Shearings Leisure Group has teamed up with consumer magazine publisher, Hearst UK, for a series of partnerships, the first one being the opening of two ‘Country Living’ hotels.

Two of the group’s Coast & Country properties, one in the historic cities of Bath and the other in the spa town of Harrogate, are undergoing a multi-million refurbishment to be rebranded as ‘Country Living Hotels, exclusively by Coast & Country’. They will open in May and July respectively.

SLG chief executive Richard Calvert described the partnership as “ground-breaking.”

“There is nothing like this in the world. At SLG, we have 60% repeat business but to grow as we want to, we need new customers to come in.

“If you look at the Hearst group, they sell four million magazines a month and have a further 17million digital viewers. So this is a new customer that can come into our family and a new revenue stream.”

If successful, Calvert said the partnership with Hearst could be extended.

“If you look at Hearst’s titles, they have everything from Inside Soap to Good Housekeeping, Prima and Men’s Health – and many more.

“We are discussing other opportunities with them. As well as hotels, SHG has a huge fleet of coaches so we could look at creating some specialist escorted tours to appeal to their readerships.

“We’re the largest buyer of Emmerdale tours for example, and apparently the Coronation Street tour is opening again so that could be packaged into a special Shearings Holiday for Inside Soap readers,” he said.

Calvert said agents would be able to book Shearings Holidays self-drive short break packages or bespoke coach breaks that will be tailor-made around the Country Living brand.

For example, a Shearings Holidays coach break at the Country Living St George’s Hotel in Harrogate will include a visit to Harewood House, home of the Queen’s cousin, and a guided tour of the RHS Harlow Carr Gardens by a ‘friend of the garden’, plus a cream tea at the famous ‘Betty’s Team Rooms’.

Prices start at £379 per person for a five-day coach break and go on sale today (March 19).

He added: “We’re delighted to be working with such a prestigious brand as Country Living. The creation of Country Living Hotels is an exciting venture for us – bringing new customers to our group and offering a differentiated and engaging new hotel experience for our loyal customers.

“Our significant investment in both these iconic hotels underlines our commitment to our partnership with Hearst UK and Country Living and augers well for future innovative partnerships between both our companies.”

James Wildman, Hearst UK chief executive, said: “This is the first time a publisher has put its stamp on a hotel – so we’re thrilled to be working with Shearings Leisure Group, who are the experts in running a hugely successful travel business.

“Together we plan to create something new, that will surprise and delight Country Living loyal fans as well as introducing many more people to the brand.”

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