I find the response from a local bed-and-breakfast hotel to a planning application for a new Jurys Inn in central Swindon a little strange.
Mark Gregson, owner of the Royston Hotel in Victoria Road, said the bigger chains could afford to squeeze local businesses out of the area. He said: “When the Travelodge opened for business I think we reached the limit of beds to customers, and if another comes along I think it will have a negative impact. The big companies have an advantage because they can afford to cut their prices by half for six months. They can run at a loss due to their financial backing and that’s something we just can’t do.”
Well… yes… that’s all true. But Jurys Inn is not really in the same market as The Royston Hotel, in which I stayed for almost a month when I first came to Swindon. Even at half-price, a room in a Jurys Inn would still be more expensive than the equivalent in The Royston. This is a little like M&S complaining of competition from Woollies — there’s a little overlap in what they offer, but not much.
Nice to see that our recently elected councillor has a good grasp of the matter.
Central ward councillor Derique Montaut said the problem was similar to the dominance of big supermarkets. “While we recognise the positive side of this for Swindon, attention has to be given to the local traders who could be forced out of existence.”
No Derique, not at the prices Jurys Inn charge. And whilst there has been a recent local casualty to increased hotel competition, that one was part of a national chain.
Oh, one other thing. The Royston Hotel does a very nice full english breakfast. I strongly recommend it.