Jack Nicholas, general manager at the recently opened Hilton London Wembley hotel, speaks to Janie Manzoori-Stamford about the opportunities ahead
Hilton London Wembley has opened just in time for the games. How are bookings for the Olympic period?
The very fact that we're located directly next to Wembley Arena and opposite Wembley Stadium, where events will be taking place virtually every day during the Olympic period, means that we're in an ideal location for those travelling into the area. We expect to hit the ground running but there are still some great deals to be had.
How does the new hotel compare with the Wembley Plaza, where you were previously GM?
The two properties are very different. When I started working at the Wembley Plaza as GM, business followed the usual London trends and we worked with a focus on the leisure market. I see the new upscale Hilton London Wembley as being more of a hotel for business travellers with significant events space.
How much demand do you anticipate for the hotel's conference and banqueting facilities?
This is not only a significant hotel for Wembley, which will attract millions of visitors from across the country and beyond, but also a fantastic gateway to the rest of London. It will be a key player in attracting back the much-needed conference and events market to the area. Wembley is a hub for sport, comedy and music, but our ability to host events and meetings on any scale also makes the hotel an attractive destination for business travellers.
What is the USP to draw the market away from the centre of London?
The hotel has spectacular views from the ninth floor roof bar Sky Bar 9, with an outdoor terrace for up to 150 people. The 600-capacity, 190sq m banqueting facility is one of the largest for Hilton in London, so I believe the hotel will be used extensively for conferencing and banqueting events.
Aside from the business market, who else do you expect to use the hotel?
Wembley Stadium and Arena continue to house some of the world's best footballers and artists. We are also near Fountain Studios which produces programmes such as X Factor and Britain's Got Talent. We can provide ample luxury for some of the world's biggest stars and we'd love for them to stay with us when in town.