HM April 2022

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Leadership rules Your essential guide to AHICE and Design Inn 2022



ICONIC LUXURY With Paul Hutton at the helm, Hilton embarks on a new chapter of luxury growth, underpinned by the signing of the first Waldorf Astoria in Australasia.

HOT THIS MONTH: Education and training, hotel room refurbs, security, property management and more

Foxtel’s Business iQ Help make your guests’ stay more memorable

With Foxtel’s Business iQ, you not only provide a world of entertainment to your guests, you can also give them access to a portal to help them make the most of their stay. Our highly customisable interface enables you to inform guests about your facilities and services as well as provide useful information on local events and attractions. You can also send messages directly to your guests, ensuring they never miss out on happy hour at the lobby bar or the latest offer at the spa.


User Interface customisation

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Digital Concierge Guest messaging

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PMS integration Digital Signage

Blockbuster movies

Award-winning drama

Help your guests plan ahead with restaurant bookings Now more than ever with capacity caps it’s important to make finding and booking your hotel’s facilities and services easy. The Business iQ can assist your guests to plan ahead and avoid disappointment. Just one thing you can do to make it easier for your guests so they can enjoy their stay.

With QR codes being so popular now, we are now also making use of them via the entertainment platform. By loading artwork, including a QR code via the hotel information tabs, we can now almost link any information between the entertainment system and our guests. From links to our website, to video content to our social media channels.” Peter Tudehope | GM,


Included when you take the Enterprise technology pack. *90+ channels are included when you take the Content Warehouse and Movie Vault add-on pack.^Movies included when you take the Movie Vault add-on pack. Some channels not available in public viewing areas. This product is available to Foxtel Business subscribers only. Requires purchase of 100% of screens within the site. Requires internet connection. Availability of particular titles may vary. Foxtel marks are used under licence by Foxtel Management Pty Ltd, ACN 068 671 938, 5 Thomas Holt Drive, North Ryde NSW 2113. Bluey: Bluey TM and Bluey characters logo TM & © Ludo Studio Pty Ltd 2018. Free Guy: © 2021 20th Century Studios & TSG Entertainment Finance LLC. All Rights Reserved. Succession: 2021 © Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO and all related service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc. The Dry: © 2020 The Dry Film Holdings Pty Ltd and Screen Australia. All Rights Reserved. The Little Things: © 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Friends: FRIENDS © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Superintelligence: © 2019 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. and BRON Creative USA, Corp. Guilt: © Expectation/Happy Tramp North 2021. Wonder Woman 1984 (M): © 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Wonder Woman and all related characters and elements TM & © DC. Gossip Girl: © 2020 WarnerMedia Direct, LLC. All Rights Reserved. HBO Max™ is used under license. DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: © and TM DC © Warner Bros. Ent. Inc. PAW Patrol: © 2019 Spin Master PAW Productions Inc. © 2019 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Office: © 2007 NBC Studios, Inc. and Universal Network Television LLC. All Rights Reserved. Killing Escobar: © 2021 101 Films. BUS0586

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THE BIAS 24 BREAK Women in the hotel industry talk candidly

about their career journeys, advice for those starting out, and their views on how to promote gender equity in the workplace.


Vol. 26 No.2

HE NEXT CHAPTER 30 TPro-invest is ramping up Australasian investment through a joint venture with Next Story Group.

LIKE A LOCAL 34 LIVING Inside the smart, considered design of Aiden Darling Harbour.

PREVIEW 40 AHICE What to expect from AHICE and Design Inn 2022. UPGRADES 44 ROOM Leading hotel brands, GMs and suppliers share their top picks for hotel rooms this year.

APPROACH 52 BOUTIQUE Industry leaders discuss development of boutique and soft brands.

AND GREEN 62 CLEAN Hotels ramp up sustainability efforts to deliver economic and environmental benefits.

STREAMERS 65 SMART How hotels are adapting to guests’

demands for quality in-room tech.

36 44

Sydney’s Surry Hills welcomes boutique hotel Ace this autumn Discover the top trending items in hotel rooms in 2022





Hotels invest in air purification technology. Key trends in hotel room refurbishment.

78 RISE TO THE TOP How Event Hospitality is upskilling emerging leaders.

HM Q&A 5 MINUTES WITH SARAH DERRY 20 1Accor Pacific's Chief Executive discusses the company’s strategy for growth.




SUPPLIER – HOTEL INTERIORS Founder Dennis Clark shares key trends in hotel design and interiors.

Vol.26 No.2 Bi-monthly April 2022

Regulars DITOR-IN-CHIEF'S LETTER 06 EJames Wilkinson looks ahead to

Leadership rules Your essential guide to AHICE and Design Inn 2022


AHICE and Design Inn 2022.



DITOR’S LETTER 08 ERuth Hogan recounts her first few

With Paul Hutton at the helm, Hilton embarks on a new chapter of luxury growth, underpinned by the signing of the first Waldorf Astoria in Australasia.

months in the industry.

HOT THIS MONTH: Education and training, hotel room refurbs, security, property management and more

On the cover

Hilton embarks on a new chapter of luxury growth, signing the first Waldorf Astoria in Australasia.

