Former Premier Inn director checks into SLG hotels division

Specialist Leisure Group (formerly Shearings Leisure Group) has appointed Andrew Francis as managing director of its hotel division, writes Katherine Price.

He joins the group from Premier Inn, where he was operations director, and has previously held operational and senior sales roles at Marriott International.

Francis takes over from Vince Flower, who retired after more than 35 years with Specialist Leisure Group.

Richard Calvert, chief executive of Specialist Leisure Group, said: “I am delighted to have someone of Andrew’s ability and track record joining the Specialist Leisure Group team. I’m sure that with his wide range of hotel sector experience he will bring some new ideas into the hotel division, as well as continuing the great job that Vince Flower did over the years for the group.”

Francis added: “I am excited to be joining the team and the business at this important time in the evolution of its three hotel brands. We have a real opportunity to build upon everyone’s brilliant work, by further differentiating the brands to meet the needs of a broader mix of business and the growing expectations of our existing clients.”

Specialist Leisure Group’s hotel properties are split between three brands: Coast & Country Hotels (12 properties), Bay Hotels (30 properties) and Country Living Hotels (two properties). The group is owned by private equity investor Lone Star Funds.

The group partnered with Country Living magazine to launch Country Living Hotels, believed to be the first time in the UK a hotel group has been magazine-branded, following the signing of a licensing agreement with Hearst, the owner of Country Living.

The Lansdown Grove in Bath and the St George in Harrogate underwent multimillion-pound refurbishments before relaunching.