City Inn rebrands to Mint Hotel ahead of business uplift

Business traveller-focused hotel chain City Inn is rebranding as Mint Hotel in advance of expansion as it believes the original name does not match the “overall experience” of the brand.

Mint Hotel's David Orr
Mint Hotel’s David Orr

City Inn was launched as a chain of upper mid-market city centre hotels in 1995.

Company-commissioned research by BDRC found that the customer experience of a City Inn is of a “stylish, modern, contemporary, good value and upmarket” hotel. The research also showed that services and amenities offered by a hotel and its location are the most important factors when considering a booking.

Co-founder David Orr says: “Mint Hotel gives us an instantly memorable identity to embrace the quality and modernity of what we do and reflects the brands sector-leading qualities paving the way for the growth of our business.”

He acknowledged that there was strong competition from international hotel brands and smaller boutique operations but says: “We always try to focus on what we do rather than observe what everyone else is doing.

The company is working with Diamond Advertising on developing a campaign to accompany the rebrand that is likely to include targeted press advertising.

Mint Hotel will open a second London property near the Tower of London this month and is expanding overseas with the spring opening of a hotel in Amsterdam. It already has sites in Bristol, Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

The hotels are custom built and offer an iMac in each room with free wifi.

The hotel business has suffered in the depression but forecasts earlier this year say that there will be robust growth, particularly in the business sector.

London has held up well during the downturn and the STR Global Report on hotels for August says that the capital achieved the highest year to date RevPAR results (£99.33) since 2004, helped by the weak British exchange rate.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) launched the Staybridge Suite brand targeting business travellers in 2008. The first hotel opened in Liverpool and has rolled out to Newcastle and Edinburgh with another opening expected in Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford in London next year.

Nick Rich, IHG’s director of consumer insights for Europe, Middle East and Africa, recently commissioned research among 3,000 members of its Priority Club rewards scheme and says: “We expect to see business travellers continue to return in greater numbers through 2011. But with spending cuts affecting countries across Europe and the US, companies are looking for efficiency – hotels delivering a quality offering but without unnecessary excess or inflated prices.”

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