years ", he said.
Neville decided on hotel development and to gain knowledge of the sector he became a director of a Maltese hotel company, Island Hotels Group.
"My intention was to learn as much as possible," he said.
In developing the hotel in Manchester Neville explained that he was inspired by his former boss Sir Alex Ferguson who has "an aura of presence" which encourages people to perform for him to the best of their ability as well as allow them to express themselves.
"He is a master of communication who is always totally honest with his team."
Neville also shared his pet hate about hotels: poor products in the bedroom mini-bars - "we'll have large bars of Galaxy in ours!" - and room service that is never on time.
By Janet Harmer
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