The hotels, hospitality & leisure sectiors are key sectors for the South West, generating income for the region and contributing to the South West’s enviable reputation as the favoured holiday destination for UK and overseas visitors.
Vickery Holman has a team of commercial property specialists right across the South West from The Isles of Scilly to north and west of Bristol. Having 4 regional offices, our local knowledge of market conditions and developments puts us in a strong position to advise and help investors, purchasers, owners and tenants of leisure properties to make informed decisions. We work with hotels, guest houses, pubs, restaurants and holiday parks for all their property requirements whether they are owners, managers or tenants. We help people to buy or sell their property, we offer advice on leases and rent reviews, we help with business rates checks and challenges and we provide building surveying services.
The Leisure Sector
We are more than simply an acquisition or letting agent for the Hotels, Hospitality and Leisure industries. We build long-term relationships with our clients, helping them with complex lease agreements, valuations, disputes and business rates consultancy. Vickery Holman is the leading multi-disciplinary commercial surveying consultancy in the South West, so when you work with us, you benefit from the strength of the expertise across our business.
The market is diverse, ranging from hotels to guest houses; cafes to fine dining restaurants; pubs to nightclubs, holiday rentals to large caravan parks. Whether you’re a new entrant to the market or a long-established operator in the sector, our specialist Hotels, Hospitality & Leisure team can help you make the right investment for you. We have 4 offices in the South West and a team of qualified surveyors to advise on valuations, rents and leases, business rates as well as to handle your sale or purchase. Our dedication to excellence and customer service is at the heart of what we do so you can trust us to give you the support and advice that you need.
To see the properties we are currently marketing, please click here.
Our specialist team of Chartered Surveyors across our offices offer a range of services which include, but are not limited to:
- Appeals and mitigation on business rates liability
- Acquisition and disposal
- Accredited ‘Red Book’ valuations
- Dispute resolution/expert witness work including service charges
- Rent reviews on pubs for both landlords or tenants
- Building advice
- Asset reviews including disposal and acquisition advice
If you would like to discuss any of these services further, please do not hesitate to get in contact using the links below.
Frequently Asked Questions
I am thinking about selling my property but am worried about it impacting on my existing trading business?
How do I get a valuation on my property?
Vickery Holman understand that having a valuation of your property and business can seem daunting, whether it be for lending purposes, tax planning or personal requirements. We will work with you to ensure the inspection is carried out at the right time and in a discrete way that doesn’t have any disrupting impact on the day to day running of the business. Our team of Leisure specialists are based in the South West and understand the local market ensuring we can value your property/business truly reflecting where it sits in its local and regional marketplace. Please contact us for an initial conversation about your valuation.
What should I think about when buying a hotel or pub?
Buying a hotel pub is both a commercial and a lifestyle choice for many people. The market for staycations in the UK is very strong so there is an argument in favour of investing in leisure sectors that are likely to benefit from the stay at home tourists. There are many factors to consider including the location, market conditions, the trading history and profitability of the business, the anticipated maintenance of the business, the prime market e.g. families or adults only and seasonal fluctuations. Vickery Holman has a growing Hotel & Hospitality team who understand the market. Please talk to Mike Easton if you are thinking of selling or buying a hotel or pub.
What is the market like for holiday rentals?
The market for holiday rentals in the South West is strong, with bookings for 2021 already showing limited availability in prime locations. The property market in the South West boomed in September 2020 with a resultant rise in property prices. While forecasts vary for 2021, the long term forecast for property prices remain positive. Holiday-makers will always value properties near a beach or with other facilities included, especially if holiday-makers are looking to spend more on a UK holiday than they might normally.
How do I check and challenge my business rates?
All business owners must pay business rates. Many are currently eligible for the business rates holiday during the COVID-19 pandemic. Business rates are calculated using a rateable value. Vickery Holman has a very experienced team of business rates consultants across the South West, with a proven track record of checking and challenging business rates calculations. If we find your rateable value is excessive and you have been charged too much, the savings can be significant. Even if you have recently modernised your business, it would be worth having your business rates checked by a professional surveyor. Talk to our business rates specialists for Leisure here.
Do I have to pay rates on a holiday rental?
If your holiday rental property is in England and available to let for short periods that total 140 days or more per year, it will be rated as a self-catering property and valued for business rates. The Valuation Office will work out the rateable value of your property based on its type, size, location, quality, number of bed spaces and how much income you’re likely to make from letting it. If you only let one property and its rateable value is less than £15,000 you may be eligible for small business rates relief. Since business rates will eat into your profits, it is worth having your rateable value checked by our professional business rates specialists.
What do I need to consider before buying a hotel or pub business?
Buying a pub or a hotel is both a commercial and a lifestyle choice for many people. The South West market is very popular for hotel and letting room accommodation but the smaller population means that food and beverage led sites have to factor in the local customer base and those who visit the region on holiday or business. There are many factors to consider including the location of the site, market conditions, the trading history and profitability of the business, the anticipated maintenance of the business and seasonal fluctuations. Vickery Holman has a growing Hotels, Hospitality and Leisure team who understand this market. Please talk to Michael Easton if you are thinking of selling or buying a hotel or public house as a trading concern.
Hotel, Saint Austell
Our client, the owner/occupier of a well-known hotel group, appointed Vickery Holman to reduce their business rates outgoings.
The rateable value (RV) of a hotel is typically calculated by analysing annual turnover to establish the level of accommodation receipts achieved per double bedroom unit (DBU) for the hotel type and area. When receipts at the antecedent valuation date (AVD) have been analysed per DBU, a percentage from a predetermined scale is applied to derive an appropriate rateable value. We found the VOA had recorded too low a DBU total, resulting in an incorrect value per DBU being used to value the property.