52 Leading development experts discuss evolution of soft and boutique brands

TO KNOW 10 NEED The essential stories you need to know this month.



Presented this month by Hilton.



Gearing up for AHICE 2022


n just a few weeks’ time, over 1100 leading hotel industry executives from across Australasia, Asia and the world will descend on Adelaide for the 2022 Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE). It’s shaping up to be a sensational week in Adelaide, with three major events that will feature more than 140 speakers (including several CEOs from Europe, the United States and Asia), and over 50 keynotes, panels and Q&A sessions, alongside a new gala welcome event that will put networking on another level. What’s truly exciting for this year for me is the return of so many global CEOs to the event speaking in person, on the stage in the ballroom at SkyCity Adelaide and across the road at the Adelaide Oval. Confirmed global speakers in person include IHG CEO – EMEAA, Kenneth Macpherson from London; Outrigger CEO Jeff Wagoner from Honolulu; Hilton President – Asia Pacific Alan Watts from Singapore; Marriott International President - Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Rajeev Menon from Singapore; Far East Hospitality CEO, Arthur Kiong from Singapore and Pro-invest Group Co-Founders Ronald Barrott and Dr Sabine Schaffer from Dubai and London. I’m also very happy we still also have some global live-crosses to some of the world’s leading executives again in 2022, including Accor Chairman and CEO, Sébastien Bazin in Paris; Marriott International’s Group President and Managing Director – International, Craig S Smith in Washington DC; Radisson Hotel Group President – Asia Pacific, Katerina Giannouka in Singapore; Wyndham Hotels and Resorts President – Asia Pacific, Joon Aun Ooi in Shanghai and Ovolo Hotels Founder Girish Jhunjhnuwala in Hong Kong. Several global CEOs will also be speaking at our all-new event, the Future Leaders Forum, which will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday May 3. This new under 35s leadership summit features the industry’s brightest stars with keynote addresses and think tank sessions spanning higher learning to owners’ forums and rising the ranks. I’m excited we have been able to launch the Future Leaders Forum with the support of hotel chains and owners alike, alongside, at Design Inn 2022, our all-new HM magazine AustralasiaPacific Hotel Design Awards. The awards include recognition for the best new-build, conversion and refurbishment projects, plus an overall winner, which will take out the 2022 Paul Davis Design Award (the hotel industry’s most important design award). Enjoy our latest issue of HM and I look forward to your feedback as always and hopefully see you at AHICE 2022. It’s shaping up to be a sensational week at AHICE 2022 with more than 140 speakers, and Yours in hospitality, over 50 keynotes, panels and Q&A sessions

The HM global hot list Hotels around the world capturing our attention this month.

ONE: The Beverly Hills Hotel, California @bevhillshotel

TWO: W Melbourne, Victoria @wmelbourne

THREE: Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort, Hawaii @outriggerreef

James Wilkinson Editor–In–Chief

FOUR: The Ritz, London, England @theritzlondon

Accor Chairman and CEO, Sébastien Bazin, is among the global leaders that will speak through a live-cross at AHICE 6

HM The Business of Accommodation

THAT’S A PLUS Hostplus Indexed Balanced

HOSTPLUS INDEXED BALANCED OPTION AWARDED BEST OF THE BEST 2022. More Hostplus members are choosing our Indexed Balanced option for its investment fee of just 0.06%, a low admin fee and consistent 7-year return of 8.49% p.a.* *SuperRatings Fund Crediting Rate Survey – Balanced (60-76), 30 June 2021. Money magazine has awarded Hostplus Best Value Balanced Super Product as judged based on the lowest priced balanced superannuation products where fees are those that apply to balances of $10,000 and $50,000. Money magazine does not issue, sell, guarantee, or underwrite this product. Go to for details of this criteria. Awards and ratings are only one factor to be taken into account when choosing a super fund. Host-Plus Pty Limited ABN 79 008 634 704, AFSL 244392 as trustee for the Hostplus Superannuation Fund (the Fund) ABN 68 657 495 890, MySuper No 68 657 495 890 198. This information is general advice only and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider if this information is appropriate for you in light of your circumstances before acting on it. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance and should never be the sole factor considered when selecting a superannuation fund. Please read the relevant Hostplus Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and Target Market Determination (TMD), available at before making a decision about Hostplus. HP1964


