London hotel sector set for 2012 boost, say conference speakers

London’s hotel industry is set to expand to accommodate visitors for the 2012 Olympic Games, according to speakers at last week’s New London Architecture hotel conference.

Deputy mayor Sir Simon Milton told delegates there are 29 new hotel developments or extensions due for completion in London in the next three years.

A total of 13 300 new London hotel rooms may be created by 2012, largely clustered in five development hotspots, including Hillingdon, Westminster, Southwark, the City and Lambeth.

The London Development Agency is stipulating that up to a tenth of all the new rooms should be accessible to disabled and elderly people.

According to Robert Ryan, Travelodge development manager for central and greater London, B&Bs, hostels and smaller hotels are likely to close in the capital as big budget brands such as Travelodge and Premier Inn boost portfolios. Travelodge, whose interiors were radically redesigned in 2007 by The One Off (pictured above right), aims to own 7000 rooms in London by 2012. ’There is a severe lack of rooms in Greater London’, says Ryan.

Home to part of the Olympic Park, and one of the poorest boroughs in the UK, Tower Hamlets is keen to attract a variety of hotels.

The council’s inward investment and business tourism manager Patricia Holmes is keen to point out that while the games are transient, hotels will pick up business from other sources beyond the month-long event.

’We have more than 10 000 small businesses here, many of which are creative, and which use boutique hotels such as Boundary in Shoreditch for client meetings,’ says Holmes.

She is also keen to provide artists performing at The O2 with accommodation close by.

Neighbouring borough Newham is home to the Excel Centre. ’A major problem for the centre is that it does not have enough hotels serving it,’ she says.

Another speaker at the conference, architect Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates president Paul Katz, criticised local government representatives for failing to come up with a plan to use new transport links such as Crossrail to develop hotel clusters.

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