Starting a hotel franchise is a big investment, so it’s normal to approach such a decision with caution. If you don’t know where to start, read on to find out our top eight hotel franchises in the UK.
There are currently almost 13,000 hotel businesses contributing over 373,400 jobs to our society, not to mention the UK hotel industry generated a total revenue of £20 billion in 2019. While the outcome of Brexit has created a certain level of uncertainty over the future of the industry, many British holidaymakers are choosing to stay in the UK rather than venturing overseas. This presents an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to capitalise from the lucrative staycation market.
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Reasons why starting a hotel franchise is a great idea
- Satisfying when guests have an enjoyable stay
- Operate under an established brand that customers recognise and can trust
- Lucrative market, especially with the booming ‘staycation’ sector
Top 8 hotel franchises in the UK
Let's now look at the top eight hotel franchises in the UK, split into boutique, big chian and luxe. categories.
1. Curio by Hilton
Founded in 2014, Curio has been one of the brands in the Hilton Hotel portfolio for five years. Hilton has opened over 35 hotels in this time, all of which have a distinctive interior design strategy and atmosphere. Curio hotels present “distinct character and a personality you can’t duplicate”, but above all they are “authentic, independent and remarkable”.
- Becoming a Curio franchise: Hilton is seeking out potential franchisees to expand the Curio brand further, so if you think you’ve got what it takes to lead a boutique hotel under the Curio name, head to the Hilton website now. You can find details of who to contact here.
- How much you need to invest: Due to the size, level of infrastructure and ongoing expenses of a hotel, the investment amount is significant. Franchisees will need to make an initial investment of between £2,960,000 and £76,820,500, depending on the size and location of the hotel. On top of this, investors must be prepared to pay franchise fees of £60,000 (Entrepreneur).
- What you get for your investment: You can operate under a brand with a wealth of experience and expertise in the hospitality industry. Read more about franchising with Hilton Hotels here.
2. Esplendor by Wyndham
Like Curio, Esplendor is the boutique hotel brand in the Wyndham hotels portfolio. It is a notable hotel chain in South America and aims to give each guest an unforgettable stay by putting comfort and style first. As a franchise, Wyndham owns 20 different brands which offer consumers slightly different experiences. In total, the business operates over 9,000 hotels which have almost 800,000 rooms and stretch across 80 countries.
- Becoming an Esplendor franchisee: Click here to find the contact information of the franchising team.
- What you get for your investment: If you start an Esplendor hotel from scratch, you’ll be able to seek advice on development, design, project management and construction management from Wyndham’s in-house Strategic Development Team, while the Architecture, Design and Construction (AD&C) specialists lead the project. On the other hand, if you opt to remodel an existing hotel into an Esplendor hotel, the AD&C team can help you with the refurbishment strategies. In either case, you can rely on ongoing operational support and additional training to ensure that your hotel is as efficient and profitable as it can be.
3. Hotel Indigo by IHG
IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group) is an international franchise that operates 16 hotel brands. Franchisees make up the majority of the business, as 4,615 hotels out of 5,518 are operated under franchise agreements. The IHG name spans almost 100 countries and delivers 163 million nights of board every year.
When IHG introduced its brand, Hotel Indigo, it gave its customers a chain of hotels that listen to the local community and fit in well. They all have plush bedding, hard surface flooring and spa-inspired bathrooms. There are 103 Hotel Indigo branches, offering 12,828 rooms in total.
- Becoming a Hotel Indigo franchise: Click here to find out more about investing in this hotel business.
- How much you need to invest: If you’d like to open up your own Hotel Indigo, you will need to have the funds to invest between £13,142,000 and £29,388,000. This is a comparatively cheaper investment opportunity than Curio by Hilton, but the franchise fee rate remains the same, at £60,000.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll be supported throughout the entirety of your franchising journey.
Travelodge is the second largest budget hotel chain in the industry after Premier Inn. The brand has a large clientele, as it has become synonymous with affordable accommodation in the UK. With more than 500 branches, Travelodge has a strong presence in all major towns and cities.
Travelodges can be built to fit a range of designs. They have previously been incorporated into Grade II-listed buildings, office conversions, purpose-built hotels, acquisitions of existing hotels and as part of co-partnerships with leading retailers, supermarkets and pub companies.
- Becoming a Travelodge franchisee: In joining this franchise, you are becoming part of a well-known, reputable brand and a lucrative industry. Unfortunately, it’s not actively looking for new investors at the moment, but it’s worth checking back every now and then to see whether it starts accepting applications again in the future.
- How much you need to invest: To start a Travelodge hotel, you’ll need a liquid capital of around £190,000.
