Hotel Hub: Holiday Inn Express University Street, Belfast
A modern hotel, located near Queen’s University Belfast with easy access to the Titanic Quarter and the City Centre, Holiday Inn Express Belfast City attracts business travellers, families and leisure visitors including concertgoers, history enthusiasts and shoppers.
“These markets are hugely buoyant for us, which is fantastic, and we want to strengthen these whilst at the same time growing new market segments,” says Aidan Murtagh, general manager. “Over the past few years, and in our plans for the coming year we plan to engage with and target new markets.”
Property owner the Andras Group has made a conscious decision to focus on attracting the Chinese market with two of its properties, the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, having already achieved China Ready accreditation through the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute.
“We have noticed a marked increase over recent years in the number of Asian guests staying at our hotels, so it is important that we can understand their needs and make them feel as welcome as possible to ensure they have an enjoyable stay with us during their visit to Northern Ireland,” says Murtagh. “China is the world’s largest, and fastest-growing, outbound travel market, presenting a unique opportunity for the Northern Ireland tourism industry. We want to attract visitors who on average stay longer and spend more than many other visitors.” With the total number of hotel rooms in Belfast City Centre rising 47% in 2018, competition has increased. “There are also some concerns about what the post-Brexit landscape will mean for the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland,” says Murtagh. “As one of the top five employers in the country, the hospitality industry will feel an effect – both in the short and long term –depending on the type of deal the UK strikes with Europe. A possible restriction on the freedom of movement between the EU and the UK could cause difficulties in bringing skilled workers from the continent.”
HOTEL OPENED: 1996
OWNERSHIP/REFURBISHMENT HISTORY: In February 2018, the Holiday Inn Express 60-bedroom expansion project benefited from a New Generation design concept. Each new bedroom has stylish fresh modern decor featuring larger beds with premium bedding, increased connectivity and Smart TV, air-conditioning and elegant bathrooms.
ROOM NUMBERS: 171
STAR RATING: 3
STYLE: Modern and ergonomic.
MARKET POSITIONING: A modern Belfast hotel near Queen’s University Belfast with easy access to the Titanic Quarter and the City Centre.
GUEST PROFILE: Business travellers, families and leisure visitors including concertgoers, history enthusiasts and shoppers.
USPs: Free car parking, free Wi-Fi, free essentials eg toothbrush, comb or razor.
FOOD & BEVERAGE: The Express Café & Bar is central to the public space innovation, making it inviting for fast tasty food or the free Express Start cooked breakfast, which is included for every guest.