• Jurys Inn hires Cassani

Barbara Cassani, the former boss of budget airline Go-Fly, has extended her wings across hotels with her appointment as chairman of Jurys Doyle.

The owner of the company, Quinlan Private, is no doubt hoping she can weave the same magic at Jurys Inn that she did at Go where she succeeded in selling the British Airways owned business to easyJet for £374m in 2002.

Quinlan bought Jurys for Eu1.165bn in June last year, at the top of the last cycle. The full price for the then 20-strong portfolio was justified on the basis of its roll-out potential.

The trick up Quinlan's sleeve was its network in Central and Eastern Europe, a region where it has already found sites for the brand which are completing due diligence.

The current portfolio is 23-strong across the UK and the Republic of Ireland with a further 10 sites in construction in the UK. The latest openings were in Plymouth and Brighton with a site in Liverpool opening this week.

Since leaving BA on the sale of Go, Cassani was the first chairman for London's successful bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games and she was briefly non-executive director at Spanish budget airline Vueling in 2007.

Quinlan undertook a Eu400m fund raising exercise late last year in order to finance development plans. It wants at least 15 hotels in Central and Eastern Europe and is relying on its property and development arm in the region, Quinlan Private Golub.

According to reported comments by Nial Geoghegan, Jurys Inn's CEO, the company has a "substantially different" operational environment compared to when it was part of the listed Jurys Doyle. This was a heavy hint that the focus is on delivering rapid growth rather than short-term profits.

Meanwhile, one budget operation that has seen its expansion plans stymied is Metro Inns. This group of five former Formule 1 hotels was to have been the backbone of a new budget chain.

But now Christie & Co has been appointed to unload the former sites which were sold by Accor for about £5m in March last year.

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