The Boutique Hotel Company, a consultancy and bookings website set up exclusively for use by the boutique hotel sector last year, has been forced to close because founder Jeffrey Crockett is too ill to continue running it.
Crockett, a member of the hospitality industry for more than 33 years, suffered a heart attack in September last year, pushing back plans to start up his new business.
He had hoped to launch The Boutique Hotel Company in November as a consultancy with a booking engine that was run by hoteliers and which planned to offer more flexibility than existing sites, more incentives, better value for money and a better commission structure for hotel partners.
However, yesterday the company's business development manager JJ Polak sent out a statement to say that although Crockett was showing 'much resilience in battling his illness', recuperation was slow and that doctors could not advise when he would be back to full health, hence the decision to close the company down.
"It has been decided by all parties concerned that it will be a long time until Jeffrey will be well enough to work again," he said. "As a result of this Boutique Hotels Management Ltd. and the brand ‘The Boutique Hotel Company’ will cease trading with immediate effect and be placed as a dormant company, existing only in name for the foreseeable future.
"For anyone who had signed up to The Boutique Hotel Company as a hotel partner, this collaboration will also cease."
Polak, who has been working as general manager of The Granary at Fawsley Hall Hotel & Spa in Northamptonshire and in the hotel's marketing department in the interim period, told BigHospitality that there had been interest from potential buyers for the business, but as Crockett was the 'main asset' it was not a worthwhile investment.
"It is unfortunately a very sad ending to what could have been a fantastic and very innovative product," he said.
"There is a chance that one day it could resume, but once again Jeffrey was the main asset for the business and it would likely rely on his full recovery first."
Crockett started working for the Savoy Group in 1978 before working in hotels in Geneva, Paris and New York. He was appointed general manager of Hambleton Hall in 1989 and went on to become the group's operations director of Hart Hambleton PLC before becoming managing director of Obelus Hospitality.
He will remain at The Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath until February before continuing recuperation away from hospital.