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Leadership rules

HM is set to again host Australasia’s leading hotel conference THE BUSINESS OF ACCOMMODATION IN ASIA-PACIFIC Vol. 22 No.2 Bi-monthly April 2018


Mantra Group

From a raw opportunity in 2006 to a billion-dollar company in 2018, Mantra Group, led by Chief Executive Officer BOB EAST, has become one of Australia’s greatest travel industry success stories. In this issue of HM, we look at the journey of a hotel business that will be talked about for generations to come.

Leading Expedia

New CEO Mark Okerstrom on his plans for the company

Rebel Generation The world’s hottest lifestyle brands you need to know

Getting into beds

The essential bedding trends for 2018 and beyond

contents Bi-Monthly – April 2018



Features. 24 HM Q&A

One on one with new Expedia CEO, Mark Okerstrom

28 Conferences

The big news to emerge from IHIF 2018 in Berlin

30 Conferences

A preview of AHICE 2018, coming up in Melbourne

32 Investment

Profiles on two of Australia’s leading boutique hoteliers

06 News

What’s made headline news in the hotel world across Asia-Pacific

18 Development

Interviews, news, profiles and new developments

49 Human Resources

News and people on the move

50 Concierge Corner Interviews and news from Les Clefs d’Or Australia

34 General Manager

HM sits down with FV by Peppers’ GM, Troy Fettes

36 Rooms Division

A special report on childfriendly spaces in hotels

40 Rooms Division

The latest in beds and bedding

42 Development

An in-depth look at the leading lifestyle brands

48 Food and Beverage Room service trends

Check In.


04 Inside Word

The editor’s letter

14 Mantra Group. The story behind Mantra’s success. Photographed for HM in Surfers Paradise by Andrew Jarvie. A Mantra Group promotion. 3


Managing Director

Changes afoot at Quest Apartment Hotels

Simon Grover

Publisher James Wells


There was big news out of Melbourne on the day our latest issue of HM magazine was sent to the printers, with Quest Apartment Hotels CEO Zed Sanjana resigning after 10 years with the company. Quest Apartment Hotels Founder and Chairman, Paul Constantinou, told HM he would absorb the CEO role into his duties following Sanjana’s resignation and plans to “mentor and empower his leadership team as Quest continues its journey towards full integration with The Ascott Group”. In July 2017, Singapore-based Ascott increased its investment in Quest Apartment Hotels by 60% in a deal worth AUD$180 million. The top-up acquisition, giving Ascott 80% of the company, extends a major strategic partnership between the two businesses announced three years ago, at which time Ascott invested in a 20% stake of Quest. With no new CEO of Quest Apartment Hotels appointed, it indicates the full integration with Ascott will be happening sooner rather than anticipated. It’s also worth noting that Constantinou is retaining a 20% shareholding in the business, and will remain Chair for the next five years, maintaining responsibility for the direction of the growth of the business – which over the past decade has been phenomenal. Constantinou has had incredible success with Quest and particularly throughout Sanjana’s tenure as CEO, a time when the company has gone through unprecedented growth levels, taking the company to one of the leading apartment hotel operators anywhere in the world. Constantinou recognised Sanjana’s contribution to the business. “Zed transformed a successful family run business into a corporate structure that has allowed us to build value for all our investors and stakeholders,” he said. “With the strong pipeline of growth ahead and exciting future opportunities presented by the alignment with the Ascott Group, Quest is uniquely positioned to take advantage of some tremendous opportunities.” The news was revealed in our twice weekly HM e-newsletter on March 23 and it generated significant interest. To make sure you don’t miss any breaking news in the industry, subscribe to our newsletter in a few simple steps at Enjoy our latest issue and I look forward to seeing you at AHICE and DesignInn on May 1-3 in Melbourne. Yours in hospitality, Investment




Veriu set for major expansion

SUITES is fast HOTELS AND thanks to ed about chains, Sydney-based VERIU hotel a year Australia’s most-talk becoming one of that has taken the group from one n a rapid expansio of 21 in the next 18 months. ago to a portfolio hotels and suites, network of bespoke of 13 established a Sydney with the acquisition aving successfully expand interstate brand. Suites is set to Apartment Hotel under Veriu Hotels and well-known Punthill February and continue to operate hotels under the prides itself the group in early service that Veriu The hotels joined unique personalised yet will offer the Rhys Williams. hotels in the Punthill brand, Alex Thorpe and CBD apartment Veriu directors suburban and four group. on, according to includes eight total across the in portfolio “The The 13-strong offering 777 apartments the two brands: one in Brisbane, great synergy between Melbourne plus said there was years ago. of to ours some 30 Thorpe and Williams journey portfolio an incredible started on a similar work have created Punthill founders rial spirit and hard “Their entrepreneu well-located passionate people. of their with team Veriu and Punthill local areas hotels with a talented to explore the similarities between “We see a lot of guests are encouraged fringe hotels, where suburban and city haunts,” they said. hotels under the well-worn tourist rebranding certain away from the said they will consider on Thorpe and Williams to 12 months. said. “Veriu is equally six they next the in Melbourne,” in Sydney. Veriu brand in has a strong presence 181 hotels on TripAdvisor and Sydney “The Punthill brand in the top 10 of brands in Melbourne Sydney hotels currently s exist for both in both cities. the rise with 2 what opportunitie integrated for guests will now be “We will be considering best of both groups will be and Veriu Groups part is the but the important leisure, of the Punthill in Australia. corporate and cities “The guests, both largest gateway 17 hotels in the able to move around

with Founder HM catches up PAUL and CEO of 8Hotels,discuss his to FISCHMANN, stylish Sydney the latest opening – Hotel – as well Developmen Airport-based Felixthe business. t as future plans for

Veriu Broadway

Punthill Northbank




the next to 21 hotels within “Veriu will expand Melbourne a new hotel in 18 months with Veriu hotels in Sydney.” and three new Directors, MS, & RHYS WILLIA ALEX THORPE Hotels and Suites Veriu

32 HM The

Business of Accommoda


Veriu’s Alex Thorpe

and Rhys Williams

the next 18 to 21 hotels within “This will expand and three new new hotel in Melbournegiven all the benefits months with a will be Sydney. Guests more locations.” Veriu hotels in offer but in significantlysaw future that both groups said they also as Thorpe and Williams brand in Sydney proudly Melbourne brand into potential for the move the Veriu opportunities to well as well as the next year. drink on checkMelbourne within enjoy a free welcome All Veriu guests commuter bikes complimentary to to access in, free WiFi, which allows guests Connect’ offering receive and the ‘Veriu the network and Veriu hotels in visit each of the . local expert information said guests of Punthill Thorpe and Williams benefits, in addition can enjoy similar Apartment Hotels booking fees and exemption from direct. n to rate discounts, when booking rate of the day guaranteed best


of your development Tell us about the property, Felix Hotel. new Sydney Airport17 months to build and


The ‘penthouse’

at Felix Hotel


as differently of doing things We made a point it off. he hotel took prior. we think we pulled site about a year as possible and we secured the we process and then within It was a quick DA started meeting spaces the design and Are there any got straight into February area the doors on 1 the hotel? building. We opened rooms and an outdoor January. handover on 30 We have two meeting cocktail setting for after receiving official 150 people in a to smash our budget that holds up to space. We bookings, We have still managed a great board room hunt for others. with very strong we and we also have I am also on the the month of February weeks of the month. We with enquiries since in Pyrmont and t deals with last two have been inundated four a day. the to do managemen to over three mainly corporates, We are happy – around and sell, strong interest from opened the doors but we will develop have experiencedMeet thedelayed flights. the right partners, a management from lifestyle brands you need in 2018? as well. Unlike to 8Hotels know for airlines and bookings which a are vision shaking upt and we will keeppurely the the industry in Australia and across about building What is a managemen the globe. a developer than company that is rooms under the hotel are you We are more of end there are more What part of COMPILED BY JAMES WILKINSON I made the decision at the business where company. of? large are incredibly flexible. a proud build most the whole thought management, we continue to have a view of in the industry lot of of 2013 not to and there are a The view! Guests While some people this precinct. went away. We unparalleled in management company do that. I didn’t want we actually never to airport and it is we even disappeared, and we personal decided I my heaven why r’s reasons and these better than ever, a This is a plane-spotte Accor and Mantra, are stronger and of time to me as installed. We designed as to compete with 1HOTELS and I have lots make sense for have telescopes else – lifestyle is better in as to new projects. of groups – it didn’t well bring is unlike anything types “Confronted as to that want with family, here. hotel how far Americans were lagging I didn’t cool devote to the bit bland around behind and in changing our in an online hospitality a private business management else is aI little created 1 Hotels to show sophisticated We had tenconsumption everything habits, We have also invested public. As early travelers or go that they can do of investors, and connect with both the world which called livethose well, assets, good, and the community training platform ten owned about this around them.” contracts and There were -BARRY STERNLICHT, very passionate and leasehold. 1 Hotels Founder investors, we are freehold and the Chairman freehold and a service which uses assets were Starwood Capital Group on the and CEO of video NetFlix-style training partners and investors leasehold, so now it is thousands, of short be to soon in the hundreds, of training couple of partners 25HOURS HOTELS the archaic way partners. tutorials to take and bringing it about having fewer slipping and “The first 25hours hotel opened hospitality staff our quality was in 2003 in Hamburg and developing though million strong was plannedand I felt as and hotel. 25hours was created didn’t make age for the 250 assets as aitstandalone as the fun ‘younger’ sibling has a into the online of older was more colourful, them into workforce. Typsy we had a lotthat dynamic and louder than its sister property the Gastwerksense to be able to turn worldwide hospitality – features. One of commercial Hotel which traditional, with a focus on is more only great stuff with numerous is to do conferencing. The project great back end using Typsy was sowhich successful that the whether it what I wanted, 25hours Hotel Company was customers already founded in 2005 to further stuff. It doesn’t matter the world many high profile hotel school in not mediocredevelop andisexpand concept and brand. For every the the best . it about being most prestigious hotel we carefully choose star, the is Switzerland five in or – star designers, partners and friends is one to make sure each property de Lausanne has its own personality. Working in the market. – Ecole Hoteliere at what you do locally is one our success factors and we do so keyessentially to capitalise and by collaborating with networks Hotel is So, I was happy of likemindedthings and each destination that we operate d the new Felix people into work in.” I was doing We understan restructure how -BRUNO MARTI, Chief Brand sale? – it definitely wasn’t already up for Officer, 25Hours for the first time we as developers of hotels with fundsHotels great asset and We sold off a lot Felix Hotel is a t company, an overnight decision. ways with ANDAZ HOTELS it. As a managemen are happy to sell we amicably parted and we are to we owned and “Andaz properties are vibrant for the long-haul that we didn’t want and boutique hotels and resorts 8Hotels are here agreements thatt act managemen as social anchors We kept love the [Felix Hotel] in its their communities. Located We return. in in in prime locations, they weave bringing very committed. brilliantly weren’t sights, sounds and tastes be in thatthe looking for of their surroundings to create of it. It is doing a truly immersive stay.”ones that were, and we started we are very proud to get better. n the -ROBERT DAWSON, Area Felix Hotel. We and it is only going Green machine: of which is the Vice President - Pacific, first month 1Hotel Brooklyn another Hyatt Hotels and new deals. One Resorts Bridge New York, USA in Surry Hills and also have a building Founder and CEO,


Paul Fischmann

“All of the Edition hotels are unique, original and one of a kind, embedded with a sense of time and place. Together Marriott and I have a vision and plan to radically rethink catapult the boutique/lifestyle and category hotel into the present by capturing the spirit of the times.” -IAN SCHRAGER, co-founder, Edition Hotels

Hip: 25Hours’ hot Vienna


“At Even Hotels, we provide a strong lifestyle offering for travellers seeking more options to stay healthier and happier away from home. Our hotels and wellness-savvy staff offer guests a best-in-class fitness experience, healthier food choices and natural, relaxing spaces. Beyond our hotels we support the needs of travellers through, a go-to source for healthier, happier travel.” -NAME MISSING?????????


James Wilkinson Editor-In-Chief HM magazine and “At Hotel Indigo we serve the curious – people who are inspired by new places, new people and new ideas. With hotels in culturally diverse locations all over the world, no two properties are the same. Each is part of the pulse and the rhythm of a place, drawing

42 HM The Business of Accommodation

 33 property


Bonnie Tai

Deputy Editor

4 HM The Business of Accommodation

Adam Daff

Group Sales and Sponsorship Manager

Deputy Editor

Bonnie Tai

Group Sales and Sponsorship Manager Adam Daff

Editorial contributors

Jack Carter, Emma Castle, Andrew Jarvie, Howard Kemball, Peter McBrearty

Production Manager Jacqui Cooper

Circulation and Subscriptions Manager

Chris Blacklock

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41 Bridge Road, Glebe NSW 2037, Australia. (PO Box 55, Glebe NSW 2037, Australia) Tel: +61 (0) 2 9660 2113 Fax: +61 (0) 2 9660 4419 ABN 940 025 836 82

on the story of its local area to inspire every aspect of the hotel, from intriguing design distinctive local ingredients to in our menus.” -LEANNE HARWOOD, Managing Director, Australasia & Japan, IHG



“Out to help people live full, balanced lives, yoga mats in every room, complimentary Kimpton aims to inspire with touches like coffee and tea to start the day, Wine Hour, in-room fitness hosted evening programming and complimentary bike rentals. The awardwinning restaurants and bars are led by talented chefs and bartenders that offer guests chance to dine like a local.” a -MIKE DeFRINO, CEO, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants


“Mama is a common ground for people to meet and feel alive. We did several things to make this happen: we created one big area for people to interact, no more physical separation between the restaurant, pizzeria, bar, lounge, reception desk and stage for live events. Before anything else, what is key to Mama is that we sell happiness. Our team embodies that spirit, the way we design our places, our menus, everything. While every boutique hotel focuses selling a cool attitude and design, on we focus on selling happiness and fun.” -BENJAMIN & JEREMIE TRIGANO, Founders, Mama Shelter

