Blog – Why I started StayZo – by Tom Whatton. Founder and Owner of StayZo Ltd

My passion for the hospitality industry and the property industry was formed at a young age – but I had no idea they would both come together and form StayZo Ltd – my serviced accommodation company.

From when I was first able to get part time jobs while still studying, I found myself working with members of the public – the customers – for many in companies as varied as supermarkets, on the tills, to making fried breakfasts at motorway service stations. I was always trying to ensure that the customers had what they wanted as quickly as possible and they went away happy.

After I had finished my accountancy training, travelled the world, got married and had my 3 children, I began to think more about my other interest, property. I became aware of serviced accommodation on a training course and knew quite quickly that this is an area that I wanted to start working in.

The hospitality industry has a history that spans millions of years. Even in ancient times, there were inns and private residences available to the public. The industry has grown by leaps and bounds since then and it shows no signs of slowing down. The Hospitality and Travel Industry employs more people than automotive, mining, financial services and manufacturing combined and the Industry contributes 10.6% of the Global Gross Domestic Product. This sector of the economy has a growth rate over 150% of the global average.

Property has always been a growth area. The prices of houses increase year after year in every part of the country and everybody needs a roof over their head.

I made the decision of combining property and hospitality together fairly quickly, but what I needed to think about was where my first property would be located. As many people do, they return to their roots, and I was no exception. I was born in Welwyn Garden City and during my childhood, right up to the present day, I had read many times in the local press about the lack of accommodation, the lack of hotel space in the local WGC area. Nothing had changed much – so StayZo in WGC came to be.

We opened our first property in May 2018. During my research into the area, many of the other properties available were 1- and 2-bedroom apartments but we at StayZo broke this mould – our first property was a 3 bedroom house – the first in Welwyn Garden City.

Since our opening date, we have attracted guests working on projects in the town and other areas around, guests that have moved away from the area and are returning for get together’s with their families and tourists that use the house as a base.

After fine tuning the operational process including IT and forming a great team of housekeepers, maintenance guys and gardeners StayZo opened its second property in Hatfield, then in Winchester, we refurbished a house in Bradford and our latest property is based in Peterborough.  

The future seems bright for StayZo. We are always on the look out for offering more locations whist continuing to give our valuable guests a first class service.


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