His immediate focus will be on overseeing the successful launch of room2 Chiswick, the Group’s third hometel, which will offer 86 studios in a sought-after West London location. He will also play a key role in further defining and elevating the room2 brand.
Former Locke Hotels executive joins Lamington Group as Head of Group Operations ahead of accelerated growth phase
Tuesday, 17th January 2021
– Target of 5,000 hometel rooms across the UK by 2030 on track with third offering, room2 Chiswick, set to open in November –
London – Lamington Group (the “Group”), operators of room2, the world’s first hometel brand, have appointed Rob Cahn to the newly created role of Head of Group Operations, effective immediately. This latest senior hire is an important step for the continued growth of room2 and the Group as a whole, ahead of the opening of its third hometel in Chiswick in November this year.
Rob, who will be based in London and report directly to the Managing Directors, will be responsible for implementing new systems and procedures, along with co-ordinating operational and human resources activities across the Group’s aparthotel, residential lettings and co-working portfolio.
Rob brings over 10 years of hospitality sector and start up experience, and joins room2 from Locke Hotels, where he spent over two years as General Manager. During this time, he was responsible for the day to day running and successful launch of Locke at Broken Wharf hotel. Latterly he supported across additional new property launches in London. Prior to this, he was Owner and General Manager of the Witch Alm Bar & Restaurant in Innsbruck region, Austria. The restaurant achieved rapid growth to be ranked in the top 10 restaurants in West Austria within a year of opening, and then led to the successful sale two and a half years after launch.
Robert Godwin, Managing Director at Lamington Group and room2, commented: “This is an incredibly exciting time for both the hometel sector and room2, as a boom in staycationing and changing working habits favorably positions our highly flexible and experience-led product for a mix of corporate and leisure guests. Rob’s experience at Locke Hotels, in overseeing its transformation into a highly regarded, innovative aparthotel brand, will be a huge asset for the business, and attracting someone of his calibre shows the extent of our growth ambitions as the world’s first hometel brand.”
Rob Cahn added: “The entrepreneurial flair, company ambition and growth plans that Robert and the Group have demonstrated was a major factor in my decision to join the business. The room2 proposition in particular offers a unique angle within the expanding aparthotel sector and I look forward to working with the whole team to deliver on the vision of 5,000 keys across the UK by 2030.”
room2’s low-risk and lean hometel model has proved its resilience during the pandemic, remaining profitable with both room2 Southampton and room2’s hometel in Hammersmith continuing to trade since the government-imposed lockdown on March 23 last year. During 2020, room2 achieved a blended monthly occupancy rate of 70%. This compares favourably to the national serviced apartment average occupancy of approximately 47%, which itself is 9% ahead of the national hotel average. This performance has continued into 2021, with the Q1 blended occupancy rate continuing to significantly outperform at both a local and national level. The model has benefitted from its flexible cost base, enabling the hometels to adjust the service offering to cater to longer term guests, whilst capturing new markets and therefore protecting margins.
Reflecting the sectors growing maturity and institutionalisation, in January, room2 completed the sale and leaseback of its flagship offering, room2 Southampton, to a fund managed by Aberdeen Standard Investments. The disposal price of c. £10 million reflected a prime net initial yield of 4.98% with a 30 year indexed linked lease in place The transaction marked the first institutional acquisition of a hometel and a further investment for ASI in the fast-growing yet undersupplied extended stay sector and one of a small number of institutional acquisitions in the sector since the start of the pandemic.
About Lamington Group
Lamington Group has been established as an investor and developer of residential and commercial real estate since 1967. The Group has a family of brands, including Lamington Apartments, Lamington Lettings, Missionworks, room2 and room2 lite, and actively sources schemes where value can be added through planning and development. The group has a particular focus on expansion in the extended stay sector which is the fastest growing segment of the UK’s hospitality industry.
room2 is the UK’s first hometel brand, conceived in 2015. It is the third residential brand launched by the Lamington Group, an independent family-owned real estate investment and development company which was founded in the 1960s and is based in West London.
The brainchild of brothers Robert and Stuart Godwin, former members of the British Olympic Development Sailing team, hometels combine the best elements from Airbnb, serviced apartments and boutique hotels in an offering designed to appeal equally to corporate and leisure guests and those seeking alternative forms of residential accommodation. With innovative features such as kitchens in every room, the ability to select your own type of mattress and keyless check-in, room2’s highly flexible offer also includes 24 hour stays as standard with residences available from one night to one year and beyond.
room2 currently has two operational locations, the Southampton Hometel and Hammersmith Townhouse, both of which have performed strongly since opening. room2 has a further pipeline of live projects across the UK with a Gross Development Value of over £100 million, including sites in Chiswick, Manchester, Belfast, Fulham and Liverpool, featuring a mix of wholly owned assets and those pre-leased to room2 by development partners.