In association with


“On 22nd December 2017, we officially launched our new brand Mojo Nomad, with the opening of our first Mojo Nomad property in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Harbour. Mojo Nomad is a new co-habitation concept for global nomads that combines travel, lifestyle and community at its core. Mojo Nomad fulfils the modern nomad, who seeks new ways of living as a community, appreciating the experience of exploring the local lifestyle and values openness and collaboration. It departs from the traditional rigid hotel model that requires a direct quid-pro-quo benefit against every square metre in favour of Return on Experience. Instead, we’re focusing on offering collaborative and fun environments that will expose our residents to new experiences that inspire them to be active creators and contribute creatively and intellectually to the world around them. We are looking forward to bringing our new concept to other markets across Asia-Pacific into 2018 and beyond.” -GIRISH JHUNJHNUWALA, Founder and CEO, Ovolo Group


“Mondrian is a brand with international allure. It’s is an extremely valuable brand to and we look forward to bringing sbe it to more cities around the world in the coming months and years as we expand our international footprint.” -SAM NAZARIAN, founder and CEO, sbe


“Moxy is defined by its attitude and offers up a new way of traveling in which smaller is concentration, not reduction – and where affordability is not a sacrifice of style, nor a of comfort. The brand lives loss in the public space, it is communal, and delivers convenient services like 24/7 grab and go, a high-tech enabled environment (keyless entry and furiously fast and free WiFi) plus an amped up bar experience. Australia and New Zealand are fertile markets for such an offering and Marriott International has multiple opportunities under assessment for the Moxy brand.” -RICHARD CRAWFORD, Senior Director - Development, Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific, Marriott International


“Next Hotels represents the next level of hospitality, one that appreciates the value of time for today’s travellers. Next Hotels has reimagined space, design and technology for the modern traveller. Free high-speed WiFi, a specially-designed DreamWave sleep system and an app to control everything in your room are just some of the ways we make your time count.” -TUSHAR RANIGA, Area Vice President, Business Development, Next Story Group


“Nobu is constantly evolving and we touch all types of customer. This is truly an exciting time for Nobu Hotels. Our brand is already well-established globally but staying in tune with our next generation of customer is at the forefront of our brand ethos. Fundamental to the brand 43


James Wells

James Wilkinson

Leanne Hogbin

Graphic Designer

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News, Interviews, Opinions, Reviews

Hilton’s new Australasian leader Hilton has appointed Heidi Kunkel to the position of Vice President of Operations for Australasia with effect from April 4. Kunkel will oversee the operations of Hilton’s 23 trading and 9 pipeline properties and lead the company’s growth strategy across Australia, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. She will take over the role from interim incumbent Sean Wooden, who will return to his position as vice president, brand management Asia Pacific. “With Australasia being a key market for Hilton, I am confident that Heidi is the perfect candidate to leverage its potential and bring us to greater heights. With her at the helm, we will continue to build on our recent successes in Australasia, including our win as one of Australasia’s best companies to work for and the opening of our first Curio Collection property in the region, West Hotel Sydney, Curio Collection by Hilton,” said Hilton’s Area President of Asia Pacific, Alan Watts. Kunkel was most recently CEO New Markets Europe and Africa at Club Med, responsible for over 15 commercial market sources, including the UK, South Europe, and the Middle East. Her leadership contributed to Club Med’s Brand of the Year win at this year’s World Branding Awards, an accolade which recognized the holiday chain’s worldwide achievements. Prior to that role, Kunkel also held key leadership positions in Club Med’s commercial offices and resorts, among them being CEO of South East Asia Pacific; President of North East Asia (Korea and Japan); and General Manager for the Pacific, based in Sydney. “I am thrilled to lead Hilton’s operations in Australasia, as the company looks to an even bigger year in 2018. Hilton is renowned for its hospitality and innovation and I look forward to working with the team to further strengthen our position in the region,” Kunkel said. New leader: Heidi Kunkel

6 HM The Business of Accommodation

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REGULATOR APPROVES ACCOR’S TAKEOVER OF MANTRA GROUP The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has announced it will not oppose the planned purchase of Mantra Group by AccorHotels, citing sufficient competition from other hotel groups in the local market. “The combined Accor-Mantra will still compete with other international and national hotel chains, as well as many independent hotels and accommodation providers,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said in a statement. “The combined Accor-Mantra will have a large number of properties in some areas, particularly in certain holiday destinations in Queensland. However, in each case and after a detailed review the ACCC has found that there are also

The ACCC has approved Accor’s acquisition of Mantra Group

sufficient other options nearby for visitors which will provide competition to Accor-Mantra,” The decision paves the way for more than 125 properties in the Asia Pacific region to become part of Accor’s international stable, with the next hurdle being approval for the purchase coming from Mantra’s shareholders.

Hip: Felix Hotel at Sydney Airport

8Hotels opens stylish Sydney Airport property 8Hotels has officially launched its new stylish Sydney Airport property, Felix Hotel, featuring a range of accommodation options and an outdoor rooftop cinema overlooking the Domestic Airport runway. Guests staying at the 150-room property, which was designed in collaboration with Cressida Kennedy from Space Control, will check-in at the top floor penthouse and will be able to choose from a variety of room and suite categories, including Economy, Premium Economy, Business Class and First Class. The property also offers meeting and events space,

8 HM The Business of Accommodation

a cocktail bar, a 24-hour gym and a 24-hour Food Shop, ideal for travellers on the run. 8Hotels Founder and CEO, Paul Fischmann, said: “We are thrilled to bring Felix Hotel to Sydney and see this property elevating the airport hotel precinct. Answering to every need of our guests, from the digital nomad to the everyday leisure traveller, Felix Hotel is a cutting-edge alternative to the average airport hotel.” Felix Hotel has also revealed a partnership with private jet provider Fly Airly to offer both corporate and leisure guests a choice

of exclusive experiences. The Jet Setter package has been designed for both local and international companies that want to fly their teams by private jet for a conference at Felix Hotel, while leisure guests can choose to experience a two-hour scenic flight over Sydney on board a private jet, as part of the Sky’s the Limit package. At the launch, HM caught up with Fischmann about the plans for 8Hotels going forward. Catch that interview on page 33.

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SOUNDS OF SILENCE CELEBRATES 25 YEARS Australia’s first under-the-stars dining experience, the iconic Sounds of Silence, is celebrating an incredible 25 years of operation this year. Upon opening its ‘doors’ in 1993, guests from all over the world immediately embraced the concept of dining in the middle of the Australian desert with magnificent views of Uluru and nothing but the vast expanse of the night sky above and the experience has wowed guests every night since. “Sounds of Silence has been a key element to the Uluru experience for hundreds of thousands of guests to Ayers Rock Resort over the last 25 years,” said Voyages Executive GM Sales, Marketing and Distribution, Ray Stone. With the magic of sunset over Uluru combined with the drama of being surrounded in red dunes and, as night falls, the majesty of the night sky with thousands of stars, many of which are not able to be viewed elsewhere in the world, it is an unforgettable evening. With such a winning formula, the experience has remained largely unchanged throughout the last 25 years – guests still arrive to the lyrical sound of the Didgeridoo and enjoy sparkling wine and canapes while viewing sunset over Uluru and Kata Tjuta, a star talk during dinner brings the night sky to life and telescopes are available for closer viewing. Australian ingredients have always featured on the menu and

The iconic Sounds of Silence is celebrating 25 years

in celebration of the anniversary this year a new menu is being launched that will ensure Bush Tucker native Australian ingredients are featured throughout the many dishes on offer. “Sounds of Silence has always been a celebration of the true essence of the Australian Outback, which is no doubt why it has been successful for so many years,” said Stone. Sounds of Silence has long been recognised for its place as an important Australian Tourism experience and featured in Tourism Australia’s advertisements across the world from the early 1990s. It was also recognised for its unique offering and was inducted into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame in 1999.

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IHG buys controlling stake in Regent Hotels

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has agreed to acquire a 51% stake in Regent Hotels and Resorts for USD$39 million in cash. IHG says the move will bring Regent into its brand portfolio at the top end of the luxury segment and will accelerate its growth globally. The company plans to grow the brand from six hotels today to “over 40 hotels in key global gateway city and resort locations over the long term”. IHG is also expected to make a further play in the luxury segment, with the company saying the “acquisition of Regent is part of one of IHG’s new strategic initiatives focused on continuing to expand its footprint in the fastgrowing USD$60 billion luxury segment”. “IHG is already one of the world leaders in luxury with our InterContinental Hotels and Resorts brand, but we see significant potential to further develop our global footprint in the fast-growing luxury segment,” said IHG CEO, Keith Barr. “As one of the pioneers in defining luxury hotels both in Asia and around the world, Regent is an excellent addition to IHG’s portfolio of brands. “We see a real opportunity to unlock Regent’s enormous potential and accelerate its growth globally,” he said. Barr said a new luxury management division would be created within IHG as part of the Regent acquisition and to further grow in the segment. “In addition, by creating a dedicated luxury division, we will be bringing together some of the most experienced and respected people in the industry who will help drive our luxury offer, ensuring that our existing luxury brands continue to evolve and allowing us to bring in new brands such as Regent to enhance our brand portfolio,” he said. IHG will have the right to acquire the remaining 49% interest in Regent in a phased manner from 2026, by which time several properties will have joined the portfolio, including InterContinental Hong Kong, which IHG has revealed will become a Regent Hotel in early 2021 following the property’s extensive refurbishment. InterContinental Hong Kong originally opened its doors in 1980 as one of the most iconic hotels to ever carry the Regent brand.

IHG’s CEO Keith Barr says the company wants to further grow its stake in the luxury segment

CORDIS AUCKLAND SET FOR MAJOR EXPANSION Following the multi-million dollar refurbishment of Cordis Auckland, Hong Kong-based Langham Hospitality Group has announced new expansion plans that will make the upper-upscale hotel the largest in New Zealand in terms of room count. Set to be completed by late 2020 with a total of 650 rooms and suites, the recently rebranded hotel will also add a new 400-square-metre event space that will offer natural light and multiple configurations. The new tower adjacent and connected to the existing hotel will house an additional 250 premium rooms and Cordis signature Cordis Auckland is adding 250 rooms suites. The size of the new rooms will start from 32 square metres and the brand-new “The successful repositioning of Cordis, Club Lounge will feature panoramic views of the Auckland combined with the economic growth harbour and Auckland Tower. and positive tourism outlook in New Zealand The hotel’s Eight restaurant will feature an makes us confident that this is the right time for the additional 60 seats and improved interactive owner of the hotel to commit its financial resources food display areas. The hotel will also offer a for the expansion of the hotel,” said Simon new destination bar with courtyard and outdoor Manning, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer of seating to further elevate Cordis, Auckland’s Langham Hospitality Group. “We believe that the dining experiences. 10 HM The Business of Accommodation

core essences of this new hotel brand, which are individual in style and design, reflective of its location and culture, and a provider of heartfelt service to our guests, will resonate well with corporate and leisure travellers to Auckland.” Cordis Auckland, Managing Director, Franz Mascarenhas, added: “The expansion will meet the increasing demand for business and leisure travellers visiting Auckland as a result of the successful tourism campaigns by Tourism New Zealand. We also see more families and couples doing staycations over long weekends and special occasions. Our enhanced dining experiences, wellness programmes at our Chuan Spa and the Cordis Kids programme will ensure every stay will be an unforgettable one.” The hotel’s new tower is scheduled to be opened in the fourth quarter of 2020, in time for The America’s Cup and Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC), two major events slated to be held in Auckland the following year.

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The William Inglis Hotel debuts in Sydney The William Inglis Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel opened its doors to 100 VIP guests and media in late January to experience its unique accommodation offering, hospitality and leisure facilities. The all-new boutique property — which celebrates the country’s lucrative horse racing industry — forms part of a AUD$140 million precinct called Riverside Stables and is the first MGallery by Sofitel to open in Western Sydney. Guests arrived at the hotel in the early afternoon and were led on a private tour of the expansive grounds. As dusk fell they ascended to The Chiltern Pool Deck & Bar, where its cabanas and sun loungers overlook 300 acres of greenery, for cocktails, Champagne and canapés. Later in the evening, guests were officially welcomed by Inglis Managing Director Mark Webster to the Big Barn for a long-table dinner. Constructed for use during major horse sales, The Barn is a rustic style venue with high vaulted ceilings that overlooks the racecourse and it can accommodate up to 300 guests for weddings and special events.

FV by Peppers has opened in Brisbane

Now open: The William Inglis Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel, in Sydney

The night concluded at 1867 Lounge, an elegant, old-fashioned whiskey bar, where guests were treated to local cheeses, dessert, and a tasting of rare whiskies and boutique wines.

FV BY PEPPERS OFFICIALLY OPENS IN BRISBANE Mantra Group has launched FV by Peppers in Brisbane, with the property opening in the city’s vibrant entertainment precinct Fortitude Valley. The luxury hotel, which consists of 986 one- and two-bedroom rooms, is part of a AUD$600 million development of three newbuild towers, with its design inspired by New York’s Flatiron Building. Amenities include a heated u-shaped skyline pool with views overlooking Brisbane’s CBD, a moonlight cinema, yoga retreat, fully-equipped gym, and three private spa lounges. All-day dining venue, Six by FV, is located on the sixth floor and serves a New York-inspired menu. Mantra Group Chief Operating Officer, Tomas Johnsson, said: “We are proud to bring the Peppers brand to Brisbane. FV by Peppers is a landmark hotel with high-end luxe amenities designed to appeal equally to the Valley’s leisure visitors and the fast-growing business visitor and corporate market. “Situated in Brisbane’s premier entertainment precinct, all apartments have full kitchens with state-of-the-art appliances, a laundry, separate lounge and dining areas and a private balcony with fantastic views of beautiful Brisbane.” To find out more about the property, HM caught up recently with General Manager, Troy Fettes, and find that report on page 34.

12 HM The Business of Accommodation

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QATAR AIRWAYS ACQUIRES SHERATON MELBOURNE Qatar Airways has expanded the portfolio of its hospitality division, Dhiafatina Hotels, with the acquisition of the Sheraton Melbourne hotel. The 174-room property joins a list of other established hotels under the ownership of the Middle East airline, which include the Sheraton Skyline Hotel at London’s Heathrow Airport, The Novotel Edinburgh Park in Edinburgh Scotland, the Oryx Rotana Hotel in Doha, and The Airport Hotel located at Doha’s Hamad International Airport (HIA). Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker, said: “The acquisition of the Sheraton Melbourne Hotel complements Qatar Airways’ global strategy for growth, and further strengthens our offering for passengers travelling on board our daily flights to Melbourne. Melbourne is an incredibly important destination on the Qatar Airways network, so much so that last year we began flying our state-of-the-art Airbus A380 aircraft to Melbourne. “Qatar Airways is committed to going places together with

Sheraton Melbourne

our passengers, and I am delighted to announce the acquisition of the Sheraton Melbourne Hotel as part of the Dhiafatina portfolio, hand-picked to extend the excellent service our passengers receive, both in the air and once they arrive at their destination.” The same week as the purchase, Qatar Airways saw its inaugural flight from Doha to Canberra touch down in the Australian Capital Territory, marking the launch of its fifth gateway into the country.

