Virgin set to unwrap plans for major hotel brand

Virgin%20TrainVirgin is understood to be plotting the launch of a major hotel brand. Former Virgin Trains marketer Craig Inglis is thought to be spearheading the plans, which are due to be presented to the Virgin board in January.

The new brand, which is being developed for the UK and Europe, will be unveiled in the spring or summer.

The new portfolio will complement the company’s existing properties. Virgin currently operates three branded hotels in Barbados and is planning to open new units elsewhere in the Caribbean, Dubai, Mauritius and the US.

Industry insiders have linked the plan with the start-up agency expected to be launched by James Murphy, the former chief executive of Virgin incumbent RKCR/ Y&R, in January. It is thought that the start-up agency will be allowed to pitch for the account, as there is no incumbent agency.

RKCR/Y&R has historically had a strong grip on the Virgin business although this has been loosened after it resigned Virgin Money last week and lost out to Rapier as the lead agency on the Virgin Media business.

Inglis left the rail company after ten years last month following the loss of its Cross Country network to Arriva in July. Virgin now operates only the West Coast rail franchise.

Virgin, Inglis and Murphy were unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.

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