Chapter One


Managing Director

ince stepping into this role, over two months ago, I have fully immersed myself in the world of hotels. And in that time, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of the wonderful people that make this industry tick, from PRs to GMs, hotel owners, CEOs and industry associations. I’ve been so impressed by recent hotel openings, including the beautiful and pet-friendly Kimpton Margot Sydney (more on that in development on p52), and buoyed by seeing two industry associations, Tourism Accommodation Australia and Accommodation Association of Australia, come together to achieve better outcomes for the industry. At a recent Australian Society of Travel Writers lunch at The Cidery Bar and Kitchen, Rydges World Square Sydney, I even had the good fortune to win a sample from the very first batch of Two Doctors’ single malt whiskey by Dr Jerry Schwartz and Prof John Raskoand. What has struck me most over the last two months is the optimism and confidence within the industry. And for good reason. Borders are open (almost there New Zealand!), people are getting back in the sky and into hotel rooms — travelling for business and leisure, visiting family and friends, and even venturing overseas for a long-awaited break — quarantine hotels are reopening to the public, and there’s a strong sense that 2022 signals a new chapter for the industry. Personally, I’m so excited to see major global brands investing in Australasia. With Ace Hotel Group soon to open its very first hotel in the region and Hilton’s notable signing of Waldorf Astoria Sydney. On page 22, the team at Hilton share what we can expect from this iconic luxury brand when it debuts in Australia in 2025. Meanwhile, the countdown is on to our biggest event of the year, AHICE 2022. Taking place in Adelaide on May 3-5, AHICE and Design Inn 2022 promise an incredible lineup of global and local speakers, including leading CEOs from Accor, IHG, Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, TFE, Wyndham, Crown and more, and I hope to see you there. Until then, enjoy reading.

Ruth Hogan Editor

Kimpton Margot Sydney



HM The Business of Accommodation


James Wells


James Wilkinson


Ruth Hogan

Group Commercial Manager

Tara Ducrou

Production Manager Jacqui Cooper

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Ovolo Founder and Executive Chairman Girish Jhunjhnuwala alongside new CEO Dave Baswal 01

Ovolo promotes Dave Baswal to CEO Founder Girish Jhunjhnuwala will now focus on Ovolo’s strategic growth and development.

OVOLO HOTELS FOUNDER and Executive Chairman Girish Jhunjhnuwala has stepped back from the position of Chief Executive Officer to focus on the branding, development, and strategic growth of the business. Ovolo’s Managing Director ANZ, Dave Baswal, has been promoted to lead the business as CEO. Baswal has 20 years’ experience in hospitality, finance and real estate management, and has played a significant role in the company’s growth during the pandemic. “Dave Baswal personifies the very best of Ovolo – someone with the passion to 10

HM The Business of Accommodation

constantly improve the guest experience; the creativity to innovate new services; and the business acumen to deliver strong performance,” said Jhunjhnuwala. “Most importantly, he shares the same people-centric ethos that is at the very heart of Ovolo, delivering happiness to our guests, our teams, and our stakeholders.” He takes up the role as the company pushes forward with recovery and explores expansion opportunities across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the US. “I am honoured to lead this amazing group

and to take Ovolo into its next phase at a time of enormous opportunity,” Baswal said. Jhunjhnuwala said he is excited to explore opportunities to take the Ovolo experience to more travellers globally. “I started my journey in real estate 20 years ago and launched Ovolo Hotels in 2010, and this is the perfect time to evolve the group under a reinvigorated leadership,” he said. “Dave has the trust of myself and our stakeholders, and his promotion will create new opportunities for the rest of our team. I am excited for what the future holds.”



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Crystalbrook Collection is leading the way on sustainability

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Hilton to bring Garden Inn to Brisbane The 129-room Brisbane hotel will appeal to leisure and business travellers.

HILTON IS SET to introduce the Garden Inn hotel brand to Brisbane in early 2024 following the signing of Hilton Garden Inn Brisbane City Centre North in partnership with Spring Hill Property Group Pty Ltd. Construction is expected to start this year on the 129-room hotel, which is the fifth Hilton Garden Inn hotel in the pipeline for Australasia. “We believe that Hilton Garden Inn Brisbane City Centre North will be extremely well-received for both leisure and business travellers alike, with just the right amenities for guests seeking to maximise the value of their stay in Brisbane,” Hilton Director of Development, Australasia, Tushar Raniga, told HM exclusively. The property, located 13 kilometres from the Brisbane Airport, will be designed by Hayes Anderson Lynch Architects and will offer 129 guest rooms, a full-service restaurant and bar, meeting facilities, fitness room, and 24-hour grab-and-go retail store, The Shop.


Qantas teams up with Crystalbrook on green scheme

All 436 guest rooms at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth have been revamped

Crystalbrook’s sustainability credentials have been recognised by the airline. AUSTRALIAN AIRLINE QANTAS has included all seven of Crystalbrook Collection’s hotels and resorts in its new Green Tier Frequent Flyer program. The Green Tier loyalty program rewards travellers for making sustainable choices, such as booking with a Qantas eco-accredited hotel. When travellers complete five out of the six sustainability categories, they can access exclusive offers. Crystalbrook is one of Australia’s leading sustainable independent hospitality companies, and is the only hotel brand which has all of its properties featured as eco-friendly hotels. The company’s sustainability initiatives include reducing paper through the use of technology, using recycled and upcycled materials for items such as key cards and clothes hangers, farming its own beef, sourcing at least 80% of produce from within a three-hour drive of each hotel, and omitting singleuse plastic from its hotels.