We submitted a Check to the VOA confirming the correct DBU number.
The outcome was the amendment of the DBU total in the hotel’s valuation, which in turn resulted in a new value per DBU being used as the basis for the valuation. This resulted in a reduction in rateable value from £265,000 to £259,000 and generated a total saving to our client of £12,700. Savings will continue into the future as the valuation is now based upon the correct factual information.
Tom Corser – www.tomcorser.com
Acting on behalf of the Tresco Estate, Vickery Holman successfully negotiated business rates reductions across a range of their Tresco Island properties, due to the impact of the loss of the helicopter service direct to the island back in 2012. Appeals were originally submitted back in 2015 for the public house, self-catering holiday units, leisure attraction and timeshare complexes. As this was a highly complex situation, negotiated settlements were reached with the Valuation Office Agency in June 2019. As a result of the successful appeals, Vickery Holman secured a rebate to our clients of over £130,000!
Nicola Murrish, Associate & rating surveyor in the Truro office, commented “We knew the helicopter service was important to the island and we knew it had a significant impact on the island and the way they operated. The impact on the different property types varied and we had to put a robust case to the Valuation Office Agency under the grounds of ‘a material change in circumstances’ demonstrating the impact and how and why it affected the Rateable Value of premises question.”
Gill Reading, Finance Manager for the estate commented on settlement of the appeals that “we are really pleased with the outcome and appreciate all the work you have put into this.”
Porthpean Outdoor Education Centre
Acting on behalf of Cornwall Council we ran a process to find a new operator for Porthpean Outdoor Education Centre near St Austell. Situated at Castle Gotha the main site comprised a camping field with 24x 6 person pitches and 12x camping pods, with reception, canteen, classroom and break out areas, high ropes and activity barn with climbing walls and caving system, all overlooking the coastline within 3.6 acres. The process involved a timed marketing campaign to seek all interest and lease bids in order to secure the long-term core business, that of providing affordable outdoor activities for children. The business included the commercial rights to the Porthpean beach and there was significant interest from existing operators and this culminated in a considerable number of proposals being put forward for review. From these the front runner was First Wave Adventures who already run an outdoor centre from Great Western Beach at Newquay.
Mark Turner, General Manager at First Wave Adventures said: “We are very proud to take on the operation of Porthpean Outdoor Education Centre and to finally have the keys in hand! We are excited about evolving and expanding the current offering to ensure schools and the wider community can access the very best outdoor education experience, here in this wonderful part of the county. As a Cornish company, we are passionate about supporting local schools and offering the teachers and children an incredible experience they will never forget. Plans are in place to get the venue up and operational as soon as possible in 2023 and bookings for school groups will be available as before, along with the other facilities run from the site and the beach below.”
This collaborative approach has provided a great result for all concerned.
White Hart Hotel, Moretonhampstead
A third Dartmoor transaction in as many months with the sale of the White Hart Hotel in Moretonhampstead. This followed the sale of the Drewe Arms, Drewsteignton in December and the letting of the Royal Oak at Meavy (where we acted for the parish council to find a new tenant). The White Hart is a traditional coaching inn comprising 17 letting bedrooms plus an additional 8 bedrooms in a nearby Mews. Acting for the owner Alison MacGregor, who with her late husband had owned the White Hart for 10 years we had strong levels of interest and the property has been sold to experienced operators who having sold their last venue in 2022 and wanted to get back into the sector. There was other interest and a clear indication that the hospital sector remains popular for the right sites.
Holiday Park, North Cornwall
Our client, the owner/occupier of a holiday park on the coast of North Cornwall, was aggrieved that their rateable value increased from £213,500 to £240,000 in the 2017 Rating List.
The adopted level of Fair Maintainable Turnover for the hire fleet income was excessive, resulting in a rateable value which was too high.
We submitted a detailed Challenge document to the VOA which proved, in this individual case, that the level of receipts was above the general tone for hire fleet lettings on comparable sites in the area. We successfully argued this was due to excellent management which enabled the park to achieve high levels of trade, over and above that of a typical park and typical operator.
The outcome was the amendment of the valuation, resulting in a reduction in rateable value from £240,000 to £213,000 which generated a total saving to our client of circa £46,000.
Community purchase of Drewe Arms
The Drewe Arms on Dartmoor is a traditional thatched Devon Inn of considerable charm and character. A grade II* listed building and mentioned in the CAMRA guide of historic interiors we acted on behalf of a National client to find a buyer and believe it to be the first time the pub had been on the open market having been a traditional tenancy for generations.
Once home to Britain’s longest serving landlady, Madge Mabel, there was strong interest but many were put off by the work required to get the building back into good order, as much was required both for the main building itself and the function room and bunk rooms to the rear within the 1/3 acre site. During the process the local community wanted to get involved and having listed the pub as a community asset set about a crowd funding initiative to buy the property and make the much needed improvements.
Having garnered considerable support far and wide the community achieved their objectives and a sale was concluded in December 2023. We worked with the steering group and our client to achieve a result and have subsequently provided some physical labour at one of two volunteering days to help get the building and grounds ready for a reopening in March 24. A successful outcome and we look forward to seeing the Drewe open and thriving once again.
Gylly Beach Cafe
Acting for clients who, after a 20 year ownership of the Gylly Beach Café in Falmouth wanted to sell the business and main building plus assign the adjoining takeaway and beach trading rights.
With a standout position directly onto Gyllyngvase beach, a blue flag location and year round busy trading location we settled on running a full and open marketing campaign to attract all interest and review all proposals to assist our clients in making the best possible exit.
The successful buyer was the growing hospitality arm of Healey’s Cydar, who being a 7th generation Cornish company was considered a great result for all involved. Since purchasing the venue the new owners are working on a number of additions to improve the existing and future proof the site for many generations to come.