De Vere Village hotels has introduced a trial of a new superior room type at three of its 26 hotels.
Known as UpperDeck, the rooms - unveiled this week at Chester St Davids, Solihull and Swansea - are the first major initiative from Robert Cook (pictured), who was appointed chief executive of mid-market hotel group Village in January. It is expected that an average of 20 UpperDeck rooms per hotel - a total of 1000 rooms - will open across the estate by September 2012.
Cook explained that UpperDeck will enhance guests' experience, as well as drive average room rate and profitability.
"With UpperDeck we are re-inventing the wheel," he said. "Across the industry, and even before the economic downturn, we saw the downgrading of the upgraded status, especially in the midmarket segment. Cost cutting to improve profitability or just to keep your head above water has in most cases has prompted the stripping back of the basics in room amenities. Meanwhile, the sector is not seeing much by way of new investment and little is on the horizon.
"I could see a great opportunity to offer, to both corporate and leisure guests alike, a must-have upgrade that has real benefits, both during the stay and for another three months afterwards if they maximise the benefits of the UpperDeckClub website."
The enhanced features of an UpperDeck room include: SweetDreams bed - a hybrid of a Sealy Palatial Crest bed - with luxury mattress topper and Egyptian cotton linens, full Sky entertainment package including Sky Movies, Bose sound docks, Arran Aromatics toiletries, and Starbucks hospitality tray in-room.
In addition, guests who book into an UpperDeck room will have access to the UpperDeckClub for up to three months after their stay, enabling them to buy partner products at specially negotiated prices from British brands such as Antler (luggage) and Espa (spa products).
"I've always thought that the real potential of Village was waiting to be realised," added Cook. "I also believe that every weekday night away from home is begrudged so it must be as good as, if not better than, staying at home. What I want to achieve in UpperDeck epitomises my hospitality philosophy: great service, great rooms and, above all, an amazing stay."
By Janet Harmer
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