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ISSUE 66 / ConfErEnCE & MEEtIngS World / 21Big Interviewand rating system for buildings, certified. Sustainability is a challenge as we need to balance the guest experience with being eco friendly. We use soap and shampoo dispensers in all guest rooms, which saves 20,000 plastic bottles per year, LED lighting in all public spaces and have recycling bins in all guest rooms.How is business so far?The hotel is getting busy in the run up to the Olympics, where we will essentially be taking 12 months of business over a nine-month period. We have advanced bookings dating forward to 2015. Below: Aloft hotels are described as "on trend", like H&MOn trendtHE Aloft BrAnd HAS MorE tHAn 50 HotElS In SEvEn CoUntrIES. CMW CAUgHt Up WItH Aloft'S SEnIor vICE prESIdEnt, BrIAn MCgUInnESS, At tHE lAUnCH of ItS fIrSt UK propErtyhat are the vital statistics of the new London hotel?Situated in the heart of London's Docklands, next to Excel London, Aloft London Excel features 252 loft-like guest rooms, five meeting rooms, a lively bar scene and a grab-and-go food outlet. Aloft London Excel is owned by Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Company (ADNEC), which also owns Excel London as well as Aloft Abu Dhabi, the Middle East's first Aloft hotel, which is located adjacent to the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.Why open your latest property in London?Aloft has been created to shake up the staid and traditional mid-market hotel sector and is redefining the category by delivering urban-influenced, modern and vibrant design and a social guest experience at an affordable price point. We are competing with the likes of Novotel, Ibis and Hilton. The opening of ICC London Excel recently and the 2012 Olympic Games each provide ample opportunities for the new hotel.Who is an Aloft customer?Aloft has been designed for the next generation of traveller, a customer that wants a self-driven experience. The customer doesn't necessarily need a doorman or dry cleaning services during their stay, but what they do want is free bottled water and free internet access (the hotel offers free Wi-fi throughout). They are an early adopter who has an iphone, and are interested in technology, fashion and design. The hotel has a young mindset of casual comfort and cool. It isn't trendy, but on trend. Much like the H&M clothing brand on the high street.What makes the hotel different?My job is to look at the brand and how to keep it fresh for the customer, who is always changing. A unique part of the Aloft London, we believe, is the emphasis on the design of its social spaces. The lobby is large and boasts a public space where guests can mix and mingle, read the paper, eat some food or work on their laptop. Research says that lots of business travellers may go to a hotel on their own, but they don't want to be lonely, and business travel can be incredibly lonely. We want the lobby to be a welcoming space for lone travellers.Aloft London Excel has five meeting spaces, will these compete with Excel London's spaces?Our meeting spaces are small, up to 15 delegates per room essentially, and have been designed to complement Excel London's offerings. They are ideal for small presentations or fringe meetings aside the large conventions and exhibitions at Excel London.Is the hotel sustainable?The hotel is BREEAM certified, an environmental assessment method WordS Vikki CarleyWAloft was created to shake up the staid and traditional mid-market hotel sectoraloft's senior ViCe president brian mCguinness