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Budget Guru is Hand Picked

Former budget hotel guru Nick Read has upgraded to the luxury hotel
sector as the new marketing director of award-winning Hand Picked Hotels. Nick Read has joined the board of Hand Picked Hotels, the exclusive collection of 14 luxurious country house hotels, with the emphasis on exquisite food, fine wines and first-class service, created four years ago by former City lawyer Julia Hands.
Nick Read’s track record in the hotel sector was with Premier Lodge, where he was brand director, responsible for creating and implementing the Premier Lodge brand strategy from 1998 to 2004. At Premier Lodge, Nick Read was successful in differentiating and positioning the brand as a premium budget hotel brand. Read’s innovations and many industry firsts contributed to Premier Lodge growing into one of the most successful budget hotel brands, hotel brand of the year 2003, that was eventually sold to Whitbread.
With the move to Whitbread, Nick Read joined Costa Coffee on a consultancy secondment as UK head of marketing. Ê

Nick Read’s move to Hand Picked Hotels follows a number of recent accolades for the Sevenoaks-based company, which was formed in 2001. Hand Picked Hotels is currently AA Hotel Group of the Year 2004-2005. The company was presented with the Business Excellence Award last December by the Tourism Minister for its commitment to customer service and developing the brand.Ê Its founder,  Julia Hands, was presented with the top award in the Tourism and Leisure business sector of the First Women Awards, organised by the CBI, in conjunction with Real Business magazine, in July this year.
Nick Read said:Ê “I am looking forward to working with Julia Hands and the board at Hand Picked Hotels to build on the group’s recent successes. My brief is to develop Hand Picked Hotels into the first choice brand among luxury hotels. I am currently building a marketing team to take Hand Picked Hotels into the market place to create impact, increase sales and build brand recognition.”
Julia Hands, chief executive of Hand Picked Hotels, said: “We are delighted that Nick Read has joined us. His reputation and track record with Premier Lodge was excellent and we are looking forward to Nick bringing his skill and experience in building a really strong, successful brand to a different sector of the market.”