Expansion allows BDL to redefine its business plan

Stewart Campbell, MD of Redefine|BDL Hotels. Picture: Contributed
Stewart Campbell, MD of Redefine|BDL Hotels. Picture: Contributed
Share this article
0
Have your say

Hotel management company Redefine BDL will keep up the pace of expansion after a recent transformative deal, adding the new Edinburgh Marriott to its portfolio and looking to gain a foothold overseas next year.

The Glasgow-based firm has been chosen to run the 240-bedroom Courtyard by Marriott in the Scottish capital when it opens in 2016, and also said it has two yet-to-be-built Aberdeen venues in the pipeline.

Managing director Stewart Campbell said: “There’s a couple of hotels we are looking at in Aberdeen. We haven’t contracted yet but we have been chosen as the operator. They are linked to the new exhibition centre, so they are two or three years away. It’s a massive project and the city definitely needs a new exhibition centre and more hotels.”

The latest additions come as BDL prepares to double the number of rooms it manages after clinching a partnership with property group LRG involving 19 Holiday Inns and three Crowne Plazas.

Announced last month, that was the largest ever hotel management-only deal in Europe, and will add almost 6,000 bedrooms in January, taking the firm’s rooms under management to almost 12,000.

A further 500 will be added through the course of 2015 thanks to new openings such as Ibis Styles in Glasgow.

Campbell said the group was benefiting from a revival of entrepreneurial building as well as an increase in the use of an operator like BDL.

“It’s really following on what is happening in America, where about 90 per cent of franchised hotels have that model, with other third-party companies operating them,” he said.

Campbell has been comparing BDL to the US management companies and expects that next month’s additions would make it large enough to slip into the US top ten.

He said BDL is now benefiting from its scale, as it can point to a proven track record and connections to top hotel brands when it approaches an owner.

Campbell now sees opportunities on the Continent, where the operator model is less well established, and in some parts of the US where the market is fragmented.

“The way we will probably go into mainland Europe is either by buying a smaller hotel management company – of which there aren’t actually that many because the model is not as mature there – or potentially following an owner that buys a portfolio of four or five hotels in a particular region,” he said.

“Our model doesn’t really work for one hotel, it’s a people business and you need people on the ground.”

Campbell, pictured, expects to make a move in late 2015 or early 2016. “There will definitely be opportunities over the next few months,”

he said. “The other thing that we are looking at now is that it might actually be easier to go to the US, because we would be the tenth biggest operator.”

SUBSCRIBE TO THE SCOTSMAN’S BUSINESS BRIEFING

Get the latest business headlines from a variety of news sources emailed to your inbox each morning