finance

Yotel boss explains thinking behind Scottish expansion


The chief executive of Yotel has revealed why he chose Glasgow for the brand’s latest opening.

Completed and due for launch last summer, the pandemic delayed plans, with only key workers allowed as guests.

The hotel has 257 bedrooms and is located on Argyle Street opposite Central Station.

Also launched last month is VEGA, a bar, four lane bowling alley and event space taking over the entire seventh floor, with space for 282 guests.


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Chief executive Hubert Viriot explained that the UK and Europe have always been a focus for Yotel’s development and in the past year, the business has opened five hotels in Europe – Edinburgh, Amsterdam, London, Glasgow and Porto.

“We do feel that we brought something quite unique to the Scottish cities, with a different offering than the mostly traditional hotels that currently dominate the markets in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“Due to our unique design, the cabins are well suited to both new builds as well as hotel conversions, both of which we have done in Scotland now with our hotels in Edinburgh and Glasgow.”

He added that with so many travel restrictions in place and staycations being so popular, having three hotels in the UK allows Yotel to operate more efficiently by clustering support functions.

Viriot explained that Yotel has always aimed to offer guests a low-touch environment, but this has become all the more relevant during the coronavirus crisis.

Last year, the company implemented SmartStay – a programme of safety measures to safeguard guests and staff, including hand sanitising stations, social distancing signage, increased food hygiene measures and new training.

“What has happened over the past 18 months in the industry, is the acceleration of the development of low touch options in the customer journey,” said Viriot.

“Applications like check-in kiosks and QR code ordering for food and amenities have been part of the Yotel experience since its inception in 2007 and the fact that it is increasingly becoming the norm in the industry shows our forward-thinking vision.”

He admitted that the company has been hit by Covid-19 challenges, much like the rest of the industry, but hailed his resilient colleagues. “It took dedication and commitment from everyone to get us to this point where we have all but two of our hotels back open.

“As a brand, we’ve used this time to invest and accelerate projects like the upgrading of our website and self-service stations, as well the development of a new app and the introduction of ordering food and amenities on your smart device.

“It is this investment into IT and processes simplifying the customer journey as well as our lean operational model, that gives us the ability to generate positive returns in spite of lower occupancy,” Viriot added.

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