W Brisbane set to open June 1

Marriott International’s new-build W Brisbane hotel is set to open on June 1, 2018. The first five-star hotel to open in Brisbane City in 20 years, the opening of W Brisbane will mark the re-entry of the W brand into Australia. Located at 81 North Quay, W Brisbane will light up the Brisbane River foreshore, bringing bold design and playful luxury to the western end of the CBD. With stellar views across Brisbane River to South Bank and Mount Coot-tha, as well as three happening bars and restaurants that will create a thriving local scene, W Brisbane “will defy expectations and become a destination within itself”, according to Marriott International. W Brisbane will offer 312 stylish guestrooms, including 29 suites, two Wow Suites and the Extreme Wow Suite (the brand’s modern interpretation of a Presidential Suite) all showcasing views of the Brisbane River. The guestrooms are designed with custom furnishings and interiors inspired by Queensland’s heritage. Signature comforts will enhance the guestroom experience, including the plush W bathrobe, Bliss amenities and the famed W bed. Guests will be able to kick back with their favourite tunes amplified by state-of-the-art Bowers and Wilkins Bluetooth speakers or Netflix on the 55-inch LED TV, before stirring up a cocktail from the in-room W Mixbar. Complimentary Wi-Fi ensures guests are always connected.

W Brisbane is set to open in June 2018

14 HM The Business of Accommodation

A Queensland first, Australia’s much loved culinary crew, Three Blue Ducks, are laying down roots up north with the launch of Three Blue Ducks Brisbane, the hotel’s Signature Restaurant. Mixing Queensland’s vibrant yet laidback culture with their legendary paddock to plate ethos, expect fresh, local and honest cuisine showcasing bold flavours and colours. The restaurant will open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, with an evolving seasonal menu featuring the best of Queensland and northern New South Wales produce. The Living Room (W’s take on the traditional hotel lobby) evolves from a serene spot to relax or meet during the day to a lively hub in the evening with a dedicated DJ booth, or guests can re-charge poolside at the Wet Deck with a swim, an Aussie barbeque and a range of smoothies. At the hotel’s Away Spa, guests can detox with a sublime massage, get a salon ready hair-do at Australia’s largest hair movement, Brisbane’s first Edwards And Co, a mani and pedi, facial or quick fixes. The spa’s relaxation pods, vitality pools, experience showers and salt inhalation chambers will leave guests feeling rejuvenated. Guests can keep fit 24 hours a day in the ultra-modern Fit gym with the latest equipment by TechnoGym. W Brisbane also features approximately 1,100 square metres of event space and meeting rooms, which will be fully equipped with world class audio-visual facilities.

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Mantra Group The Mantra Group executive team 16 HM The Business of Accommodation

Cover Story


From a raw opportunity in 2006 to a billion-dollar company in 2018, Mantra Group, led by Chief Executive Officer BOB EAST, has become one of Australia’s greatest travel industry success stories. In this special feature, we look at the journey of a hotel business that will be talked about for generations to come.


antra Group stands today as the leading Australian-based accommodation provider with more than 130 properties, 24,000 hotel rooms, 6,000 team members and four wellknown and trusted brands across Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia and the United States. In every Art Series, Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree property, Mantra Group accommodates more than 30,000 guests each and every night. This growth took time and a dedicated team to build up the organisation over the last 12 years. For global hotel chain Accor to bid to acquire the Company for AUD$1.2 billion is a testament to the success of Mantra Group and the team behind the company. In 2006, a group of executives decided to combine their expertise to craft a hotel business that was at the time no more than a raw opportunity. What followed was the acquisition of a small portfolio of properties – some of which were beyond their useful life – as the Group aimed to establish a brand presence in key regions. It was at the beginning of the journey during these

as a father of two, former world number one tennis player and all round genuine guy, exemplified the team’s commitment to providing premium accommodation for both business and leisure markets. In June 2014, after more new acquisitions increased the portfolio, Mantra Group took the opportunity to list the business on the Australian Securities Exchange, entering the ASX 200 the following year. This move allowed the Group to expand into new regions, with purchases including Ala Moana in Hawaii, Peppers’ first luxury villas in Bali, and four Outrigger properties throughout Australia. Throughout these years, the Group began partnerships with both the Australian Red Cross and the Luke Batty Foundation, key charities with visions that the team was eager to get behind and support. The partnerships also left a lasting impression on many within the team. In particular the personal connection many felt after an emotional speech from Luke Batty’s mum, and former Australian of the year, Rosie Batty at one of the Mantra Group Conferences. This resulted in team members rallying behind the charities to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for those in need. Proving that Mantra Group’s team members really are at the heart of the business, ‘Women in Mantra’ was an initiative developed which helped to promote more female team members within the business. The program has provided flexible working arrangements and career development plans to help close the gender pay gap and encourage women to take up leadership and executive positions within the Company. This initiative which is now in its third year, has seen a 16 per cent increase in the number of women heading departments, while the number in General Manager roles has also increased substantially. The focus on celebrating and rewarding staff is further exemplified through the Group’s annual Service Star, Rising Star and Emerging Leaders programs. These initiatives offer pathways, tools, and training to all Team Members who wish to succeed in leadership roles and show a dedication to the Group’s ‘Knowing What Matters’ service philosophy. These employee-led initiatives and commitments helped to place the business on a trajectory to become an employer of choice, as awarded by HRD last year. This recognition is confirmation that it is the people from whom the group gets its strength. A fact Bob East, and the Executive team, are immensely proud of. In the middle of last year, Mantra Group introduced its ‘my kind of wonderful’ campaign to launch Mantra Hotels; a strategically developed master brand to showcase all of the brands together for the first time to consumers. Inspired by the unique moments guests experience when choosing to stay at leisure and CBD destinations, this campaign highlighted the Group’s core values of authenticity and approachability. Late last year, the Company acquired the Art Series Hotel Group - this was a rare opportunity to acquire a collection of exceptional hotels, which enhanced the Group’s existing portfolio and presented an opportunity to increase the footprint in three key locations; Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. The acquisition saw an extra seven boutique luxury hotels added to the Group’s growing network of hotels and resorts. From 20 properties and challenged finances to a $1.2 billion business with 136 properties across four countries, Mantra Group has grown to become one of the most profitable hotel companies in Australia. The truer story of success is one of deeper relationships and a refreshing approach to the owners, guests and team members that have helped to make it all possible. With Mantra Group and AccorHotels being a very strong strategic fit, this will leverage competitive advantages to an unprecedented level in the Australian market. n

“In 2006, a group of executives decided to combine their expertise to craft a hotel business that was at the time no more than a raw opportunity.” formative years, as team members wrestled with regular challenges of whipping a new business into shape, that the cornerstone of the Group’s mantra was created. Largely born out of a shared determination to succeed and faith in team members around them; a no-nonsense, no-ego culture was formed. In 2009, while competitors boasted great scale, brand strength and market dominance, the Company changed from Stella Hospitality to Mantra Group. This was a move that allowed the team to focus on what really matters – providing an authentic, friendly and helpful service in each hotel with an emphasis on building, maintaining, and growing strong industry-based relationships at a corporate level. It was the people, and knowing what matters, that helped the Group to stand out from competitors. It was this difference, from which the Company’s motto is based, that saw their reputation and credibility increase. As a business, Mantra Group continued to grow with the procurement of more national and international assets; including a new metropolitan-style accommodation brand in Peppers Retreats, Resorts and Hotels. In 2011, Mantra Group welcomed Australian sporting hero Pat Rafter on board as brand ambassador. Pat,

To find out more, head to 17


CHOICE HOTELS ADDS FOUR NEW-BUILD HOTELS Choice Hotels Asia Pacific has announced the addition of four new-build properties across Australia and New Zealand, adding a total of 431 rooms to the group’s portfolio in the next three years. Most significant will be the 214-room Ingot Hotel Perth, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member, which will become Choice Hotels’ largest property in Australia. Also in the pipeline will be the Quality Hotel Flemington, located close to Flemington Racecourse and comprising 100 rooms, and the Quality Hotel Lakeside Bendigo, located on the Lake Weeroona Park, featuring 80 rooms, a restaurant and conference space. In New Zealand, the Clarion Suites Christchurch will add a further 42 rooms. Choice Hotels Asia-Pac CEO, Trent Fraser, said: “Our goal for 2018 is to see significant growth in our portfolio size and it’s great to start the year with a series of new build announcements. Our development team also

An artist’s impression of Ingot Hotel Perth

has a significant pipeline of other opportunities across the Asia Pacific that they are pursuing, putting us on target for another successful year. “Total construction investment from our franchisee partners across these four new build projects alone is estimated to be in excess of AU$100 million which shows confidence in the local economy, as well as creating jobs through construction and ongoing operation of each property,” he said.

Avani heads to Melbourne

An artist’s impression of Avani Central Melbourne Residences

Minor Hotels has announced the development of its second Avani Hotels and Resorts property in Australia. Due for completion in August this year, the 55-storey building is close to the Melbourne Central railway station and a short distance away from the Queen Victoria Markets. Minor Hotels chief operating officer, Dan Hastings, said: “Avani Hotels and Resorts is well-known throughout Asia and the Middle-east and after introducing the brand to Australia with the opening of Avani Broadbeach late last year, we can’t wait to expand our footprint further and do the same in Melbourne.” Avani Central Melbourne Residences will have an indoor swimming pool with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the city skyline and two outdoor spas, set adjacent to three outdoor entertaining areas with BBQs and in-built seating. Guests can also enjoy a game of ping pong or billiards in one of two games rooms, relax in the sauna or steam room and do yoga in the dedicated yoga room. There are also two movie theatres, a library and a conservatory.

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Hines Property is a leading hotel and property developer in South Australia, with an enviable record of delivering cutting edge projects for the Adelaide market. To find out more about the company and key projects in the group, HM spoke to Hines Property Managing Director, JAMES HINES.


ince developing Mantra on Hindmarsh Square, Hines Property has been at the forefront of the evolution of Adelaide’s hotel sector over the past decade with the 2010 launch of the city’s first purpose built internationally-branded upscale hotel since the 1980s, which was recently rebranded from Crowne Plaza Adelaide to Pullman Adelaide. They followed that with the construction of the pacesetting 311 room ibis Adelaide, which revolutionised the city’s economy market. Its impact was acknowledged by the hotel twice winning the HM Award for ‘Best Economy Hotel in Australia’.

James, Pullman Adelaide on Hindmarsh Square is already well established as one of Adelaide’s most successful upscale hotels, but you have plans to upgrade the hotel even further – what are your refurbishment plans?

We developed the hotel through the GFC and it opened as Crowne Plaza Adelaide in 2010, and the hotel was rebranded to the 5-star Pullman Brand under AccorHotels’ management in October 2017. The rebrand and repositioning has allowed us an exciting opportunity to reconsider all facets of the property. On brand change we immediately committed to capital expenditure including new beds and smart Ultra HD guest room TVs, a completely new AV set up in our conference spaces and a whole of hotel IT upgrade. We are now underway with a whole of hotel refurbishment, having appointed Global design firm Woods Bagot as the lead design consultant. Woods Bagot originated from Adelaide but have the head of their hospitality division based in New York. We felt their hotel experience combined with their local knowledge and Adelaide origins was a perfect fit to assist us to reposition the property. The first area of the hotel to be enhanced will be the creation of an Executive Lounge. The hotel never previously had an executive lounge as a 4-star Crowne Plaza, but this is a hallmark of the 5-star Pullman brand. The Executive Lounge will commence construction shortly and will reflect and celebrate the park frontage location we have on Hindmarsh Square. The lounge design has been inspired by the detailed architectural and cultural elements within the City of Adelaide. We plan on ‘re-imagining’ all areas of the hotel including the creation of a very different food and beverage experience. It won’t be a standard hotel restaurant.

Hines Property Managing Director, James Hines

No other hotel in Adelaide can replicate the park frontage location that Pullman Adelaide enjoys on Hindmarsh Square, and now that we have a global 5-star brand on the property it will undoubtedly be regarded as Adelaide’s premier luxury hotel. It’s really exciting to get the opportunity to build on the attributes of this hotel and exciting to be upgrading it.

Hines Property has largely been involved in upscale property development, so building the economy ibis Adelaide was a slight change in strategy – what attracted you to the project?

I had experienced firsthand the price sensitive nature of both corporate and leisure travellers and I was attracted to the economy hotel model whereby you could provide a very competitive price point for the customer. This is achieved by removing the non-essential services of traditional hotels that add very little to the guest experience. We undertook a lot of research globally looking at branded and unbranded limited service hotel product to really hone our idea of what the product needed to be and how it would overcome removing some services but provide a premium guest environment without the stigma of an economy hotel. AccorHotels worked proactively with us, and their Ibis brand was a perfect fit. We challenged everything, from room layout to level of finish. We upgraded the public spaces which in my view are better than many 4-star hotels in Adelaide. We used 5-star beds in every room and made sure we have the best showers. Simple hotel attributes that are often overlooked. We over specified in some areas, those which we determined would enhance the guest experience and ensure guest loyalty. The concept worked and Ibis Adelaide has been a very successful property and the first of a new wave of Ibis hotels in Australia and globally.

Winning two HM Awards in just three years is a serious acknowledgement of what the Ibis has brought to Adelaide’s hotel scene – you must be very proud of its contribution?

Winning this award once, yet alone twice, has been fantastic recognition for the entire team involved with this hotel, from its development through to operations. One of the great things about this award is that it has prompted people to try the hotel that otherwise would have gone for a mid-market property. n 19


Adina Serviced Apartments Canberra Dickson

TFE HOTELS ADDS IN CANBERRA TFE Hotels has expanded its portfolio in the ACT, with the addition of Adina Serviced Apartments Canberra Dickson, formerly Aria Hotel Canberra, with the group taking over the property on March 1. The hotel features 128 apartments in studio and one-bedroom format set over eight levels, some with large private balconies and spa baths. The hotel’s light-filled rooms and modern décor make it an appealing stay for leisure or business trips. There is grab and go café open for breakfast in the hotel’s airy central atrium.