Sofitel reopens with a refresh

After two years, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth reopens to the public with a new look. FRENCH LUXURY HOTEL Sofitel Sydney Wentworth has reopened to the public after two years with a new look to entice guests back. The 5-star hotel has refreshed its 436 rooms in line with its ‘Live the French Way’ concept, with each featuring new Sofitel MyBed mattresses, new linen, pillows and soft furnishings. Bath amenities have also been upgraded to new sustainable products from French fashion house Balmain Paris. The hotel corridors, conference and event spaces have all undergone a transformation, with new audio and visual technology, carpets

and wall fabric. “The entire Sofitel Sydney Wentworth team is thrilled and excited to be welcoming guests back into our beautiful hotel, especially at a time when Australia’s borders have reopened,” said Sofitel Sydney Wentworth General Manager, Sam Panetta. “We are incredibly proud of our teams and what they have achieved over the last 24-months, and we now have some wonderful changes to showcase as we welcome guests back and we can’t wait to have travellers rediscover our award-winning hotel.”



DESIGNED WITH GUESTS AND EMPLOYEES WELLBEING IN MIND Engineered to solve the problems that others ignore, Dyson’s pioneering technologies can enhance guest experience and improve wellbeing.

The Dyson HEPA Cool Formaldehyde Purifier can project purified air to every corner of the room


rom intelligent air purifiers that create cleaner spaces and cordless vacuums offering powerful suction and consistent high performance cleaning, to styling tools that prioritise hair health and Dyson Airblade technologies that dry hands in a fast and hygienic way, Dyson products are built to last and deliver long-term value.

Next Hotel Melbourne General Manager, David Ness, said: “Guests tell us that it is super convenient that they have Dyson Supersonic hair dryers in their rooms, so they don’t need to pack their own. Others who haven’t experienced Dyson are excited by the opportunity to enjoy the premium experience.”



Engineered for different hair types, the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer is powerful and fast. The tool uses a fast but focused airflow, is engineered for balance in the hand, is quieter than others and intelligently controls the temperature to help protect hair from extreme heat damage. Unlike many other traditional hair dryers, the Dyson Supersonic measures air temperature over 40 times each second to regulate temperature output. This prevents extreme heat damage to help protect hair’s shine. Suitable for all hair types, the Dyson Corrale straightener uses patented Dyson flexing copper plates that shape to gather hair delivering enhanced styling with less hair damage. Using a platinum sensor, the temperature is regulated 100 times a second. This technology communicates with a microprocessor which in turn controls the heating system to deliver precise, accurate heat, making it the perfect tool for guests who want to care for their hair by reducing heat damage without compromising on style. Combined with Dyson’s 4-cell lithium-ion battery technology, the Dyson Corrale straightener also delivers cordless performance to achieve smooth, shiny results and outstanding style anywhere, at any time – quicker. The Ritz-Carlton Perth General Manager, Dario Orsini, said: “Dyson marries sleek design and functionality. The Ritz–Carlton Perth is a design led hotel that showcases the beauty of Perth and Western Australia and makes it a perfect partnership. The Dyson Supersonic hair dryers leave your hair smoother and healthier and is an experience in itself.” 12

HM The Business of Accommodation

Engineered for hotel spaces, the new Dyson HEPA Cool Formaldehyde Purifier ensures a cleaner, more comfortable environment for your guests. With all new solid-state formaldehyde sensing and sealed HEPA 13 standard filtration, Dyson’s latest purifier captures ultrafine dust and allergens, captures gases and now even destroys formaldehyde continuously at a molecular level. Using Dyson Air Multiplier technology, the machine can project purified air to every corner of the room. Auto mode enables you or your guests to maintain a preferred room temperature and air quality levels, while the purifier can be entirely controlled by the Dyson Link App and activated by voice control. Professor of Global Environmental Health at Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Population Health, Sotiris Vardoulakis, said: “Air purifiers with formaldehyde sensors and sealed HEPA 13 standard filtration, when appropriately used, can reduce exposure to formaldehyde and significantly improve indoor air quality.” Accor Pacific Vice President Operations NSW/VIC, Scott Boyes, said: “We invest heavily in air handling units to deliver the best possible air quality to our guests. Dyson is a wonderful partner and addition to enhancing air quality in hotels.” Next Hotel Melbourne General Manager, David Ness, said: “Our guests are increasingly concerned with air quality and the importance of breathing clean air so we are looking at adding more Dyson purifiers to our hotel in the future.”



l ta To

Helping to create healthier hotels, the Dyson V15 Detect is the most powerful, intelligent cordless vacuum, capable of detecting, removing, sizing and counting microscopic dust for scientific proof of a deep clean in your hotel. Engineered to detect hidden dust as small as 10 microns, laser dust detection illuminates dust particles invisible to the eye with a preciselyangled green laser integrated into a fluffy cleaner head – so you don’t miss a thing. Acoustic Dust Sensing provides reassurance that you have deep cleaned. The LCD screen shows the size and number of particles, displaying real-time scientific proof of a deep clean by counting and measuring microscopic dust particles with a piezo sensor which automatically increases suction power across different floors types and dust amounts. Dyson cord-free machines endeavour to provide owners with powerful suction as well as consistent high performance cleaning, including no loss of suction, fade-free battery through one discharge and fully-sealed filtration that traps microscopic particles such as pollen, dust and bacteria. Dyson’s High Torque cleaner head powerfully sucks up dust and hair from all floor types, while a Hyperdymium motor generates powerful suction and five-stage filtration, capturing 99.99% of dust particles down to 0.3 microns for a deep clean. An advanced seven-cell battery delivers up to 60 minutes of fade free power. With an optional click-in battery, you can now extend run time to 120 minutes, meaning longer and deep cleans are easier to complete. Ibis World Square Sydney The Dyson V15 General Manager, Michelle De te ct Taylor, said: “Our rooms are cleaner. We no

