When did you decide to get into the hospitality/hotels sector?
Throughout the closing years of my playing career, I always had one eye on what to do next. Both Ryan and I have been lucky enough to experience some of the best hotels and restaurants around the world and we wanted to use our experience to create something completely unique, but also a place that working-class fans could come and enjoy.
Whose idea was Hotel Football? How much input did you have?
The original idea was to open an Old Trafford Supporter’s Club. It was only after talks became more serious following retirement that we looked into the idea of launching a hotel that could feature both Old Trafford Supporter’s Club and Café Football, too.
We’ve all been very 'hands on' from the planning stages through to the design and we’re really happy with how it has turned out.
How proud are you of the property/concept now it's finally open?
We’re very proud. We’ve all poured our hearts into this project and we’re delighted with the finished article. It was great to see so many fans enjoying it on our first match day and we’ve had some really good, constructive feedback which we’re using to help shape and improve the fan experience moving forwards.
How important is the corporate market for:
a) Premier League football in general?
It’s definitely important to understand the opportunities the corporate market offers for match day revenue. Businesses continue to use sport as a way to network and build relationships, which makes developing the ultimate fan experience even more crucial.
b) Hotel Football specifically?
We’re fortunate to be in a location surrounded by blue chip companies, so the corporate market has always been a key audience for us.
Aside from match days, we’ve worked hard to develop a range of spaces to accommodate meetings and events of all sizes from a small group session in ‘The Boardroom’ to a banquet in the ‘Stadium Suite’ for 300.
What opportunities are there for corporate groups at Hotel Football - meetings, events, teambuilding, hospitality etc?
We have unbelievable views of one of the most iconic sporting stadiums in the world and the rest of Manchester, fit for inspiring meetings and conferences of any type.
The different meeting spaces within the hotel means we can tailor our offering dependent on the event need and our brilliant events team work closely with each booker to ensure they can create an event to remember.
Our Heaven space on the roof of the hotel offers the perfect setting for a 5-a-side football teambuilding session, while the Stadium Suite and Players’ Lounge can host groups from 150 to 500 for conferences and events. The Owners Room and The Boardroom are great for smaller brainstorming sessions and meetings.
What are the future plans for Hotel/Cafe Football & GG hospitality?
We’re an ambitious team and we’re always looking for a good opportunity to create something a bit new and different. Having said that, we don’t want to run before we can walk and we’re keen to make sure we get Hotel Football Old Trafford right before launching our next hotel or restaurant.
• For more breaking news and in-depth features, sign up to C&IT Magazine's daily Newstracker herecomments powered by Disqus