Ursula Schelle-Müller, head of marketing at the German hotel operator, has confirmed the business is in discussions for its first Liverpool site.
Motel One has opened 70 hotels across Europe since being founded in 2000, and Schelle-Müller met Place North West at the launch of its second Manchester hotel, a 302-bed site on Cross Street, which has been operating since June. Its first hotel in Manchester, a 330-bed site in Piccadilly, opened in 2015, and its third site, a 380-bed hotel in St Peter’s Square, is under construction.
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Schelle-Müller said: “Manchester has an interesting business and leisure market which is why we have expanded here and we are very keen to grow in the North West. We are in detailed discussions for a Liverpool site too, to add to our portfolio.
“For us, location-wise, a site should have a good leisure market, which Liverpool does. As many of our visitors are travelling on business, excellent transport links is a must, too, and locations have to have something interesting that we can personalise. Of course, in Manchester, this has been the cotton industry, so we’d be looking for a similar model in Liverpool.
“In terms of size, we would be looking for at least 100 rooms and would just start with one site before we looked to grow, which is what we did with Manchester.”
The Exchange Square hotel’s design concept, a nod to Manchester’s ‘Cottonopolis’ was created by local artist Andy Singleton and features six-metre high arches and pendant lights floating like cotton as visitors enter the reception area. Design work for both the Cross Street building and the ongoing St Peter’s Square project were joint ventures between architect Stephenson Studio, on behalf of Property Alliance Group, and Leach Rhodes Walker, with Russells Construction as the contractor.
Schelle-Müller, wife of Motel One founder Dieter Müller, added: “What makes us work so well is that we don’t offer a spa or a restaurant. Instead, we focus on sleep, quality and design, and budget. We use locally-sourced drinks for the bar and implement this model in all our locations to create a more personal feel.”
The Cross Street hotel’s prices for single rooms start from £69, with doubles from £84, which the company says caters to the budget design market.
So far, the hotel is trading well, with “around 65% occupancy”, which Schelle-Müller claims is “good for the first three months”.
She continued: “For us, after about three years we like to have around 75% occupancy, which we do have in our Piccadilly hotel and we are reaching the mid-70s around 300 days of the year, which is great considering the number of hotels in Manchester. The market is good for us because what we are offering – a budget design hotel – is so different.”
Motel One’s Piccadilly hotel was designed by Hodder + Partners. Again, Russells were the contractor.
In navigating the market, Motel One sees Premier Inn as its main competitor, said Schelle-Müller: “Premier Inn offers budget, but not to the level that we do. We focus incredibly hard on our design. We do not compete with AirBnB, as our competition with other hotels is strong enough. Our customers are different to AirBnB customers.”
For future expansion, there is uncertainty in how Brexit will affect Motel One.
Schelle-Müller said: “We really don’t know how Brexit will affect us, but that doesn’t disadvantage us because no one knows this. What we must focus on is keep making our product better, even after hotels are completed. What we’re most interested in now is how technology can be incorporated in our hotels, for example with smart TVs where people order food from their room. We are piloting this in Berlin before we look to roll it out.”