an Cle The Dyson Supersonic hair dryer and Dyson Corrale straightener

The Dyson Supersonic and Airblade V Hand Dryer at Autograph Collection Pier One Sydney longer spend wasted time running the vacuums over and over due to the incredible suction. On an OH&S level, our staff have found they no longer suffer back pain from bending as the Dyson allows a walking posture when vacuuming. A cordless vacuum saves time and the staff are able to move freely and get into difficult areas.” Chief Engineer and Dyson Founder, James Dyson, said: “As engineers, our job is to solve daily problems, and the past 12 months have created plenty of new ones with more time spent indoors. Removing visible dust isn’t enough, so we’ve pioneered intelligent vacuums that detect and remove microscopic particles, reporting results back in real time. We are empowering people to breathe pure air and enjoy hygienic spaces, taking back control of their indoor environment.”


At a time when hygiene is of paramount importance, it’s vital that hotels provide peace of mind for guests and staff alike. Using Dyson Airblade hand dryer technology is one way to ensure your guests’ hands are dried quickly and hygienically in hotel washrooms, with studies showing they reduce bacteria transmission by up to 40%. Dyson Airblade hand dryers have a dry time of 10-14 seconds and feature touch-free technology, which helps prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. All have HEPA filters installed as standard, which allows them to capture 99.95% of particles including bacteria and viruses. This is also a more sustainable way to dry hands hygienically, using up to 85% less CO2 emissions than single-use paper towels which create waste that often ends up in landfills. Next Hotel Melbourne General Manager, David Ness, said: “We are so excited to partner with a pioneering technology company that really complements our direction in style, ease of use and quality while helping to maintain healthy spaces, which is more important than ever.” Autograph Collection Pier One Sydney General Manager, Kim Mahaffy, said: “We think a lot about how our guest experience looks and feels from start to finish. We feel the match between Dyson and Pier One is ideal.” n To find out how Dyson’s pioneering technology can enhance your guest experience, contact Aimi McEwen at



An artist’s impression of Marriott Executive Apartments Melbourne


Marriott to bring Executive Apartments to Australia The hotel group has signed an agreement with Melbourne’s Sunnyland Investment Group.

Green shoots appear

By Michael Johnson CEO, Tourism Accommodation Australia

JUST WHEN THE economic sunshine seemed to break through for accommodation hotels across the eastern seaboard, the literal storm clouds gathered once again. Large parts of NSW and South-East Queensland have faced unprecedented flooding that will take years to fully recover from. The flooding has particularly devastated popular tourist areas on the NSW north coast and border areas of Queensland. Members in this part of country have gone one step forward and two steps back since late 2019. Away from the flood zone we are seeing green shoots appearing for the industry as a whole. The Western Australia hard border has lifted and after two long years we are finally one country again. The worst of the Omicron wave seems to have passed and restrictions on our trade are at the lowest levels nationwide since the pandemic began. Business is retuning in major CBDs across the country, and we are starting to see a slow rise in corporate and event business, along with the return of muchneeded working holiday makers and international students. Members are reporting good results from State Government run voucher programs across the country. In recent weeks, TAA and AA have also hosted a series of joint events across the country — including a combined Board Meeting — as we work towards creating a strong, single voice for our industry.


HM The Business of Accommodation

MARRIOTT INTERNATIONAL WILL bring the first Marriott Executive Apartments to Australia under an agreement with Melbourne-based property development company Sunnyland Investment Group. The 180-key all-suite hotel, which will be located at 472-474 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, will be part of a mixed-use development comprising approximately 244 fully residential apartments with premium amenities and services. “We are thrilled to work with Sunnyland Investment Group to bring Marriott Executive Apartments to Australia, which will provide an elevated accommodation experience for

business and leisure travellers looking for an extended stay with all the comforts they expect from Marriott International,” said Marriott International Vice President, Hotel Development, Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Richard Crawford. Construction on the $170 million project is set to commence in 2024 and is expected to be completed by mid-2026. “Already a key Australian city and the gateway to Queensland, the coming years will be an exciting time for Brisbane and will pave the way for savvy new travellers to the city to experience Hilton Garden Inn’s renowned positive, upbeat service,” Milos said.

