Thistle Hotels will invest more than £100 million this year on rebranding 25 of its 32 UK hotels by May.
The first three hotels to be rebranded will be the Atlantic Tower in Liverpool, and Kensington Gardens and Trafalgar Square, in London. The group is positioning itself as the “informal upmarket hotel group” and will now simply be known as “Thistle”.
A new user-friendly website will also be launching in April with four times more information than the present one. Chris Gillett, chief operating officer of Thistle Hotels, explains: “Thistle has strong brand recognition and our portfolio has an excellent presence throughout the UK. However, in a few areas our product was a little dated and required investment.”
Bedrooms, public spaces and restaurant offerings have all been updated. Guests will notice the change as soon as they enter the new Thistles. The reception areas are being scrapped and replaced by stand-alone check-in terminals with chairs and plasma screens. BT Openzone is available throughout the hotels, and 32-inch plasma screen TVs have been installed in all of the new bedrooms.
Thistle has also updated its meetings product. Now all incidentals, such as flip charts, pens, photocopying and so on will be included in the price. Stuart Leven, sales and marketing director, says: “The day has gone when hotels can charge for these things. These are the things you just have to offer customers. It’s not about just changing the sign over the door.”
The brand has been developed over the last two years after extensive customer research. Leven adds: “I’m a firm believer in shouting about something once it has been done, rather than shouting about something before you do it.”
Leven says the new brand will appeal to business travellers because it is “inline with modern business travel requirements such as connectivity, fine dining, and service”.
More good news for business travellers is that guests staying at sister-brand Guoman should benefit from a loyalty programme it is launching by July, with Thistle also considering a loyalty programme for the future.
For more information visit thistle.com.
By Felicity Cousins