Pearls of Wisdom: David Myers

By Chris Druce

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chief executive, Hotel, Hotels

David Myers, chief executive, Sleeperz Hotels
David Myers, chief executive, Sleeperz Hotels
David Myers is chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, which last month secured £7m in funding to build a second hotel in Newcastle as it looks to become a nationwide chain

David Myers is chief executive of Sleeperz Hotels, which last month secured £7m in funding to build a second hotel in Newcastle as it looks to become a nationwide chain. He spoke to BigHospitality about what customers really want from a hotel.

I joined Sleeperz in June 2007 having overseen the sale of Alias Hotels to Swire Properties in 2006.​ Alias was great but perhaps lacked the clarity of proposition that I believe Sleeperz has, namely convenience, value and style.

Customers want a great location and stylish experience that is also value for money.​ The only way to deliver this given the cost of land is with a slightly smaller hotel room than normal. Rooms at our first hotel in Cardiff are therefore 15 sq m compared with the industry average of 22 sq m.

We’re doing something that no one else is with our compact rooms.​ Despite this we’re very much a hotel, not a hostel, with manned reception, a desk in each room and floor to ceiling windows, as well as a food and beverage offer, unlike some ‘budget’ rivals.

From day one we incorporated multitasking within our team culture.​ We have housekeepers that help serve breakfast and reception staff that man the bar.

Sleeperz is a value for money brand that has hospitality in its blood.​ I believe that’s a very powerful vehicle for the 21st century consumer. We’re aiming for 10 sites by 2015 and believe Sleeperz is much more than simply a niche brand.

We have no pools or leisure facilities​, despite the fact I played water-polo at international level while at university.

My pet hates include a lack of pricing transparency in hotels.​ I also hate having to phone down for an ironing board, especially as you’re usually in your boxer-shorts when you do.

I think the hotel industry is on an upward curve to recovery,​ but it will be a slow trajectory. The first part of next year will be challenging as VAT increases, but I remain optimistic about our prospects.

As a small company securing funding for our second hotel in Newcastle, which will open next year, was very, very challenging.​ I don’t see this situation getting much better in the next 18 months.

We have an agreement in place with NetworkRail​ to develop hotels on land they own so our next few sites will all be at travel hubs (Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester), as they represent low-hanging fruit. After that it’s up for grabs.

Operators are simply going to have to swallow the cost of broadband​ as it’s something customers are increasingly expecting for free. Of course some big chains are set up in such a way that they bring in significant revenue from such services so for them it’s hard to change.

Related topics: People, Hotels, Pearls of Wisdom, Business

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