Forte Hotels, the hotel division of Granada Group, has hired Hill
and Knowlton to handle its global PR.
The division, which owns 250 hotels in 50 countries, was bought from
founder, Sir Rocco Forte, in a hostile take-over in 1996. For a
six-figure fee, H&K will handle consumer, business-to-business and
corporate PR for Forte’s four hotel brands, Le Meridien, Heritage,
Posthouse and London Signature hotels. Forte’s new chief executive,
Antoine Cau, who joined at the beginning of the year, is planning to
expand Le Meridien brand, and 19 new hotels are under development.
Forte’s only retained agency last year was Lou Hammond and Associates,
in the US, which it n o longer works with.
H&K was hired after a non-competitive pitch last year, and has been
working with Forte to design a communications programme which it has now
signed a contract to implement.
Forte Hotels has an annual turnover of pounds 1 billion, according to
the 1997 annual report. It accounts for a quarter of Granada Group’s
Granada’s other divisions are media, audio and visual equipment rental
and restaurants , which includes service stations and Travelodge
Forte’s PR is handled from London by a team of four, led by Alison
Carey, who reports to marketing communications director Breffni
Walsh said: ’We have seen the benefits of a central, one-stop operation
for our advertising and PR was the next valuable piece of the marketing