Dominion Hospitality, the Ted Kennedy-led group which acquired the bulk of the Chapman Group estate last year, is eyeing expansion opportunities, MCA understands.

Kennedy told MCA that the growth strategy would centre around the currently 20-strong Relax Innz brand, with sites being sought “between Tewkesbury and Hastings”. He said the group was also keen to add boutique hotels, which would operate under the Historic Inns banner.

He said US private equity backers Stellex were keen to add to the 30-strong estate, which was purchased for £30m last November, and that while there were no defined targets for growth, he would like to grow the number of bedrooms from the current 450 to c1,000 over the coming years.

He said the operation model was likely to move away from franchise agreements to directly managed sites as the estate grows. Lianne Tombs has joined from LT Management as operations director.

Kennedy said the current estate would be upgraded over a rolling five-year programme and that a new website was soon to be launched.

He said: “We see a lot of potential for Relax Innz as a regional brand. In terms of price point we sit a bit below Premier Inn but our point of difference is that they are not identikit – the local character is very important.

“Chris and Delia Chapman did a great job with this business and so far we haven’t really changed that much. We’re probably going to be a bit more focussed on food than they were.”

Kennedy said that there were likely to be a handful of disposals over time and that targets for acquisitions would be sites with 20 or more rooms, or the scope for it.