The Prince of Wales Hotel on Lord Street in Southport. Photo by Andrew Brown Media

MPs are calling for a government inquiry to be held into hotel chain Britannia, “with a view to implementing a route to bring this chain back on track”. 

The firm owns venues across the UK including Pontins holiday park in Ainsdale, The Prince of Wales Hotel in Southport and The Scarisbrick Hotel in Southport. 

Britannia was revealed last week as the new owner of The Royal Clifton Hotel in Southport. 

A cross-party group of 16 politicians including Southport Conservative MP Damien Moore and West Lancashire Labour MP Rosie Cooper have written an open letter to Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee Chair Julian Knight MP asking for action to be taken. 

They said: “We believe the threshold has been met for your committee to perform an inquiry into the chain to establish the facts of what is going so drastically wrong, with a view to implementing a route to bring this chain back on track.”

The letter follows a number of concerns reported to local MPs, in addition to the annual Which? Consumer guide which has rated Britannia as the UK’s worst hotel chain for the past eight years in a row. 

In their submission, the MPs wrote: “We are writing to you to express our grave concern over the handling and performance of Britannia Hotels.

“Every year the consumer group Which? asks members and the general public to complete an online survey about their experience staying in different hotel chains over the past 12 months. The results from this annual survey are then used to determine the best and worst hotel chain in the UK. While the competition is fierce, Britannia Hotels has languished in last place for the past eight years, even losing percentage points on its rating and getting worse with each year that passes.

“The Britannia hotel chain prides itself on ‘affordable accommodation in the best locations’. Indeed, some of what were Britain’s grandest seaside and city hotels are part of its 61-hotel portfolio. But that is all that can really be said positively about the hotel chain.

“Upon further investigation of the countless write-ups and individual reviews from over the years, Britannia hotels are in a truly dilapidated state.

“For the past eight years, the Britannia hotel chain has been running the industry into the ground. The fact this has been allowed to continue for so long is nothing short of a scandal. Even prior to hitting rock-bottom nearly a decade ago it appears the chain was going through a managed decline.

“The impact is now damaging the prospects of towns and cities, especially in the North where the majority of this chain is located – in places like Southport, Scarborough, Bournemouth and Blackpool. Equally bad are Pontins holiday parks which are also part of the Britannia group. 

“Many of these locations have economies reliant on hospitality and tourism and trade on a positive reputation. Based on the dire experiences, the people who left the reviews are much less likely to return, and based on these dire reviews, people are actively choosing not to visit. Both previous and potential customers have a lasting bad impression of the area.

“With the hotel chain clearly doing nothing to build back its reputation over the last eight years at least, they are now actively playing a role in discouraging people to visit our towns and cities and the region – either to holiday, work, visit family and friends, or enjoy themselves. The result is that they are a blight on our local economy and the sectors that have a relationship with them – from theatre and our high streets to restaurants and large national sporting events.

“We believe the threshold has been met for your committee to perform an inquiry into the chain to establish the facts of what is going so drastically wrong, with a view to implementing a route to bring this chain back on track.

“We need to build back better from this pandemic, especially in hospitality and tourism. “Successful and attractive hotels – whether they are budget or luxury – can be the heart of a local economy.

“They are crucial in attracting business to a local area, providing jobs and building a strong regional reputation. In some of our towns and cities, hotels are a part of their local identity.

“We cannot sit for another year for Which? to predictably name this chain the worst in the UK again.”

The letter was signed by: Damien Moore MP Rt Hon. Conor Burns MP William Wragg MP Rt Hon. Robert Goodwill MP Jonathan Gullis MP Dr James Davies MP Andrew Lewer MP Richard Holden MP Jack Brereton MP Michael Fabricant MP Christian Wakeford MP Alison Thewliss MP Henry Smith MP Sally-Ann-Hart MP Virendra Sharma MP Nickie Aiken MP Rosie Cooper MP.

 

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com 

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