Village Hotel Club has celebrated the opening of its 30th hotel with the appointment of three celebrity ambassadors to promote its connection with local communities.
Sir Mo Farah, Baroness Karren Brady and Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown will be at the group's 153-bedroom hotel in Bristol today to announce a programme of activities they have created in conjunction with Village to drive business through a series of fitness, business and food and drink programmes under the Village Green moniker.
The initiatives follow the decision by Village to change the business model of each of its hotels by offering smaller bedrooms (around 16 sq m compared to the previous 20 sq m), creating one food and beverage outlet in place of a pub and separate restaurant, and introducing a shared working space. In addition, every hotel features extensive leisure facilities with up to 4,000 members at each site.
The Bristol hotel is the second hotel to follow the new format following the opening of the 153-bedroom Portsmouth hotel last year. In addition, 19 of the other properties have also been repositioned.
Gary Davis, executive chairman of Village Hotel Club, said the refocus of the business will allow the development of new hotels in a more restricted space of 2.2 acres, whereas previously three acres was required.
He added that Village Green has been created to reflect that the group offers more than hotel bedrooms.
"In fact, 80% of our revenue comes from local business and social community. This is because we act as the local pub for many communities.
"We support and promote fitness and offer access to affordable state of the art gym facilities in areas that are out of town or otherwise may not have these. And we bring in local businesses and give them a place to connect, network and run their businesses in an affordable way, outside of the big cities."
As community fitness ambassador for Village Green, Farah will today launch a new ‘Motion' fitness class at the Bristol hotel, featuring elements of his own training. Later this year he will announce a major fitness challenge with the group.
Farah said he was working with Village to motivate communities to get fit and active. "Ultimately I want to see even more gyms and fitness centres open up to the community and think about how they can pass on their expertise in the same way that Village is doing."
Brady's involvement as local business ambassador will see the launch of the flexible business networking space VWorks and creation of the VWorks Awards, which will be launched in the autumn to with a pitch-style competition.
Brown, the food and drink ambassador, will kick start a company-wide initiative by opening up the Bristol hotel kitchen to hospitality college students from South Gloucester College. She is also creating Candice's Afternoon Tea to be introduced in the summer at every Village hotel on Saturdays.
Davis said that Village is on target to open an additional 20 hotels in the UK by 2025, with an investment of £500m backed by American owners KSL Capital Partners.
"By 2022 we expect to be in a position to start looking at expansion overseas," he said. "America is likely to be our first port of call with our investors being based there, but there is also interest in Village from Asia and northern Europe."