Edinburgh budget hotels could be curbed to encourage luxury chains

Edinburgh budget hotels could be curbed to encourage luxury chains

New research has revealed that budget hotel chains like Premier Inn and Travelodge now make up more than half of the Capital’s hotel stock for the first time.

The city council has admitted Edinburgh’s hotel offering has become too heavily “weighted” in favour of budget operators during the downturn since the financial crash of 2008. Now it is to launch a new drive to target big-spending visitors and expensive hotel chains amid warnings that Edinburgh is failing to meet key industry growth targets. This is despite the opening of 12 new hotels across the city in the last few years and an average occupancy rate of 83 per cent.

New controls on budget chains are expected to be drawn up after an official report warned that hotel developers were “typically able to outbid office developments for land and leases.”

Budget hotel operators, who also include Apex, Ibis and Holiday Inn Express, are said to be able to regularly outbid luxury hotel brands for sites. 

Tourism and marketing chiefs in Edinburgh are expected to prioritise the targeting of some of the world’s biggest luxury brands for key development sites in future. New planning regulations are set to be drawn up by the council to ensure an “appropriate mix of uses” in the city centre.

The council is expected to encourage major new hotel developments outwith the city centre, particularly on the waterfront and near Edinburgh Airport.

A key aim of the current tourism strategy for the city is to “extend its footprint” to ease pressure on the Old and New Towns during peak periods. Budget chains have been responsible for the “vast majority” of new hotels which have opened across the city since 2012.

The last luxury hotel to open was Missoni on George IV Bridge in 2009, although the chain pulled out of the city after five years and it has been operated as the G&V Royal Mile since then. Two separate five-star hotel developments on the Royal Mile and at Haymarket had to be scaled back in the face of opposition and had sites snapped up by budget operators.

Article credit: Scotsman