Large living and working spaces with wellequipped kitchens and laundries encourage guests to live like a local while enjoying free Wi-Fi, and 24hour reception. The apartments offer plenty of space to entertain, unwind, work or relax. Personal and professional hotel service from knowledgeable teams helps guests feel at home and explore the heart of a neighbourhood from its galleries to its cafes. TFE Hotels CEO Rachel Argaman said construction had already started on another exciting new Adina Apartment Hotel to open

at Constitution Place in 2020, designed by Bates Smart. “Canberra is really coming into its own as a great destination for leisure travellers, not just the traditional Government and corporate travellers,” she said. “It offers a wonderful selection of history, art, sporting and cultural events, and is gathering a following for its food and wine scene. Its popularity will grow in coming years as increased tourism funds the development of more and more attractions for domestic and international travellers.”

Ramada expands to Batemans Bay Wyndham Hotel Group has announced its first resort on the New South Wales South Coast, Ramada Resort Batemans Bay, which will be the town’s first new resort to open in more than five years. Slated to break ground in the third quarter of 2018 and open late next year, the 84-room resort is a $26 million development from Nikias Diamond Property Developments Pty Ltd. The property is expected to employ up to 60 people during construction and approximately 35 staff once open. Wyndham Hotel Group South East Asia and Pacific Rim President and Managing Director, Barry Robinson, said: “We are seeing increased interest from Australian developers for globally renowned brands like Ramada and others offered by Wyndham Hotel Group, which are both well supported and ideally positioned to meet the emerging needs of today’s traveller. Batemans Bay has long been a destination favoured by Australian holidaymakers thanks

20 HM The Business of Accommodation

An artist’s impression of Ramada Resort Batemans Bay

to an abundance of beautiful beaches, natural beauty and tourism attractions.” As the closest seaside town to the Australian Capital Territory, Batemans Bay is a popular holiday destination for Canberrans. It is also a favoured holiday destination of Sydneysiders, and a key stop for people driving along the coastal route between Sydney and Melbourne. Ramada Batemans Bay will have an outdoor pool, restaurant and bar, and a range of services including free WiFi.

“We believe tourism in Batemans Bay will benefit from this development, particularly considering it will feature the globally known Ramada name,” added Dimitri Nikias, Director of Nikias Diamond Property Developments Pty Ltd. Peter Nair, Chief Executive Officer of BBS Hospitality Group, also commented: “We expect Ramada Batemans Bay will be welcomed by locals and tourists alike and we look forward to giving our guests a personalised and memorable experience of the bay.”


Tribe set to open flagship hotel in Melbourne Tribe Hotel Group, a joint partnership between cofounders Mark and Melissa Peters, Salta Properties and Victor Smorgon Group, has purchased 60 Langridge Street, Collingwood, a 1,056m2 site earmarked to be the group’s flagship property. The site was purchased from Peregrine Projects and forms part of their larger landholding (approx. 3000sqm) acquired late last year. Peregrine’s master plans for the site include the development of new commercial and office buildings. Peregrine Projects Managing Director, Joseph Chahin, said: “The sale to Tribe Hotel Group is the first step in a five-year re-development plan and the intended hotel usage cements the precinct as an iconic destination point.” Tribe co-founder Mark Peters said the Collingwood locale “stood out as a vibrant commercial precinct with huge appeal”. “The area has become Melbourne’s most desired precinct for entrepreneurial business and well-regarded SMEs that will find great value in having access to our lifestyle hotel product,” he said. “Tribe’s signature design, luxurious shared spaces, and cutting-edge technology will seamlessly align with the neighbourhood and deliver an affordable and considered stay to business and leisure travellers alike.” Tribe opened the doors of its first property Tribe Perth in June last year, which has been well received by the design community and nominated as award finalists in a number of international design awards. Peters said further expansion plans are well underway with Tribe hotel sites acquired in Hobart and Adelaide, alongside a move into international markets.

Tribe Hotels has acquired a site in Melbourne

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Development Le Méridien is set to return to Australia in 2020. Pictured: Le Méridien Guragon

Le Méridien set for Australian return Marriott International has announced it will be bringing its Le Méridien brand to Melbourne CBD, with the 235-room property slated to open in 2020. The move marks the return of Le Méridien to Australia, which formerly had properties in both Melbourne and Sydney. Le Méridien Melbourne will be located inside a converted 12-storey building, just a stone’s throw from Parliament Square, and will closely resemble the rest of the brand’s European mid-century style. Marriott International, Area Vice President - Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, Sean Hunt, said: “Marriott International is pleased to reintroduce Le Méridien to Australia, in particular to Melbourne. “Melbourne is known as one of Australia’s most European-style cities, especially with its art, culture and food attractions. As a Parisian-born brand focused on unlocking a destination, Le Méridien is the perfect fit for the city and the hotel is set to become a landmark for cultural-focused travellers visiting Melbourne,” he said. The hotel will also feature a 90-seat all-day dining restaurant, a 210sqm function space with three breakout rooms, two bars and a heated swimming pool. “We’re excited to partner with Marriott International to open Le Méridien Melbourne,” said Jinshan Investment Group Project Manager, Tony Chau. “The brand’s focus on culture will provide a distinctive offering for visitors to Melbourne; it was always our intention to partner with a brand with such an exceptional point of difference. Le Méridien Melbourne will play a significant role in catering to cosmopolitan and forward-looking travellers to the city.”


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An artist’s impression of Crowne Plaza Adelaide

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) has announced that it will be bringing its Crowne Plaza brand to Adelaide in 2020, opening inside Frome Central Tower One, which when completed will be the city’s tallest building. The 326-room hotel will feature an infinity pool, a bar and restaurant, a gym, and 600sqm of meeting and conference space, as well as a unique check-in experience on the tenth floor. Building work on Adelaide’s tallest building has already commenced, making Crowne Plaza Adelaide the only pipeline hotel currently under construction in the Adelaide CBD. IHG Senior Director of Development - Australasia, Abhijay Sandilya, said: “We are very excited to bring Crowne Plaza back to Adelaide, after a brief hiatus. As the city comes alive around us with the Fringe Festival, it demonstrates the need for a contemporary, upscale hotel that embraces both business and leisure travel, with a focus on events. We are confident that Crowne Plaza Adelaide will capitalise on strong corporate, conference and leisure demand.” Theo Samaras, Managing Director of Kyren Group, added: “Adelaide is a vibrant city and one of the more stable Australian hotel markets, with just over 4 million visitor hotel nights per year and growing. As we build this iconic development in the centre of Adelaide, we cannot think of a better partner than IHG, nor a more exciting brand than Crowne Plaza to welcome travellers to Adelaide 365 days per year.”

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HM Q&A Global leader: Expedia Inc President and CEO, Mark Okerstrom

Expedia’s CHARGE TO $100 BILLION HM sits down with Expedia Inc’s new President and CEO, MARK OKERSTROM, to talk about the company’s $100 billion goal, Asia-Pacific and expections for the world’s largest OTA. By James Wilkinson in Las Vegas, USA


here was a changing of the guard at Expedia Inc in September 2017, when long-serving President and CEO Dara Khosrowshahi departed the company to become the new Chief Executive of Uber. Replacing Khosrowshahi as head of the world’s leading Online Travel Agent (OTA) was Mark Okerstrom, the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Operations. Under Okerstrom, Expedia Inc has continued its charge to become the world’s first $100 billion OTA and to be a global leader in travel technology. At the company’s recent global Partner Conference in Las Vegas, HM sat down with Okerstrom to find out how the company is performing, the rise of Asia-Pacific and much more.

How is Expedia performing at present given Google is on the rise, Airbnb is making gains and Priceline is on the move. Will we continue to see your solid 30% room night growth again this year?

First of all I think math is absolutely in our favour and strategy is in our favour. On the math side of things, [travel] continues to be a massive industry and it is generating around USD$1.6 trillion and it continues to grow really quickly. 24 HM The Business of Accommodation

There is a possibility it will continue to accelerate and particularly on the back of what is happening in Asia. I’m very optimistic about the overall travel industry and if you look at where we are positioned strategically, we are the only truly global platform that can take any person from any place and take them to any place by any means. And when they are there, offer them an amazing set of activities in that place and if they have problems along the way – which they do because travel is messy – we can solve that. We have been engaged over the past five years in a very significant modernisation of this business from our tech platform to our supplyfacing platform and adding new products like HomeAway and opening new points of sale. As such we now have the strategic and operational basis to go through and deliver the full potential in each market we operate in. So, I think there is an incredible opportunity for us. Now, when it comes to a competitive standpoint, I don’t think we have ever been positioned better. Is Google continuing to enhance their product in travel? Absolutely. Does that mean Trivago needs to step up its game in terms of search? Definitely. But it doesn’t take away from the fundamental value and advantages that an OTA [Online Travel Agent] has, which is about going to one place, where you can search for anything, you can book

HM Q&A anything, you can get it cheaper by buying it together and if anything goes wrong, we can take care of all the problems. Just look at the amount of data that we sit on. Expedia has 600 million visits to our sites every single month. The amount of ‘purchase intent’ information we have is very significant. It’s not only purchase intent but we have what was done. No one else has that type of endto-end knowledge of what is happening [in the market] and it’s an incredible asset for us and not even Google has that.

What kind of challenge are you seeing from Airbnb and how are you looking to grow your HomeAway brand in that space?

That’s the future and I think that’s incredibly compelling. When I look at all of our competitors, I think they are all doing some wonderful things and our hope and strategy is to eliminate the advantages that they have and take full advantage of some of these structural advantages that we have.

This time last year, CEO at the time Dara Khosrowshahi was discussing how close Expedia was to becoming the first ever USD$100 billion travel agency. How is that coming along and how is the Asia Pacific region continuing to play a key role in achieving that goal?

We are doing quite well. For the trailing 12 months at the end I think Airbnb has built an of the third quarter last year excellent product and when we were up to around USD$86 people build excellent products billion with 13% year-over-year they go viral and they achieve growth, so the time is nigh to great success. That’s what we the hit the USD$100 billion have seen from Airbnb at least and we think that’s definitely in from a PR perspective and from striking distance. what we understand a booking Asia is a big part of this volume perspective, but I have and it will at some point soon no idea if they are profitable at be the biggest travel market in this point. the world. We are very happy That presents an incredible with our progress in a number opportunity for us and we are MARK OKERSTROM, President of markets [and] for example in following on that opportunity and CEO, Expedia Inc Japan we are growing north of with HomeAway and I think the 40% year-over-year, Korea has opportunity with HomeAway been a highlight for us and we is absolutely massive and are making great progress in South East Asia and a lot of that has been importantly this concept of having a platform that can take any person organic growth through our brand. to any place by any means – and in those places having all of the The wonderful thing about Asia is the characteristics of that travel hotels, all of the alternative accommodations and all of the treehouses market look somewhat similar to what we have seen in Europe in – that’s an incredible advantage and that’s what we have at Expedia. terms of the intra-region travel unlike with what we saw with Europe So, the future will see us bring all of the HomeAway inventory – where a lot of our early business was U.S. (travellers) into Europe, the which will include what they have now plus a whole bunch of other vast majority of our business in Asia is actually intra-Asia travel. So, options in the future including the urban-type product that Airbnb when we talk about being locally relevant on a global basis – and not has – into the common platform and ultimately exposing that through just planting more flags because in many markets we are considered to Expedia [the brand] and and all of our different sites be a local brand – and the region is pretty exciting for us. n around the world, including Egencia our corporate travel business.

“I’m very optimistic about the overall travel industry and if you look at where we are positioned strategically, we are the only truly global platform that can take any person from any place and take them to any place by any means.”

Enriching the way people live, work and play through architecture and interior design. Specialising in hotel new builds and refurbishments across Asia Pacific.

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Key News

STRONGER ACCOMMODATION INDUSTRY ADVOCACY IN QUEENSLAND Stronger local advocacy through the launch of a Queensland State Advisory Board confirms the Accommodation Association of Australia is the leading organisation for advocacy on issues which directly impact on the accommodation industry in the Sunshine State. The advisory board was formally launched by Queensland’s Minister for Innovation and Tourism Industry Development and Minister for the Commonwealth Games, the Hon Kate Jones MP, on the Gold Coast last month (Mar 15), where the Commonwealth Games is being held this month (April). “The launch of our Queensland State Advisory Board is a significant step forward for accommodation industry representation in the state,” said Accommodation Association of Australia CEO, Richard Munro. “As our members are aware, tourism is one of the largest and most important industries for the Queensland economy and within tourism, the accommodation sector is a dominant player. “The move to launch a special board to specifically represent the interests of Accommodation Association members in Queensland formally acknowledges this. “It also underlines the point that priority policy issues for the Accommodation Association in Queensland are issues which directly impact on accommodation beds,” he said. Members of the Queensland State Advisory Board are from a broad cross-section of accommodation businesses, including large national chains who have many hotels in major cities to smaller operators whose properties are in regional Queensland. “With the likes of global giant Airbnb and other sharing

National AAoA events round-up

At the AAoA Queensland launch were (Back row, left to right): Craig Barber, Michael Boroystan, Ian Sandilands, Steve Ryan and Warren Cullum. (Front row, left to right): Laura Younger [AAoA and ATHOC], The Hon. Kate Jones, Richard Munro [AAoA], Julian Clark [AAoA President and Lancemore Group], Matt Young and Paul Hodda

economy platforms who directly employ virtually no Queenslanders, pay next to no tax in Queensland and pay virtually no council rates in Queensland, the launch of the new Queensland State Advisory Board is very timely,” Munro said. “To help preserve the safety of visitors to Queensland, there must be a level-playing field for the regulation of tourism accommodation in the state. “Without this, the superb reputation Queensland has enjoyed in the eyes of the travelling public could be at risk,” he said. Members of the Accommodation Association Queensland State Advisory Board: • Ian Sandilands, President/Chairman, Best Western Hotels Australia (Chair) • Michael Boroystan, Regional Manager, TFE Hotels • Matt Young, Vice President Operations QLD/NT, AccorHotels • Mark Hodge, Executive Director Operations, Mantra Group • Steve Ryan, General Manager, Comfort Inn & Suites Robertson Gardens, Nathan • Nick uit den Bogaard, Owner, Comfort Resort Blue Pacific, Mackay • Paul Hodda, Owner, Best Western Ascot Lodge Goondiwindi • Warren Cullum, Regional Director of Operations, Wyndham Hotel Group South East Asia and Pacific Rim, Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific • Craig Barber, General Manager, Alex Perry Hotels

Perth breakfast roundtable


There was a great turn out of General Managers who were very interested to discuss AAoA’s Advocacy Agenda over a breakfast roundtable with AAoA CEO, Richard Munro, in March. AAoA would like to thank TFE Hotels Rendezvous Hotel Perth Scarborough, for hosting the event.


