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Wanderers acquire Stadium hotel & what it means

Chris Brunskill

One of the least advertised features of Bolton Wanderers' Reebok Stadium is what is now formerly known as the De Vere Whites Hotel built directly into stadium. The club officially announced earlier in the day that they have reached an agreement with De Vere to take full ownership of the hotel, placing it under the business umbrella of Bolton Wanderers. The hotel has now been rebranded as the Bolton Whites hotel.

Speaking in the club's official release, Bradley Cooper, chief operating officer of Bolton Wanderers, said:

"This move makes sense to all involved. We've been able to reach an agreement with De Vere to take sole ownership of the hotel."

Suzanne Speak, hotel general manager of the Bolton Whites said:

"This new venture will allow us to significantly improve our customers' experiences. Our focus will very much be on service excellence and maximising the potential of this unique venue."

The change also brings catering for the club in-house with Heathcotes, founded by two-Michelin star chef and lifeloong Bolton fan Paul Heathcote, doing the work for the hotel and the Reebok Stadium. Heathcote was delighted:

"Being a fan of the club this is a dream come true. I look forward to working with the club I have supported since I was a boy."

The hotel features 125 ensuite rooms as well as over 50 training and meeting rooms, pool, gym, and just about all of the other amenities that you would expect in a nice hotel. Oh, and a room that housed then-new recruit Blerim Dzemaili following his ruptured knee ligament injury immediately after signing for Bolton.

Kidding aside, the deal could prove to be an important one for the Whites as they added full ownership of a valuable asset to their portfolio. The hotel, per the 2012 financial report, is valued at £8,522,000 and brought in revenue of £7,300,000. What the financial report doesn't detail is what the costs of operating the hotel were and thus whether the hotel turned a profit or not. The club also did not detail the cost of acquiring the hotel or the terms of the deal. Wanderers will not have to split the revenues with De Vere anymore but with transaction comes added risk for the club that was previously mitigated by having multiple owners.

Additionally, the hotel comes with its own challenges as management will have to figure out a way to bring revenues up. That £7.3 million figure from 2012 is down by £500,000 from the 2011 figure of £7.8 million that De Vere Whites brought in. That decreased revenue came despite having a higher occupancy rate in 2012 compared to 2011 (79% v. 75%) but was defined by the average room rate which dropped from £52.11 to £45.85 from 2011 to 2012.

Should the worst case scenario happen, Wanderers now have another salable asset on their books. Best case scenario? The hotel brings in additional funds for Wanderers.