The luxury flyfishing lodge is popular with affluent tourists 06

New Zealand lodge becomes first property to earn B Corp status

Owen River Lodge has been recognised for its positive social and environmental impact. A LUXURY FLYFISHING retreat in New Zealand’s South Island has become the first accommodation provider in the country to be certified as a B Corp. Owen River Lodge is one of 390 businesses in Australia and New Zealand that have been recognised for positive social and environmental impact, alongside the likes of Kathmandu, Patagonia and Fishpond. Owen River Lodge Owner and Manager, Felix Borenstein, said it was a “long and difficult” process to achieve the accreditation. “We’ve had Qualmark Luxury Lodge accreditation since 2017 and have won some pretty big industry awards here and overseas, so I felt confident about B Corp certification. But this has been a whole different order of tough,” said Borenstein. “It’s definitely worth it, though, to prove that you walk the talk.”


Little National expands to Adelaide Construction of the new hotel will begin this year. DOMA GROUP IS bringing its boutique hotel brand Little National to Adelaide, with construction of a 23-storey hotel to commence in October 2022. The Adelaide hotel, which will be located at 100 North Terrace, will be the fourth from the affordable luxury brand, following the success of Little National in Canberra and Sydney, and a Newcastle property which is set to open in 2023. “We are thrilled to be bringing our hotel offering to Adelaide,” said Doma Director of Hotels, Patrick Lonergan. “The Little National Hotel product is on the mark for today’s savvy and sophisticated traveller, delivered at a reasonable price point.” The property will feature 140 standard rooms, 26 ‘big’ rooms and 48 one- and two-bedroom suites across 18 levels, as well as a two-storey private lounge and public bar, both of which will offer 360-degree views of the Adelaide Hills, ocean

Little National Sydney, which opened in 2020, was the second Australian location for the Doma Group brand

and riverfront parkland. Doma has appointed leading architects from Bates Smart to lead the project, while renowned interior architects, Luchetti Krelle, will be responsible for the 400sqm rooftop bar and outdoor terrace on Level 23 that will be open to the public. Construction of Little National Hotel Adelaide is expected to be completed in mid-2024.


By James Doolan Strategic Director, Hotel Council Aotearoa AFTER A LONG time between drinks, the hotel sector in New Zealand reacted with

relief to the government’s recent decision to remove isolation on arrival for all international travellers. Managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) for everyone landing in New Zealand is effectively over. Sixteen months ago, Hotel Council Aotearoa wrote to Government wanting to help shape solutions for what we advised would be a serious labour supply problem once borders eventually reopened. Without students and working holiday visa-holders in country, and after major headcount reductions during the closed border period, tourism businesses will struggle to ramp up again. Our previous advice fell on deaf ears, but the labour shortage problem is intensifying – and not just in the tourism industry, either. The NZ unemployment rate sits at 3.2%.

revenue opportunities might be foregone due to the labour shortage. Real damage has occurred in the past two years and it’s now a difficult problem to unpick.


HM The Business of Accommodation

Choice adds Castle Hill apartments to Sydney network Quality Apartments Castle Hill will join Choice’s burgeoning portfolio.

CHOICE HOTELS ASIA-PAC has welcomed Quality Apartments Castle Hill to its portfolio, its first property in the north-western Sydney suburb. Formerly a Quest branded property, the Quality Apartments Castle Hill offers fully-serviced, studio, 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments with restaurants, cafés, and shopping nearby. Under the same management, staff, and ownership for 15 years, the apartments have

built up a loyal customer base which includes locally contracted tradespeople, leisure, school, and sporting groups. “These challenging times have shown that relationships and going the extra mile to ensure guests are looked after and their needs are met are key to success,” said Choice Hotels Asia-Pac CEO, Trent Fraser. “I’m delighted to bring a partner to the group who has such enthusiasm for relationships, customer retention and loyalty.”


Laundy Group purchases Port Macquarie’s Mercure Centro Hotel The 4.5 star corporate hotel was sold in an off-market transaction. MERCURE CENTRO HOTEL in Port Macquarie has been snapped up by the Laundy Hotel Group for a reported figure of around $25 million. The 4.5 star corporate hotel, located in Port Macquarie’s commercial, retail and entertainment precinct, was sold off market by long-term owner HLF Pty Ltd, through HTL Property. “Whilst not housed in the same equity structure as our other beachside accommodation assets in Noosa, Manly and Terrigal; this coastal property intersects perfectly with our national investment objectives, and adds deftly to the growing portfolio,” said Laundy Hotel Group CEO, Stu Laundy. The Laundy Group has teamed up with local hospitality operator Alistair Flower and will

continue to run the property under a franchise agreement with Accor Hotels, which has been in place since the hotel’s opening in 2007.

ep pr rou lG Laundy Hote

Staffing challenges for Kiwi hotels are intensified by recent policy changes affecting all industries. Sick leave has increased from 5 to 10 days annually. A new public holiday was created, triggering time-and-a-half plus a day-in-lieu. Most significantly, employers cannot hope to fill roles using “essential skills” visa categories unless paying above the New Zealand median wage, (currently NZ$27 per hour) and guaranteeing 30 hours weekly. Even if demand is slow to rebuild, service levels will be put under real pressure. Some



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The Castle Hill apartments have operated under the same management, staff, and ownership for 15 years