Over 150 members and industry colleagues joined AAoA for the ‘Melbourne and Victoria Hotel Industry Dynamics Forum’ hosted by the William Angliss Institute. Presentations were made by Matthew Burke (STR), Maria Taylor (TravelClick), 26 HM The Business of Accommodation

Melbourne dynamics forum

Chris White (Visit Victoria), Carolyn Childs ( and Robynne Berg (thinkplayact). AAoA would like to thank the speakers for their valuable insight and we plan to bring our Victorian members more forums and events in the year ahead.


The AAoA Academy is supporting the industry nationally


The Federal Government has projected by 2020 a labour short fall of 123,000 jobs in the Australian hospitality and tourism sector and the AAOA ACADEMY is working closely with the Department of Jobs and Small Business to ensure that the industry has access to local workers who can fill the available vacancies. The AAoA Academy is taking the lead, as an industry body, to deliver pre-employment programs, designed by industry, to give job seekers the skills and opportunities they need to gain sustainable employment with our members and supporting industry partners. A key initiative the AAoA Academy is fully supporting is the Youth Jobs PaTH – an employment program that combines training, unpaid work trials (internships with a $1000 payment to support host businesses) and wage subsidies up to $10,000. If you have an existing vacancy or a reasonable prospect of ongoing employment; you can host a trained intern in your business - to see if they are the right fit for you and if the job is the right fit for them. A success story from a recent program the AAoA Academy supported in Melbourne was Ba See, a Burmese refugee now working at the Mantra St Kilda Road Hotel. Ba See attended pre-employment training supported by the AAoA academy, delivered by Training Unlimited, and completed his PaTH internship at the Mantra Tullamarine Hotel. “Through the training Ba See was drawn to the kitchen and expressed a significant interest in becoming an apprentice chef. With the fantastic support of the Mantra Group, Ba See completed his 4-week internship and was subsequently offered an apprenticeship with the Mantra Group,” said AAoA Academy Director, Troy Schufft. “Ba See travelled over an hour each way for his internship in Tullamarine

and with the support of his Job Active provider, Sarina Russo Job Access; his ongoing employment was transferred to the Mantra St Kilda Road Hotel which had an existing need for an apprentice chef and is closer to Ba See’s home,” he said. Ba See, a refugee at age 11 from Burma, through the Youth Jobs PaTH, now has a long-term career ahead of him, in our industry. “The AAoA Academy, through its support and training program, gave me the chance to prove myself to the Mantra Group. I wouldn’t have had that opportunity without this program and I would like to thank the AAoA Academy, Mantra Group and Chef Patil for all their support,” See said. Schufft said: “The AAoA Academy is fully supportive of giving job seekers, of all ages, opportunities to gain employment in our industry, especially where they’re unlikely to progress through the mainstream recruitment processes – due solely to lack of experience. The work placement / internship enables employers to assess the job seeker in a live work placement which, in some ways, is the interview process. “I personally would like to thank the Mantra Group and Sarina Russo Job Access for supporting the initiative.” For more information or to support future initiatives, contact Troy Schufft at or visit the AAoA website, 27


Carlson Rezidor


Federico J. González

This year’s International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, Germany, was headlined by the news that CARLSON REZIDOR HOTEL GROUP was making a big change.


arlson Rezidor Hotel Group has officially rebranded to Radisson Hotel Group (RHG), with the move announced at IHIF on March 5. RHG said the new identity “leverages the powerful, international brand equity of the Radisson name to drive awareness in the marketplace, increase marketing efficiency across the global portfolio and offer exceptional experiences to make Every Moment Matter for guests, owners and talent”. As part of the announcement, RHG revealed it was looking to more than double the number of hotel rooms it has in the Asia Pacific region by seeking to add more than 20,000 rooms. Moreover, RHG’s global ambitions are even greater than that. “This is the start of an exciting era for the Radisson Hotel Group, united by our new brand and long-term vision to become a top three hospitality company in the world,” said Federico J. González, President and CEO, the Rezidor Hotel Group and Chairman of the Global Steering Committee, Radisson Hotel Group. “Our five-year operating plan includes initiatives that redefine our value proposition, optimize our portfolio, streamline operations, invest in new technology systems and align our team members to deliver on our signature, Every Moment Matters. “Every Moment Matters’ is about how we do business at the Radisson Hotel Group and who we are at the core, a place of purposeful encounters. For everyone. Everyday. Everywhere. Every time. Our rebranding is just the beginning,” González said. RHG says the new go-to-market name, Radisson Hotel Group, “capitalizes on a strong partnership between Radisson Hospitality, Inc. (formerly Carlson Hotels, Inc.) and Rezidor Hotel Group AB (publicly listed on Nasdaq Stockholm, Sweden and headquartered in Brussels, Belgium)” which has master franchise agreements to develop and operate several brands across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Currently, the 11th largest hotel group in the world, Radisson Hotel Group is made up of eight hotel brands with more than 1,400 hotels in operation and under development.

28 HM The Business of Accommodation

“The creation of the Radisson Hotel Group is an evolution of our long-term partnership with the Rezidor Hotel Group. Together, we are clarifying and executing a new brand architecture to create more value for our guests and owners,” said John M. Kidd, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Radisson Hospitality, Inc. “It’s the right time for us to align our strategic and operating plans and go-to-market as one solid player.” A key to that growth is the Asia-Pacific region and Radisson Hotel Group Asia Pacific President, Katerina Giannouka, said the re-branding was an exciting opportunity for the company. “The new name, Radisson Hotel Group (RHG), is a key milestone in Radisson Hotel Group’s five-year operating plan to transform the global brand, optimise every part of the business and drive overall growth, particularly within the APAC region,” she said. “Radisson Hotel Group is made up of eight hotel brands with more than 1,400 hotels in operation and under development globally, with 200 in Asia. The group has aspirations to become the third largest hotel operator in the world. “Radisson Hotel Group is looking to more than double the number of hotel rooms it has in the Asia Pacific region – currently it has approximately 18,000 hotel rooms across the Asia Pacific region and it is looking to more than double this number in the mid-term, adding a further 20,000 rooms. “China is a key growth market for RHG and the group is looking to triple its presence in China over the next five years. “RHG already has a solid presence in tier one cities in China and will be looking to expand into tier two and tier three cities, capitalizing off the 5.1 billion domestic and inbound travellers to China and the market trend towards more price conscious mid scale travel within China’s domestic market.


“Our long-term vision to become a top three hospitality company in the world.” FEDERICO J. GONZÁLEZ, Chairman of the Global Steering Committee, Radisson Hotel Group

“In Southeast Asia Pacific, RHG will strengthen its presence in emerging markets and gateway cities. There are strong opportunities across all brands in countries such as Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan and Australasia. “In India, RHG continues to enjoy first mover’s advantage as one of the country’s leading international hospitality groups with 140 hotels in operation and under development across 60 Indian cities,” Giannouka said. RHG is also launching a new brand, Radisson Collection, as a “premium lifestyle collection designed for exceptional hotels”. Radisson Collection will replace the company’s Quorvus Collection brand and will launch fully in June, after being unveiled initially at the International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin. The company says the new Radisson Hotel Group brand architecture will also enable new customer-facing benefits and commercial drivers including: • Radisson Rewards: the refreshed global loyalty program (formerly Club Carlson), where members enjoy Member Only Rates, have access to exclusive benefits and earn towards free nights. Radisson Rewards for Business will drive engagement with professional partners including meeting and event planners, travel agents and executive assistants across all brands. • Radisson Meetings: an enhanced meetings and events offering designed to make every event unique with fully-equipped spaces, on-site contacts and carefully designed menus. It will launch later this year with a multi-brand digital platform. • a new global, multi-brand digital platform that will bring an industryleading online booking experience to guests and professional partners, launching later this year. RHG also says it intends to invest significantly over the next five years into platforms and technology, including a comprehensive IT program for integration, new property management and distribution platforms along with new CRM, loyalty and campaign management platforms.It says it will also make significant investments in rebranding or repositioning more than 500 hotels globally. “Committed to make Every Moment Matter, Radisson Hotel Group will be a true host and best partner, and aims to become one of the top three hotel companies in the world, and the company of choice for guests, owners and talent,” RHG says.


The newly-rebranded Radisson Hotel Group (RHG) has unveiled the Radisson Collection, a new brand that will replace the fledgling Quorvus Collection.

Launched at IHIF and set to be fully-launched in June, Radisson Collection is what RHG says is “a premium collection of exceptional hotels in landmark locations… Driven by consumer demand for individuality and more personalised experiences, Radisson Collection brings together the finest hotels in the Radisson Hotel Group portfolio”. RHG has revealed that 14 hotels are confirmed to join the collection following the launch. “72% of travellers prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than material things and the Radisson Collection caters to this demand,” Gonzalez said. “The hotels that have already joined the Radisson Collection are the perfect showcase for what the brand represents: authenticity, design and exceptional service. “Ultimately, the brand and the hotels will be defined by the people who visit them and those who serve in them. “We are incredibly proud of our global debut and look forward to the continued growth of our exceptional collection globally,” he said. Gonzalez said each hotel feels authentic to its location and offers the ultimate model for contemporary living. He said Radisson Collection hotels are united by exceptional design and experiences across dining, fitness, wellness and sustainability. Gonzalez said all hotel properties are situated in prestigious locations, close to prime leisure attractions and boast an individual and locally authentic atmosphere. The company says the Radisson Collection will benefit from the power of the Radisson Hotel Group with a strategic market positioning and scale of a global brand. “The collection will give hotel owners an opportunity to join an international network while maintaining the identity and authenticity of their hotels and resorts through a flexible framework for affiliation and endorsement,” RHG says. “The member hotels wanting to build market recognition can choose to lead with the brand or lead with their hotel identity. “The collection affiliation provides member hotels with international brand services, operational expertise, infrastructure and loyalty program, designed to optimize the owner’s return on investment.” RHG says Radisson Collection is set to become a beacon for an aspirational lifestyle with bespoke interiors and stylish design pieces. “The exceptional guest rooms feature the Radisson Collection Sleep and Wellbeing Experiences, luxurious amenities as well as high speed WiFi and TV streaming. “Led by a ‘Yes I Can!’ customer service attitude, guests will always feel welcomed and personally recognized. Spontaneous surprises and thoughtful gestures will create memorable moments for guests whether they stay for a week or just come by for a meal. “Each hotel will offer meaningful local touches providing guests with a genuine insight into the destination. “This includes locally curated art and sustainability programs, locally inspired food and drink offerings and Running Collections; suggested running paths to explore the local neighborhood. “Guests will be able to create their own customized experiences at each hotel. “Radisson Collection offers guests with a choice of exceptional locations and enriching experiences that will make memories for a lifetime,” RHG says. n 29


Van Paasschen headlines

AHICE 2018 Former Starwood CEO, FRITS VAN PAASSCHEN, is headlining the speaker line-up for the 2018 Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE), being held in Melbourne on May 2-3. Former Starwood CEO Frits Van Paasschen is headlining AHICE 2018


ince leaving Starwood prior to the company’s takeover by Marriott International, van Paasschen has gone on to write an Amazing best-selling book ‘The Disruptors’ Feast’, which according to the former Hotelier is all about “how to avoid being devoured in today’s rapidly changing global economy”. His 30 years of experience inside global companies affords him a unique perspective on the trends that are reshaping the global economy. At AHICE, which is themed ‘Connect, Respond and Engage to stay on top of the game in 2018’, van Paasschen will share his deep understanding of the forces of disruption in order to help businesses thrive in times of accelerating change. Van Paasschen spent more than a decade as a Fortune 500 CEO, first at The Coors Brewing Company and then at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. He also held several management positions at Nike, ultimately becoming Nike’s President of Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Prior to joining Nike, he worked in finance in Disney’s Consumer Products Division. His

30 HM The Business of Accommodation

career began at The Boston Consulting Group and McKinsey & Company, where he primarily served retail and consumer clients. Van Paasschen is an advisor with a focus on disruption and strategy. He is a Senior Advisor at the private equity firm TPG Capital. He also serves on the Board of Directors for two public companies, Williams-Sonoma and Royal DSM, as well as two private companies, Apollo Hotels and Convene. He is an investor and advisor for citizenM Hotels. He has also been a Non-Executive Director at Barclays, Jones Apparel, and Oakley. Van Paasschen has also served on numerous other boards: The European-American Industrial Council (as Chairman), The U.S.-India and U.S.-China business councils, The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Authority, and The Center for Environmental Leadership in Business at Conservation International. He holds a BA in Economics and Biology from Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. At Harvard, he was a Teaching Fellow in Economics. Originally from the Netherlands, Frits holds dual U.S. and Dutch citizenship. A passionate traveler, he speaks five languages and has visited 115 countries. In his free time, he enjoys endurance sports, including marathons and triathlons. He has been married since 1990 and has three children. Van Paasschen headlines a strong speaker line-up for AHICE 2018, which includes over 60 key executives from within and outside the global hotel industry. n For tickets and more information on confirmed speakers, visit


Connect, Respond and Engage to stay on top of the game in 2018 KEYNOTES FRITS DIRK VAN PAASSCHEN

Former Starwood CEO


Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales

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Veriu set for major expansion

Veriu Broadway Sydney

Sydney-based VERIU HOTELS AND SUITES is fast becoming one of Australia’s most-talked about chains, thanks to a rapid expansion that has taken the group from one hotel a year ago to a portfolio of 21 in the next 18 months.


aving successfully established a Sydney network of bespoke hotels and suites, Veriu Hotels and Suites is set to expand interstate with the acquisition of 13 hotels under the well-known Punthill Apartment Hotel brand. The hotels joined the group in early February and continue to operate under the Punthill brand, yet will offer the unique personalised service that Veriu prides itself on, according to Veriu directors Alex Thorpe and Rhys Williams. The 13-strong portfolio includes eight suburban and four CBD apartment hotels in Melbourne plus one in Brisbane, offering 777 apartments in total across the group. Thorpe and Williams said there was great synergy between the two brands: “The Punthill founders started on a similar journey to ours some 30 years ago. “Their entrepreneurial spirit and hard work have created an incredible portfolio of hotels with a talented team of passionate people. “We see a lot of similarities between Veriu and Punthill with their well-located suburban and city fringe hotels, where guests are encouraged to explore the local areas away from the well-worn tourist haunts,” they said. Thorpe and Williams said they will consider rebranding certain hotels under the Veriu brand in the next six to 12 months. “The Punthill brand has a strong presence in Melbourne,” they said. “Veriu is equally on the rise with 2 Sydney hotels currently in the top 10 of 181 hotels on TripAdvisor in Sydney. “We will be considering what opportunities exist for both brands in Melbourne and Sydney but the important part is the best of both groups will be integrated for guests in both cities. “The guests, both corporate and leisure, of the Punthill and Veriu Groups will now be able to move around 17 hotels in the largest gateway cities in Australia.

