Best Western ‘will consider turning hotels into temporary hospitals’

Rob Paterson

Best Western Great Britain has said it will consider turning hotels into temporary hospitals if the NHS needs additional bed space during the coronavirus outbreak.

The independent hotel group will discuss the move with members this week, following comments by Health Secretary Matt Hancock this morning on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show. Hancock suggested empty hotels could be “ready-built facilities for looking after people”.

Rob Paterson, chief executive of Best Western Great Britain, said: “We are in unprecedented territory so we would be willing to take unprecedented steps to support the national effort.

“If the NHS wants additional bedspace, and we can partner with other companies to provide the right medical equipment and supplies and we can do it safely, then we would be willing to start having those conversations immediately. Whatever we can do to help.”

The group has seen a “significant increase” in cancellations for February to 7 March compared to the previous period, and bookings for March to July are showing varying degrees of decline.

Best Western has approximately 260 hotels in Great Britain, with almost 15,000 bedrooms.