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ELANOR NEWS Cradle Mountain Lodge offers guests a warm and inviting stay surrounded by nature


ELANOR HOTELS Elanor Hotels promises guests authentic luxury with a collection of properties in unforgettable locations and attentive service to boot.


lanor Hotels comprises a significant and diverse collection across regional and unique destinations in Australia. With awardwinning luxury lodges and spas as part of the acclaimed portfolio, ideal for the discerning guests seeking absolute wanderlust. Cradle Mountain Lodge is nestled in breathtaking surrounds, naturally isolated in fresh mountain air. Be cocooned in Waldheim Forest, where a walk to your cabin will be along pathways where pademelons and wombats cross. Explore the walking trails whilst listening to the cacophony of native songbirds. Dine at our prestigious Highlands Restaurant prepared by our culinary chef who embraces our overarching philosophy of food sustainability, combining wholesome locally sourced ingredients respecting produce, producer, and the environment to present passion on every plate. Finish the day at an open fireplace in relaxed luxury. From the peak of the mountain to city centre of Adelaide, meet at The Mayfair for timeless luxury. Mayfair has quickly become Adelaide’s favourite place to meet, stay, entertain, and be entertained. Opulent and luxurious, Hennessy offers a stunning vista of the city across to the Hills from our open space rooftop terrace. Enjoy the Mayflower, with its wine cellar showcasing the best of South Australian wines and a seasonal menu of fine dining prepared by Adelaide’s most revered chefs, with of course our signature warm attentive service. As owners and operators, Elanor Hotels are proud to bring together unforgettable locations and attentive service, promising our guests authentic luxury. n

Opulent and luxurious, Mayfair Hotel has quickly become Adelaide’s favourite place to meet



Air Canada is responding to pent-up demand as borders reopen 10

Air Canada adds Auckland, Brisbane and ups Sydney flights The airline is significantly expanding its South Pacific network.

AIR CANADA HAS announced a significant expansion of its South Pacific network with the carrier moving to daily Sydney flights and resumption of services from both Brisbane and Auckland to Vancouver. Air Canada General Manager Australia and New Zealand, Vic Naughton, says the flights will operate to and from Air Canada’s transPacific hub at Vancouver International Airport. “Our new services not only provide more direct links from Canada, they also open up one of the fastest ways [to get to] Australia and New

Zealand from New York and other key US cities,” he says. In Sydney and Brisbane, Naughton says Air Canada’s flights will connect easily to and from Melbourne, Canberra, Perth, Cairns and other destinations with code-share partner Virgin Australia. “Air Canada is solidifying its market-leading position as the airline providing the most services between Canada and the South Pacific,” says Air Canada’s Senior Vice President, Network Planning and Revenue Management, Mark Galardo.


QT Sydney restaurant Gowings reopens Acclaimed Chef Sean Connolly is leading the creative direction at the restaurant.


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The restaurant is being helmed by well-respected Chef Sean Connolly

QT SYDNEY IS marking a new phase in its culinary journey, with the reopening of its signature restaurant Gowings, under the creative direction of acclaimed Chef, Sean Connolly. Inspired by New York’s Little Italy and steakhouse scene, Connolly will introduce “elegant and unpretentious” Italian cuisine, with a menu built on clean, crisp flavours, beautiful seafood, fresh pasta and Australian pasture and grain-fed beef. “I’m very excited to be working with Gowings, a restaurant that was a pioneer in Sydney’s dining scene, located in a building that is a huge part of Sydney’s cultural fabric,” Connolly said. “In this new venture, I’ll bring back old school hotel dining with a twist, combining the new interiors and menu with a flair for interactive theatre. It’ll be a melting pot of Italian food and great Australian beef and produce, what’s not to love?” The new restaurant will offer a highly immersive experience, with an open kitchen, roaming trolleys for tableside ill of service, and a Chef’s Table, that welcomes up to Ita ” f er us “ele eight guests at a time. n tio gant a nd unprete

The 56-storey building will include approximately 304 hotel rooms. Hyatt Place Melbourne Caribbean Park features 171 guestrooms



Hyatt’s latest Melbourne hotel debuts at Caribbean Park The $75 million hotel is owned and developed by the Spooner family.

THE LATEST HYATT Place hotel to open in Australia made a striking debut at Melbourne’s thriving Caribbean Park business precinct in February. Owned and developed by the Spooner family, the Hyatt Place Melbourne Caribbean Park features 171 spacious guestrooms, including one and two-bedroom suites, and is aimed at the multi-tasking traveller and the high-energy professional to take advantage of the expected growth in Melbourne’s corporate travel and the leisure market. After 30 years of relentless development by the Spooner family, Caribbean Park has taken an exciting leap forward with the opening of the AU$75 million Hyatt Place hotel. “We are delighted to welcome Hyatt Place Melbourne Caribbean Park as our tenth hotel operating in Australia,” said Hyatt Area Vice President – Pacific, Robert Dawson. “This is also our second Hyatt Place hotel in Melbourne and Australia, and with another two Hyatt Place properties under construction, this opening shows a strong vote of confidence in the Hyatt Place brand in the country.’’