“Veriu will expand to 21 hotels within the next 18 months with a new hotel in Melbourne and three new Veriu hotels in Sydney.” ALEX THORPE & RHYS WILLIAMS, Directors, Veriu Hotels and Suites

32 HM The Business of Accommodation

Punthill Northbank Melbourne

Veriu’s Alex Thorpe and Rhys Williams

“This will expand to 21 hotels within the next 18 months with a new hotel in Melbourne and three new Veriu hotels in Sydney. Guests will be given all the benefits that both groups offer but in significantly more locations.” Thorpe and Williams said they also saw future potential for the proudly Melbourne brand in Sydney as well as well as opportunities to move the Veriu brand into Melbourne within the next year. All Veriu guests enjoy a free welcome drink on checkin, free WiFi, access to complimentary commuter bikes and the ‘Veriu Connect’ offering which allows guests to visit each of the Veriu hotels in the network and receive local expert information. Thorpe and Williams said guests of Punthill Apartment Hotels can enjoy similar benefits, in addition to rate discounts, exemption from booking fees and guaranteed best rate of the day when booking direct. n




HM catches up with Founder and CEO of 8Hotels, PAUL FISCHMANN, to discuss his latest opening – the stylish Sydney Airport-based Felix Hotel – as well as future plans for the business.

Tell us about the development of your new Sydney Airport property, Felix Hotel.


he hotel took 17 months to build and we secured the site about a year prior. It was a quick DA process and then we got straight into the design and started building. We opened the doors on 1 February after receiving official handover on 30 January. We have still managed to smash our budget for the month of February with very strong bookings, mainly over the last two weeks of the month. We have experienced strong interest from corporates, airlines and bookings from delayed flights.

What part of the hotel are you most proud of?

The view! Guests have a view of the whole airport and it is unparalleled in this precinct. This is a plane-spotter’s heaven and we even have telescopes installed. We designed a cool hotel that is unlike anything else – as everything else is a little bit bland around here.

8Hotels Founder and CEO, Paul Fischmann

The ‘penthouse’ at Felix Hotel

We made a point of doing things as differently as possible and we think we pulled it off.

Are there any meeting spaces within the hotel?

We have two meeting rooms and an outdoor area that holds up to 150 people in a cocktail setting and we also have a great board room space. We have been inundated with enquiries since we opened the doors – around three to four a day.

What is the vision for 8Hotels in 2018?

We are more of a developer than a management company. I made the decision at the end of 2013 not to continue to build a large management company and there are a lot of reasons why I decided to do that. I didn’t want to compete with Accor and Mantra, and these types of groups – it didn’t make sense for me as a private business and I didn’t want to bring in investors, or go public. We had ten management contracts and ten owned assets, of which those assets were freehold and leasehold. There were partners and investors on the freehold and a couple of partners in the leasehold, so now it is about having fewer partners. I felt as though our quality was slipping and we had a lot of older assets and it didn’t make commercial sense to be able to turn them into what I wanted, which is to do only great stuff – not mediocre stuff. It doesn’t matter whether it is one star or five star, it is about being the best at what you do in the market. So, I was happy to capitalise and essentially restructure how I was doing things and to work with funds for the first time – it definitely wasn’t an overnight decision. We sold off a lot of hotels we owned and we amicably parted ways with management agreements that we didn’t want to be in that weren’t bringing in return. We kept the ones that were, and we started looking for new deals. One of which is the Felix Hotel. We also have a building in Surry Hills and another

in Pyrmont and I am also on the hunt for others. We are happy to do management deals with the right partners, but we will develop and sell, and we will keep as well. Unlike a management company that is purely about building a business where there are more rooms under management, we are incredibly flexible. While some people in the industry thought we disappeared, we actually never went away. We are stronger and better than ever, my personal lifestyle is better and I have lots of time to devote to the family, as well as to new projects. We have also invested in an online hospitality training platform called As early investors, we are very passionate about this NetFlix-style training service which uses hundreds, soon to be thousands, of short video tutorials to take the archaic way of training and developing hospitality staff and bringing it into the online age for the 250 million strong worldwide hospitality workforce. Typsy has a great back end with numerous features. One of many high profile customers already using Typsy is the most prestigious hotel school in the world – Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne – in Switzerland.

We understand the new Felix Hotel is already up for sale?

Felix Hotel is a great asset and we as developers are happy to sell it. As a management company, 8Hotels are here for the long-haul and we are very committed. We love the [Felix Hotel] and we are very proud of it. It is doing brilliantly in its first month and it is only going to get better. n 33

General Manager

FV by Peppers General Manager, Troy Fettes, with the Queensland Minister for Tourism, Kate Jones

luxe new Peppers Stylish: FV by Peppers Brisbane


HM catches up with the General Manager of the new FV by Peppers in Brisbane, TROY FETTES to talk about the city’s hottest new opening. Interview by Emma Castle

Congratulations on your new position as GM of FV by Peppers. Where were you before and what attracted you to this role?


have been working in several large strata resorts on the Gold Coast, with my most recent position as General Manager at Mantra Sierra Grand Resort on the Gold Coast. The opportunity to complete another hotel opening in a high-profile building and a mixed-use development really attracted me to the role. The development features the ‘FV Private Club’ offering over 2000 square metres of luxury amenity including a 60 metre U-shaped skyline pool, a private dining room, moonlight cinema room, health club, yoga studio, and outdoor landscaped deck areas, as well as three VIP lounges with pools available for private bookings.

What launch activities have you got planned for the hotel?

We officially opened the hotel on March 1 this year with the Minister for Tourism Kate Jones and Mantra Group’s Chief Operating Officer Tomas Johnsson cutting the ribbon to celebrate the opening. Our launch party was very successful; FV by Peppers was inspired by New York’s flatiron building so we kept with the theme and had a New York style live deli on the night with our chefs preparing delicious meats and cheeses for guests and attendees with a DJ playing music on our rooftop area.

What will the focus of the property be?

We are building up our reputation and continuing to create brand awareness of FV by Peppers. Customer service is an integral part of the hotel experience. A critical success factor for us will be ensuring we have knowledgeable staff with exceptional levels of proactive service and customer care. Having just opened our on-site restaurant for guests and residents, ‘Six by FV’ has a very New York influence – think delicious wood-fired pizzas. We are looking forward to continuing that high-end Peppers experience with fantastic customer service and quality food.

How is business going so far and what are your expectations for the rest of the year?

There is currently a lot of interest in the property and weekend demand has been very strong. As we are located in Fortitude Valley, we are in the hub of some fantastic nightlife, restaurants and the entertainment precinct of Brisbane. There has been quite a strong demand for our residential apartments from long stay guests (over 14 nights) – our apartments offer a range of sleeping options spread between one or two 34 HM The Business of Accommodation

bedrooms, with all apartments offering sought after urban living features such as sleek kitchens with European appliances and fully enclosed balconies. We are excited for what the future holds for the property.

What are some of the things you’re doing to attract guests? It’s a competitive market in Brisbane, so what is your point of difference?

We have attractive offers in market at the moment. It’s the little extras such as inclusions like complementary WiFi and in-house movies. The cutting edge architectural design of FV by Peppers is matched by the inclusion of some thoroughly modern facilities such as a moonlight cinema, a fullservice gym, yoga retreat, a 60m heated U-shaped skyline pool, tropical gardens, on-site F&B and - my personal favourite - three VIP private spa lounges. These luxe extras really make us stand out from the competitive Brisbane market. Complementing this sophisticated urban offering is Peppers renowned style of service – always attentive, never obtrusive.

Tell us the path you have taken to your role and any tips you have for General Managers of the future? I started out in restaurants as I wanted to run my own restaurant. I soon discovered hotels while I was studying for my Bachelor of Hotel Management. I fell in love with hotels and the people in the industry. To be successful in the industry, you must work hard; treat everyone you encounter with respect. Success is never final, so always continually push for improvements and be a lifelong learner. Have pride and passion in your work, and enjoy what you do, and things will happen naturally.

What do you love about the Peppers brand?

Peppers is a little different to your traditional hotel brands. We offer small boutique properties as well as beautiful large properties such as Peppers Broadbeach and Peppers Soul, but our point of difference really is the people in our business because they go above and beyond for all guests to ensure they receive that high-end Peppers experience.

You are new to Brisbane. What do you love about it?

I am new to Brisbane and think it has a great vibe to it. It is a big city without being too big. I love being so close to the Brisbane River and the fact that it is an outdoor city with great weather. I love the culture – new cafes and bars are popping up all the time. n

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Rooms Division

Sirrufen Fushi Fairmont Resort

Child’s play

Should hotels have more child-friendly spaces? And if so, what should they include? EMMA CASTLE finds out.


he business case for introducing child-friendly rooms comes with split considerations. After all, the resort sector has been catering for children for a long time, but why about urban properties, or even MICE-oriented hotels. Is there any point designing rooms and public spaces that cater to the specific needs of junior travellers.

playrooms. There are spaces specifically designed for teens with pool tables and TVs, and there’s a range of kids pools including a very shallow pool for toddlers,” says Rip. In his experience, it’s mostly the resort market in places like The Maldives, The Bahamas, Fiji and Bali who really push the boat out on kid’s clubs, as well as play areas and in-room features like pull out sofa beds. In the Middle East, Rip says that hotel rooms are specifically designed to be harder wearing than normal as the kids are often allowed to run a little wild.



Clifford Rip, Principal, HBA says that not many clients ask for child-friendly spaces but the ones that do seem to occupy a very specific niche. “There aren’t many brands that actually do it. Club Med is obviously a leader in this space, as is Hard Rock Hotel in places like Singapore but 70 per cent of brands won’t touch it,” he says. The China market caters more for families travelling with kids, says Rip. “Brands like Ascott in Beijing offer great kid’s 36 HM The Business of Accommodation

Carolyn Childs, Futurist and Strategist from, says, “We need to rethink what we mean by a family. Often when people say this they mean what I call ‘Janet and John families’; certainly that’s the way most hotels seem to package things but modern families are way more complex. “Although families are, on average, still nuclear (meaning two parents and two kids), single parent, blended and step families are on the rise. “The incidence of twins has increased around 60 per cent since the 80s, and one parent families make up around 10.6 per cent of families in 2011. This is projected to grow. “Also think about multi-generational travel. This is growing across the market


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Rooms Division


Sunwing Phuket offers family-centric rooms called the Happy Baby Studio. The rooms are located on the ground level with an enclosed terrace and gate that can be locked. The rooms take two adults and two children under 12 years, and are specially equipped with a baby cot, high chair, stroller, nursing mat, baby resting chair, Bumbo baby sitter, children’s crockery and cutlery, baby bathtub, non-slip bath mat, stool in the bathroom, plastic potty, safety drawer locks and sunbeds and parasol at the gated garden terrace.

all the way up to luxury. In the ‘Passport to Discovery’ work we did in partnership with OMD in 2015 we found that 20 per cent of Australians travelled in a group of four or more for their last domestic and international trips. This includes other groups like friends but seems to be largely families.”


Aleney de Winter, Family Travel writer and Publisher at, says, “We’ve stumbled across so many hotels on our travels that really nail familyfriendly. But not for the reasons you might think. My kids have never been even remotely interested in kids’ clubs, because when you get down to it, they’re more often than not designed for the parent’s convenience, not the kid’s. “There are some that really get that these places need to be more than a safe space to hang out, because it is the kids holiday too. The Sofitel Nusa Dua and Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra both incorporate clever programs into their Kids Clubs from gardening and fishing, to cooking and local cultural experiences where children can really engage and immerse themselves in the destination. “Novotel is another brand that just gets it when it comes to kids; they offer more than just kids menus and kids clubs. They have a kids’ area in their lobbies, great features like healthy kids’ menus, excellent family packages, in-room entertainment and an awesome new Kids Wellness program, plus each hotel has individual touches that always appeal to my kids, from a beach ball on the bed to DIY edible snowmen at bed time,” said de Winter. n 38 HM The Business of Accommodation


Family travel writer and publisher Aleney de Winter shares her five tips for catering for children: 1. Treat the kids with respect - they’re guests too.  2. It’s the personal interaction that makes the difference to a child – so say hello, give them a high five, or leave a little note addressed just to them. 3. The little things can make a huge difference. Whether that’s kid-sized robes and slippers in the room or a small welcome gift or snack, kids love being made feel important.  4. Happy kids equal happy parents. 5. Families are more likely to dine in at a resort or hotel than singles and couples, so it’s worth ensuring the kids are made to feel welcome at hotel dining establishments.

Rooms Division

Bed Time HM speaks with leading suppliers to find out the latest trends in beds.


attress technology, like so many other areas of product development, is now catering for different consumer preferences within the one bed. AH Beard Group Commercial Manager, Peter Deveny, explains, “We’ve just launched a range that combines two different feels in one mattress. “You can have a standard PillowTop on one side of the bed, for the guest that likes a nice plush feel, and a firmer cushion top build on the other side. “This is perfect for properties that need to accommodate for inbound groups that might prefer firmer bed, but also just for that guest that wants to have a specific feel. The range is available in a number of different spring technologies and price points.