- What you get for your investment: Travelodge guides its franchisees throughout the set-up process and offers continued support once the hotel is up and running.
5. Holiday Inn & Holiday Inn Express
You may be interested to learn that Holiday Inn – the third biggest hotel chain in the UK – and its offshoot brand, Holiday Inn Express, are operated under franchise agreements. They’re part of the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), which manages 16 different hotel brands.
- Becoming a Holiday Inn franchisee: Like other hotel franchises, Holiday Inn is looking for franchisees with the motivation to set up a thriving business. To start the process, get in touch with the hotel chain here.
- How much you need to invest: IHG has not officially published the investment needed to open a Holiday Inn or Holiday Inn Express, but Entrepreneur has produced suggested costs. It’s thought that franchise fees could amount to £40,000, while the initial investment might be between £6.1 million and £19.3 million.
- What you get for your investment: The IHG team supports partners every step of the way to make sure franchisees get the most from the business opportunity. This starts with carrying out market analysis assessments and tracking the 2,000+ tasks that need to be completed before launch day.
2019 The UK hotel industry generated a total revenue of £20 billion last year
6. Choice Hotels
Choice Hotels is one of the largest hotel franchises in the world. The hotel franchise boasts more than 6,400 hotels in over 40 countries.
- Becoming a Choice Hotels franchisee: Unfortunately, Choice Hotels is no longer franchising with us, but keep an eye on its website to stay on top of any developments.
- How much you need to invest: The initial franchise fee is around £7,000-£46,000, and you should have a net worth of £580,000 and a liquid capital of £193,000.
- What you get for your investment: You’ll attend a comprehensive training programme held at Choice Hotels headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland. When you return to the UK, your learning continues with access to ChoiceU.com. This is an online learning resource, which also contains over 100 regional workshops per year. On top of this, you’ll be allocated a dedicated Area Director who will be on hand to answer any questions you have at any time.
7. Hemera Holidays
Hemera Holidays offers an array of luxury lodges, holiday homes and cabins for holiday lettings. Founded in 2014, the UK holiday brand has grown rapidly in the last four years and is consequently on the hunt for savvy entrepreneurs all over the UK.
UK holidays are becoming more on-trend and hot tub lodges in particular are in huge demand. Therefore, many landlords are progressing into the holiday market – one of the most rapidly growing markets in UK. Hemera Holidays lets you take advantage of this, and all you need is drive, knowledge of the local area and the ability to locate and work with holiday let owners.
- Becoming a Hemera Holidays franchisee: The holiday company prides itself on offering a top service, rather than price, and wants franchisees who share these core values. Franchisees will be able to work flexible hours, build their business around family life and find joy in helping holidaymakers enjoy a trip they won’t forget. Click here to find out more.
- How much you need to invest: The total investment is £4,995 and you can expect to make around £75,000 in revenue after two years.
- What you get for your investment: Franchisees make money from each booking they generate. They’ll also have a dedicated team behind them, who will be on-call to provide support in admin, finance and marketing.
If you fancy going a little more upmarket, why not start a Marriott franchise unit? This hotel chain is found across the world, and its hotels range in size from 100 to 2,000 rooms. Most also incorporate restaurants, bars and lounges for its visitors to relax in and enjoy a bite to eat.
- Becoming a Marriott franchisee: To find out more, check out the Marriott hotel website.
- How much you need to invest: Franchise Direct has released a table of expected costs for setting up and running your own business under the Marriott name. While each guestroom could incur costs between £175,000 and £280,000, total costs should equal £55–£87 million. These numbers are calculated based on a 300-room Marriott hotel; you could reduce them by negotiating a contract for a smaller franchise unit.
>> Read more:
- You're Never Too Young to Become a Franchisee
- Becoming a Franchisee: 8 Things You Must Know Before Getting Started
- 3 key traits of a successful franchisee
- Five Great Reasons to Become a Franchisee
- Are you ready to become a franchisee? Check out our checklist
- Top 10 things you should know before you become a franchisee
Start a hotel franchise today
Hopefully, you’ve been inspired to delve deeper into one of these hotel franchise opportunities. They do have a wide range of investment costs, but even those with the lowest are still pretty substantial. So, if you’d like to learn more about some opportunities that are more affordable and suited to your budget, we've compiled a list of our top 10 low-cost franchises to consider this year.
If you're wondering how to get started as a franchisee and buy your first hotel, we've got you covered on that front as well! Interested in the powerful businesspeople spearheading the success and growth of the UK’s biggest hotel chains? Why not check out one of the articles below?
Becky Martin, Point Franchise ©