Sealy of Australia National Commercial Account Manager, Antony Raiteri, says, “We are seeing a continued push for high 40 HM The Business of Accommodation

quality beds, using advanced comfort fills like gel infused memory foam and latex and almost exclusively using technologically superior support systems such as our Reflex Pocket Coil. “Properties see the benefit from the higher quality beds in their guest reviews and social media, which in turn drives demand for their competitors to up their offer if they want to keep pace,” he says. Raiteri says that his customers always want to know what beds their competitors are using. “The bed isn’t just the biggest piece of furniture in the room, it’s also where the guest will spend the most time, so it’s the biggest opportunity to leave an impression on your guests. You get to decide if that impression is good or bad, lasting or fleeting,” he says.

“There is a move towards brand specific specifications to differentiate the various levels of quality available in the accommodation market.” ANTONY RAITERI, National Commercial Account Manager, Sealy of Australia

BESPOKE AND BRANDED Deveny says AH Beard is “one of the leading suppliers of bespoke beds to the industry”.

Rooms Division

“We get lots of interesting and rewarding opportunities to work with hoteliers who really want to make a statement with their bed,” he says. “We have had a long association with brands like Rydges, QT, Art Series, Federal Group and many others,” he says. “Of late, projects like Federal’s stunning Macq01 in Hobart and the amazing Jackalope Hotel at Merricks on the Mornington Peninsula have been great to work on. “In both cases, we collaborated with the operators and design teams to create a sleep solution that delivered amazing comfort, but also met the design brief and integrated into the stunning architecture and aesthetics of the rooms. “It’s always fantastic to see these projects through from inception to reality and then see the feedback and accolades that they win when the guests start to experience them. “We’ve just concluded the product development and selection phase with Crystalbrook Collection, so I’m looking forward to seeing their first property open and hearing what the guests have to say about their signature bed,” he says. Raiteri says that he would always encourage hoteliers to invest in custom-designed beds. “The difference between average and outstanding isn’t really that great on a price scale,” he says. “When you amortise the cost over the life of the bed, the difference between having something good and something outstanding is usually less than a couple of cents a night. “Your guests will certainly appreciate the investment, and more than ever they tell lots of people via social media when they find a property that makes an impression, good or bad. “A very successful hotelier once told me, ‘We are in the business of creating experiences. Mostly, people can’t touch experiences, but experiences touch people’. What better chance to create that experience is there than to invest well in the one thing that you know beyond any doubt that the guest is going to spend time in while they are in your hotel?” Raiteri says.

“We will also be launching an exciting new bed at AHICE this year. This will feature the ability for the comfort of the bed to be adjusted, firmer or softer to suit individual guests.” PETER DEVENY, Group Commercial Manager, AH Beard


Raiteri says that a lot of his hotel clients are starting to develop online shopfronts to sell the products being used in the rooms. “Sealy has an enormously strong brand awareness which has allowed hotels to use this leverage to develop very successful guest purchase programs,” he says. Deveny says the popularity of devices like FitBit have inspired a new breed of mattress. “We have a new range of sleep tech products that integrate with all devices so that you can measure and monitor your sleep quality and adjust your bedroom environment to maximise your quality of sleep,” he says. “These products, although initially aimed at the consumer market, are drawing keen interest from hotel operators looking to deliver a tech savvy sleep solution to their guests. “We will also be launching an exciting new bed at AHICE this year. This will feature the ability for the comfort of the bed to be adjusted, firmer or softer to suit individual guests. It also integrates with our range of sleep technology products, allowing for monitoring of your sleep quality and time to make sure that you get the best possible night’s sleep,” Deveny says. n 41


REBEL GENERATION Meet the lifestyle brands you need to know which are shaking up the industry in Australia and across the globe. COMPILED BY JAMES WILKINSON


“Confronted with how far Americans were lagging behind in changing our consumption habits, I created 1 Hotels to show sophisticated travelers that they can do good, live well, and connect with both the world and the community around them.” -BARRY STERNLICHT, 1 Hotels Founder and the Chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group


“The first 25hours hotel opened in 2003 in Hamburg and was planned as a standalone hotel. 25hours was created as the fun ‘younger’ sibling that was more colourful, dynamic and louder than its sister property the Gastwerk Hotel which is more traditional, with a focus on conferencing. The project was so successful that the 25hours Hotel Company was founded in 2005 to further develop and expand the concept and brand. For every hotel we carefully choose designers, partners and friends to make sure each property has its own personality. Working locally is one of our key success factors and we do so by collaborating with networks of likeminded people in each destination that we operate in.” -BRUNO MARTI, Chief Brand Officer, 25Hours Hotels


“Andaz properties are vibrant boutique hotels and resorts that act as social anchors in their communities. Located in prime locations, they weave the sights, sounds and tastes of their surroundings to create a truly immersive stay.” -ROBERT DAWSON, Area Vice President - Pacific, Hyatt Hotels and Resorts


“All of the Edition hotels are unique, original and one of a kind, embedded with a sense of time and place. Together Marriott and I have a vision and plan to radically rethink and catapult the boutique/lifestyle category hotel into the present by capturing the spirit of the times.” -IAN SCHRAGER, co-founder, Edition Hotels


“At Even Hotels, we provide a strong lifestyle offering for travellers seeking more options to stay healthier and happier away from home. Our hotels and wellness-savvy staff offer guests a best-in-class fitness experience, healthier food choices and natural, relaxing spaces. Beyond our hotels we support the needs of travellers through, a go-to source for healthier, happier travel.” -ABHIJAY SANDILYA, Senior Director, Development – Australasia, IHG


“At Hotel Indigo we serve the curious – people who are inspired by new places, new people and new ideas. With hotels in culturally diverse locations all over the world, no two properties are the same. Each is part of the pulse and the rhythm of a place, drawing 42 HM The Business of Accommodation

Green machine: 1Hotel Brooklyn Bridge New York, USA Hip: 25Hours’ hot Vienna property

Development on the story of its local area to inspire every aspect of the hotel, from intriguing design to distinctive local ingredients in our menus.” -LEANNE HARWOOD, Managing Director, Australasia & Japan, IHG


“Out to help people live full, balanced lives, Kimpton aims to inspire with touches like yoga mats in every room, complimentary coffee and tea to start the day, hosted evening Wine Hour, in-room fitness programming and complimentary bike rentals. The awardwinning restaurants and bars are led by talented chefs and bartenders that offer guests a chance to dine like a local.” -MIKE DeFRINO, CEO, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants


“Mama is a common ground for people to meet and feel alive. We did several things to make this happen: we created one big area for people to interact, no more physical separation between the restaurant, pizzeria, bar, lounge, reception desk and stage for live events. Before anything else, what is key to Mama is that we sell happiness. Our team embodies that spirit, the way we design our places, our menus, everything. While every boutique hotel focuses on selling a cool attitude and design, we focus on selling happiness and fun.” -BENJAMIN & JEREMIE TRIGANO, Founders, Mama Shelter


“On 22nd December 2017, we officially launched our new brand Mojo Nomad, with the opening of our first Mojo Nomad property in Hong Kong’s Aberdeen Harbour. Mojo Nomad is a new co-habitation concept for global nomads that combines travel, lifestyle and community at its core. Mojo Nomad fulfils the modern nomad, who seeks new ways of living as a community, appreciating the experience of exploring the local lifestyle and values openness and collaboration. It departs from the traditional rigid hotel model that requires a direct quid-pro-quo benefit against every square metre in favour of Return on Experience. Instead, we’re focusing on offering collaborative and fun environments that will expose our residents to new experiences that inspire them to be active creators and contribute creatively and intellectually to the world around them. We are looking forward to bringing our new concept to other markets across Asia-Pacific into 2018 and beyond.” -GIRISH JHUNJHNUWALA, Founder and CEO, Ovolo Group


“Mondrian is a brand with international allure. It’s is an extremely valuable brand to the company and we look forward to bringing it to more cities around the world in the coming months and years as we expand our international footprint.” -SAM NAZARIAN, founder and CEO, sbe


“Moxy is defined by its attitude and offers up a new way of traveling in which smaller is concentration, not reduction – and where affordability is not a sacrifice of style, nor a loss of comfort. The brand lives in the public space, it is communal, and delivers convenient services like 24/7 grab and go, a high-tech enabled environment (keyless entry and furiously fast and free WiFi) plus an amped up bar experience. Australia and New Zealand are fertile markets for such an offering and Marriott International has multiple opportunities under assessment for the Moxy brand.” -RICHARD CRAWFORD, Senior Director - Development, Australia, New Zealand, and South Pacific, Marriott International


“Next Hotels represents the next level of hospitality, one that appreciates the value of time for today’s travellers. Next Hotels has reimagined space, design and technology for the modern traveller. Free high-speed WiFi, a specially-designed DreamWave sleep system and an app to control everything in your room are just some of the ways we make your time count.” -TUSHAR RANIGA, Area Vice President, Business Development, Next Story Group


“Nobu is constantly evolving and we touch all types of customer. This is truly an exciting time for Nobu Hotels. Our brand is already well-established globally but staying in tune with our next generation of customer is at the forefront of our brand 43


Style: Kimpton La Peer in West Hollywood, California, USA

ethos. Fundamental to the brand is customer content. Content creates memorable experiences and Nobu’s intention is nothing less than to stir the industry with new and exciting product but more so it’s what our customer says about us that matters.” -TREVOR HORWELL, CEO, Nobu Hospitality Group


“Opting to draw inspiration from our unique urban backdrops, to establish distinct rhythms in service and experience, Sixty Hotels’ directive is quite simply to inspire and comfort our guests. No longer is a hotel just a bed, a bath, and a mini-bar. It is a way of life, emblematic of guests’ personal tastes. Our guests are true “artists-in-residence,” at home to make their experience their own canvas. In our carefully curated inns, lodgers-in-residence can expect a distinguished palette, artful service and comfort in every way.” -JASON POMERANC, Founder, Sixty Hotels


“Our total focus on the customer. Ovolo prides itself on always thinking first about the customer in every decision we make. That’s how our approach to all-inclusive hospitality was formed. It’s also how we put so much energy and thought into our carefully designed hotel rooms – it’s all about offering every comfort a guest needs and doesn’t even know they need when they stay with us.” -GIRISH JHUNJHNUWALA, Founder and CEO, Ovolo Group


“Public is a new genre of hotel offering great value, great service and great style that sets a new industry standard. I have taken the best from the luxury set, the best from the boutique/lifestyle set and the best from select service and created a new breed of hotel where everything has been rethought and every original idea updated. This brand is defined by the unique experience it creates rather than by a business classification or price.” -IAN SCHRAGER, Founder, Public Hotels 44 HM The Business of Accommodation


“Loved for its quirk and style, QT Hotels & Resorts has set a global standard as an experiential, design-led hotel brand. Each location’s identity is inspired by the surrounding environment, which ensures guests can immerse themselves in local customs and experience a sense of community. QT continually challenges the status quo, with landmark drinking and dining destinations and the celebration of creativity for all that stay, play and dine.” -RHYS JONES, General Manager Hotel Operations, QT Hotels and Resorts


“Radisson Red is a new hotel philosophy where lifestyle is the inspiration. Its design is bold and alive. It connects with an ageless mindset and sets expectations of an open, articulate and impeccably delivered experience.” -BARRY FLEISCHMANN, Director of Development – Australasia, Radisson Hotel Group


“SLS has created a new paradigm in the luxury hotel experience that resonates with a global audience. SLS has partnered with worldrenowned designer Philippe Starck, celebrated chefs José Andrés, Katsuya Uechi and Danny Elmaleh and creative renaissance men Matthew Rolston and Lenny Kravitz to create immersive design, dining and nightlife experiences within each hotel.” -SAM NAZARIAN, founder and CEO, sbe


“So Sofitel hotels are rebellious lifestyle hotels associated with famous architects and/or embellished by international celebrities from the world of fashion, design or art. Most recently, Karl Lagerfeld put his stamp on So Sofitel Singapore.” -LINDSAY LEESER, Vice President Development & Franchise AccorHotels Pacific










TFE Hotels is the only Australian hotel group with in-house end-to-end development solutions and a leading hotel operator with 100 hotels across Australia, New Zealand and Europe. We are positioned to deliver market-leading returns on your investment, with over 50 years experience and proven efficiencies across vital areas including technical services, architectural and interior design, procurement, asset management, IT, payroll, project management, centralised accounting and finance, sales, marketing, HR, revenue and distribution. We speak the language of owners and developers, offering clear solutions that add value at every stage. Contact our Development Team today: P: +61 2 8705 8438 E: E:

Development Lavish: Mondrian Doha, Qatar


“Earning a voice in some of the most exciting local scenes is Thompson’s passion and purpose, with a design-forward collection of boutique lifestyle hotels and resorts for those who do not think small. At Thompson you’re a resident, rather than a traveller. And because each property is absolutely a product of its environment, we contribute to our communities and count our neighbours among our guests by creating essential local destinations, from living room style lobbies to chef-driven restaurants and exceptional rooftop bars.” -TODD G. WYNNE-PARRY, Executive Vice President of Global Acquisitions & Development, Two Roads Hospitality


“The contemporary traveller no longer checks into a hotel, they check in to a destination, that’s why when we created Tribe, we re-evaluated the hotel model to prioritise the benefits they would want. We’ve focused on what matters so that we don’t pass on costs to our guests for the things that don’t, by paring back and refining our offering and using cost effective and smart modular construction we’re able to share significant savings with our guests, making Tribe an aspirational space at an accessible price.” -MARK PETERS, Founder, Tribe Hotels


“Today, the customer is seeking something other than a hotel room, they are seeking an experience in a location that enables them to access the best that a city or destination has to offer. A lifestyle hotel is primarily located in a destination that can offer this. Another factor is that the focus is more on the facilities on offer at the hotel, such as restaurants and unique features, like the rooftop bar or Library meeting room you’ll find at Tryp Fortitude Valley Hotel.” -DAVID WRAY, Senior Director Acquisitions and Business Development - South East Asia and Pacific Rim, Wyndham Hotel Group


“Veriu Hotels and Suites are inspired by the authenticity of local experiences combined with the convenience of traditional hotel service 46 HM The Business of Accommodation

and excellence. Veriu Hotels provide both traditional style hotel rooms as well studio, one bedroom and two bedroom apartments incorporating interior design in keeping with local surroundings.” -ALEX THORPE & RHYS WILLIAMS, Founders, Veriu Hotels and Suites


“From the moment you walk into a Vibe Hotel, into a living lobby where you are greeted by a host sharing local experiences, you’ll feel that these are lifestyle hotels designed to connect guests to their work, their loved ones, their fellow guests and the local area. Each has inspired interior design in bright rooms and cool communal areas where you might listen to a Ted Talk or do a skype conference, as well as menus with fresh and local produce plus wellness options including an in-room yoga channel.” -RACHEL ARGAMAN, Chief Executive Officer, TFE Hotels


“It’s been a long-held dream to [offer] beautiful, comfortable, fun hotels for guests and give them what they want and need while being gentle on their wallets.” -SIR RICHARD BRANSON, Virgin Group Founder


“Born from the bold attitude and 24/7 culture of New York City, W Hotels has disrupted and redefined the hospitality scene for nearly two decades. Trailblazing its way around the globe, with over 50 hotels, W Hotels defies expectations and breaks the norms of traditional luxury wherever the iconic W sign lands. With a mission to fuel guests’ lust for life, W ignites an obsessive desire to soak it in, live it up and hit repeat. The brand’s provocative design, iconic Whatever/Whenever service and buzzing Living Rooms create an experience that is often copied but never matched. Innovative, inspiring and infectious, the brand’s super-charged energy celebrates guests’ endless appetite to discover what’s new/next in each destination, to see more, feel more, go longer, stay later.” -ANTHONY INGHAM, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide n

We imagine your future


As a market leader in hospitality worldwide and the number one hotel operator in Australia and New Zealand, AccorHotels possesses exclusive expertise to optimise performance, generate differentiation and reinvent the hotel business sustainably. With more than 4,200 hotels in 95 countries, there is no better time for owners to join an international hospitality group of the size, quality and experience of AccorHotels. To find out more, contact, or visit

Food and beverage

Room service that rocks In-room dining has taken a star turn. EMMA CASTLE investigates the latest trends that will make your guests feel like Jay-Z and Beyonce.


hile club sandwiches are the global benchmark for room service, there’s a whole lot more on the menu at some of the world’s leading hotels. Read on for some of the more creative aspects of the in-room revolution.


Every room at the new InterContinental Singapore Robertson Quay features a custom pull-out bar designed by renowned architects SCDA, with a personal cocktail kit designed by the award-winning bar gurus from Proof & Co (the team behind Asia’s no. 1 bar, Manhattan). The cocktail kit includes everything you need to make cocktail favourites, (including the olives for a martini). Cheers to that.


Caesars Palace has an exclusive in-room dining menu for its Nobu hotel guests. Be prepared to be tempted by avocado rolls, veggie tempura and seaweed salad in your pyjamas. You can also order a Japanese-style bento box for breakfast. In town celebrating? Guests at the Nobu penthouse or villa can have their very own personal sushi chef or bartender.


At Delano Las Vegas, not only will your doggie receive complimentary organic cookies upon check-in, the hotel also offers a special doggie room service menu with fun names like Fowl Play or Pooch Patty.


Shangri-La Sydney now offers dishes by their celebrity executive pastry chef, Anna Polyviou. The new dishes include Aussie classics such as pavlova roulade, tropical cheesecake, chocolate lamington tart and ice cream tubs in the flavour of the week.


Capri by Fraser, Brisbane, have their own ‘DIY Nespresso Martini Kit’ for their guests. Guests receive them on their 10th stay at the property or they can be specially requested. You receive a Kahlua shot, Absolut Vodka shot, Nespresso pod (all rooms have a machine), cocktail shaker and coffee beans to decorate.


Quest Apartment Hotels has commenced a strategic partnership with Deliveroo as their in-room dining experience provider at 12 of their properties. Deliveroo’s wide variety of partners means guests will be treated to some of their favourite venues, including Grease Monkeys (ACT), Bondi Pizza, Nandos, Zambrero, Boss Burger (Geelong), 8Bit (VIC), Ribs & Burgers (WA). n 48 HM The Business of Accommodation

Human Resources Crystalbrook Collection has strengthened its leadership team

Crystalbrook Collection

strengthens leadership team CRYSTALBROOK COLLECTION has made four key appointments as the hotel group continues to strengthen its leadership team.


rystalbrook Collection has appointed Neil Patmore as its Chief Financial Officer overseeing the company’s planned AUD$1 billion investment in Australia. Neil joins Crystalbrook Collection following an extensive career in the United Kingdom, USA, Australia and New Zealand. Most recently Neil was the Senior Regional Finance Director, Australasia for Hilton Worldwide. Speaking on his appointment, Patmore said: “Crystalbrook Collection has a great future. It’s a unique and exciting opportunity to work alongside like-minded individuals passionate about creating a new brand that will challenge the status quo within the hospitality world.” Patmore will be based at Crystalbrook Collection’s head office in Sydney overseeing teams in Sydney, Cairns and Port Douglas.

Eddie Ross has been appointed Food and Beverage Manager across the first three Crystalbrook Collection hotels located in Cairns. Ross brings a wealth of experience in the hospitality and tourism industry acquired working throughout Australia and New Zealand. Most recently he managed a staff of 350 where he was responsible formulating and implementing strategies for growth. Commenting on his appointment, Ross said: “We’ve got very strong restaurant concepts and I’m looking forward to opening these and making our mark on the Australian culinary scene.” Hospitality veteran Luis Rodrigo (Rod) Zamora has been appointed Executive Chef overseeing the group’s hotel portfolio in Cairns. Zamora is a seasoned culinary professional with more than 20 years’ hospitality experience working throughout London, Netherlands,

On the move QT Sydney has welcomed Executive Chef GRANT KING. Previously executive chef at Pier Restaurant and more recently owner and chef at Gastro Park and The Antipodean Restaurant, King will be overseeing the food offering across all dining outlets at hotel, with an initial focus on signature restaurant Gowings Bar and Grill. King brings with him several notable accolades, with the most recent being named the Gault Millau chef of the year for 2017. He plans to inject his produce-driven culinary philosophy into all outlets at QT Sydney, evolving all menus through the concept of garden, earth and ocean.


Ovolo Hotels has appointed STEPHEN HOWARD as Director of Marketing, following nearly six years at Event Hospitality and Entertainment where he led their communications as Group Public Relations Director. Howard brings more than 15 years of experience across marketing and communications to his new role at Ovolo Hotels, which also includes five years at Hyundai Motor Company Australia.

Ovolo has also created two new roles within its Australian operation including General Manager Brand Experience and Director of Operations Australia. AMANDA COTTOME takes on the role of GM Brand Experience alongside

Malaysia, Thailand, Maldives and Australia. Most recently he held the position of Executive Chef with Hilton Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia. “Having worked abroad for so many years I’m excited to be back in Australia and working with the extensive array of fantastic local produce we have here,” Zamora said. George Beeby joins Crystalbrook Collection as the newly appointed Director of Sales across the three hotel developments in Cairns. Beeby brings over a decade’s experience in sales and business development to the role. George previously held senior sales positions with both Starwood/Marriott International and Accor Hotels. Speaking on his appointment, Beeby said: “I’m excited about Crystalbrook Collection’s vision and look forward to redefining Cairns as the go-to destination for luxury leisure.” n

HM looks at some of the key industry appointments in Asia-Pacific. her current responsibilities as General Manager of Ovolo 1888. In this role Cottome will take on the strategic brand experience lead for Ovolo Hotels Australia ensuring the delivery on the brand philosophies through both the guest and team experiences. KIERAN AC KE ERASMUSON has been appointed Director of Operations, Australia. Erasmuson joins Ovolo following more than seven years’ experience at Event Hospitality and Entertainment having worked on a number of developments for their hotel businesses, predominantly working on QT Hotels and Resorts across operations and food and beverage in Australia.


Pan Pacific Hotels Group has appointed ROB WEEDEN as General Manager of Pan Pacific Perth, who joins from Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts where he was Vice President, Sales and Marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa. Weeden also held General Manager roles at Shangri-La Hotel Cairns and Traders Hotel Kuala Lumpur, before moving to Dubai in 2012. 49

Concierge Corner

Skycity’s Shaun Ryan HM catches up with SHAUN RYAN, Les Clefs d’Or Zone Director South East Asia and Oceania and Chief Concierge at Skycity Hotel Auckland. Interview by Peter McBrearty How long have you been a Concierge for and can you describe the path you have travelled to your current position at Skycity Auckland?

I have now been a Concierge for 19 years. My career initially began as a Porter at CityLife Hotel Auckland, learning the ropes from my Chief Concierge David Smithson. After 3 years I took over from David when he left to open the Spencer on Byron Hotel in Takapuna. 2.5-years later I was enticed by the excitement and big lights of Skycity. Not only is it an exciting place to work, but it also has an established history of supporting Les Clefs d’Or Concierge and (perhaps not surprisingly) having top quality Concierge working for them. I worked for two years at the Skycity Grand Hotel with former Les Clefs d’Or Member Jay Huggett, prior to taking on my current role at Skycity Hotel where I’ve been for 11 years.

Have you had a particular role model in your own career as a professional Concierge?

As a young Porter and later on as a Concierge, I always looked up to Mr Derek Fenn. Derek was the Founding President of Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand, as well as the Chief Concierge at Skycity. Derek opened both Skycity Hotel and Skycity Grand Hotels and was instrumental in growing the Concierge role and Concierge Society in both Auckland and New Zealand as a whole. There have been several others I have also looked up to and learnt from, but for me Derek Fenn was the person who really inspired me.

You are currently the Les Clefs d’Or Zone Director South East Asia and Oceania, a newly created Zone to allow for the expanded number of member countries within UICH Les Clefs d’Or, and now encompassing not only Australia and New Zealand, but also Japan, Thailand, The Philippines, Malaysia, and Singapore. Do you feel this new official relationship with and communication between our regional sections will in turn foster an increased degree of communication between our members, and thereby also 50 HM The Business of Accommodation

proportionally increase our ability to enhance the experiences of our guests both at, and as they travel between our respective properties?

In years to come Les Clefs d’Or Concierge in both New Zealand and Australia will have the opportunity to meet Concierge from other SEAO countries enabling them to broaden their network of contacts. A Concierge’s best tool is their network of contacts, so the bigger and stronger that network is, the more magic they can create for their respective guests. Concierge will not only be able to meet with other Concierge at the annual International Congress, but also at the Asian Congress. Singapore will host the next Asian Congress in 2019, which should not be missed.

The next Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand AGM will be held in early June in Christchurch, and is testament to the drive of the local Kiwi Les Clefs d’Or members and their wish to showcase the attractions of Christchurch and its surrounds as it rebuilds from the 2011 earthquake. Are you encouraged to see the hotel and tourism industry in Christchurch reach the point were it has seen the return of properties with Les Clefs d’Or members?

It’s been a long seven years but you get the feeling that Christchurch is really starting to come back. Prior to the quake there were five Les Clefs d’Or Concierge based in Christchurch. Sadly many had to relocate as their hotels closed. Up until 3 years ago there were no Concierge, but now hotels are starting to return (The Millenium just reopened in March), and Christchurch now has three Les Clefs d’Or Concierge. I can’t wait to visit Christchurch again and see what’s new.

In your expert opinion as the Chief Concierge of a major Auckland hotel, the former President of Les Clefs d’Or NZ, and the current Zone Director SEAO – any chance at all of the Wallabies taking the Bledisloe Cup home any time soon?

The All Blacks have dominated the Wobblies in recent years and pretty much everyone else to be fair, I can’t see that is going to change anytime soon. n

Peter McBrearty, Les Clefs d’Or Summer on the East Coast saw exceptionally high hotel occupancies, and the major events, cruise ships and higher proportion of leisure guests meant a blizzard of guest requests ensured our members were kept on their toes to a degree that might have impressed a prima ballerina. Despite the approach of Autumn, occupancy levels remain high, and our guests and their needs both remain in abundance. We were all sorry to farewell Nick Fisher who has departed the Palazzo Versace for a position in the corporate world, and also Paul Mclean of The Emporium Brisbane, who has recently moved to Mexico to take up a Concierge role at a new beachside property and to join his fiancée – a member of Les Clefs d’Or Mexico. As this is the second instance of one of our Queensland members marrying an overseas member met at a UICH Congress (the first being Yuki Kimura of the Marriott Brisbane, who married a member of Les Clefs d’Or Great Britain and now a London Concierge), we may possibly have to consider banning them from these oversees networking events! Happily though, in the interests of equilibrium we have also welcomed a new addition to the Les Clefs d’Or family, with Lance Birkett of The Park Royal Darling Harbour recently announcing the arrival of baby Rafael Birkett - who we calculate should be ready for his Les Clefs d’Or interview in only 18 years or so. Victorian members recently held the Les Clefs d’Or Golf Day, an event which not only provided a networking opportunity with our tourism industry associates, but also raised $1,000 for our charity Bayley House. The next event on the Les Clefs d’Or calendar will be the UICH Les Clefs d’Or Congress in Seoul April 5th-10th. Not only will this be a wonderful opportunity for our members worldwide to experience the culture and hospitality of Korea, but also to strengthen the essential network of international contacts which is so vital to our role as professional Concierge. The educational symposium will include presentations by renowned industry figures including Gareth Long, Director of Operations Support, Australasia and Japan IHG, and Jerry Inzerillo, CEO Forbes Travel Guide, with a focus on the challenges of and how to best utilize the technical innovations impacting the hospitality industry. In June our Australian Executive will be joining our Kiwi compatriots for the Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand AGM, and it was genuinely wonderful to hear that this year the AGM will be held in Christchurch, following a period of recovery and reconstruction after the devastating 2011 earthquake. In recent times we have seen the return of two Les Clefs d’Or Members to hotels in Christchurch, a definite sign that the hospitality and tourism industry is well and truly at the point where visitors are again factoring this wonderful city into their New Zealand itinerary. We will then be holding our Australian AGM at The Langham Melbourne in early July. Peter McBrearty is President of Les Clefs d’Or Australia and Chief Concierge at The Langham, Melbourne

1st May 2018 Grand Hyatt Melbourne


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The 2018 line up also includes: • Dugal Mackie, STAR • Bruce Ramus, Ramus Illumination • Francis Loughran, Future Food • Paul Wiste, Design Assembly • Angela Biddle, Scott Carver • Jonathan Conroy, WMK • Richard Crawford, Marriott • Lucia Grambalova, Mulpha • Dave Baswal, Ovolo Hotels • And more Platinum Sponsors

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