‘Monumental’ $450 million hotel tower on the cards for Sydney The project will see a brand new boutique hotel debut in Australia. MELBOURNE-BASED DEVELOPER ICD Property and local Sydney partners Belingbak have submitted a Development Application (DA) to the City of Sydney for a $450 million tower comprising a hotel and apartments. The existing three-storey commercial site, located at 372 – 382A Pitt Street, consists of seven separate properties which have been acquired by Belingbak over an 18-month period to create one 1,140 sqm site for redevelopment. The proposed 56-storey building will stand at 158 metres and house approximately 304 hotel rooms, 28 exclusive apartments, as well as a ground floor retail setting. Belingbak said the development will be, “a monumental addition to Sydney” with a first-to-market hotel and residential offering. “As a Sydney-born and raised development team, we’ve always dreamt of shaping the city which we love,” said Belingbak founder Jack Montgomery. “372 Pitt Street will be a thriving mixed-use project that defines socially orientated, neighbourhood and community inclusive outcomes.” DA approval is expected in the second half of the year.


Government announces $60 million plan to bring back tourists

Tourism package aims to support areas hardest hit by international border closure. FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS announced a AU$60 million campaign that aims to boost Australian tourism, particularly in the areas hardest hit by the international border closure. “As the world reopens, and travellers get out and see the world again, we want to ensure that at the top of every must-see-list is Australia,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said in a statement. “I have been listening to tourism industry operators about what they will need to rebuild their international tourist businesses and this funding boost will deliver on these needs. The package is about getting people on planes and getting them here. It’s about converting the strong interest in Australia to actual businesses.”

As part of the plan, government is allocating AU$45 million to Tourism Australia (TA) for the purposes of targeted activities to drive tourists back. This will include AU$15 million for advertising in key international markets to support regions most reliant on tourists, AU$25 million to support TA’s work with trade wholesalers, the airlines and the media to drive international demand back to key regions, and a AU$5 million extension of Business Events Australia’s bid fund. A further AU$15 million will be put towards Tourism Tropical North Queensland to help drive tourists back to the region and to promote the Great Barrier Reef.

Tourism Tropical North Queensland will receive $15 million to promote the region and the Great Barrier Reef

“The return of our international tourism market will support hundreds of thousands of tourism jobs, strengthen our economy, and back our world-class tourism operators and the many regions reliant on international visitors, like tropical North Queensland,” the Prime Minister said.




minutes with...

SARAH DERRY Five years after joining Accor’s Pacific business, Senior Vice President – Talent and Culture, SARAH DERRY, took on the top job as CEO in February. Having owned and operated her own successful business for over Sa r ah Derry, Accor 10 years, Derry brings a wealth of experience as well as a unique understanding of Accor’s values and culture. She spoke to Ruth Hogan about key travel trends that are on her radar and her plans for growing the business in 2022. Congratulations on your recent appointment as Accor Pacific CEO. What projects are you most excited about tackling in this new role?

We are entering a new chapter for tourism and have a strong future ahead of us. Above all, our teams and I are looking forward to welcoming back guests to our regions and cities. I am also excited about maximising the potential of our key partnerships, such as Accor Stadium, which will realise greater benefits for our loyal guests and support our partners.

How has owning and operating your own hospitality business impacted you as a leader?

Managing and growing my own business has been a formative part of my experience, I was fortunate to work with some great organisations and people. Being a business owner also helped me to develop an entrepreneurial mindset and I came to realise that an essential part of any business’s success is trust, loyalty, referrals and relationships.

How do you plan to shape CSR at Accor?

We will continue to support our local communities, our teams, our guests and our partners to forge a long term and sustainable future. We take our responsibilities to the environment very seriously and we each have a role to play in contributing to the community. From looking at innovation around renewable energy, to food waste and reviewing our supply chain, we are making positive changes. We all need to work together as an industry. We do not want to be competitive regarding sustainability and the future of the environment, and Accor recently signed the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance for this reason. We need to learn together and from each other, inspire each other and challenge each other to make a difference.

How will Accor attract and retain new talent now that Australia’s international borders are open?

Now that the borders are open, we will see skilled workers and students from overseas bringing their talents into Accor and this will complement our existing teams. Our business is built on an incredible culture which we call “Heartist” — a culture with real purpose, one which cares for guests, teams and partners and provides meaningful and unforgettable experiences. We have created a number of innovative programs to attract new talent into our business, from same day hire to flexible working. I believe we must meet people where they are at and support them on their career journey. 20

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What are the top priorities for Accor Pacific this year?

We will continue to execute a strong business strategy which will deliver long-term success for our partners and teams for decades to come. This is an exciting industry in one of the best regions in the world and within the next few years we will have launched a variety of new premium and luxury brands with the debut of Mondrian, 25hours and SO/ in Australia.

What key travel trends do you plan to tap into this year at Accor? It is great to see that international visitors are returning to our region and our cities are opening up with arts, theatre and sporting experiences once again. People love to travel, and bookings are picking up pace. Accor has almost 400 hotels, apartments and resorts across the Pacific and will benefit from global events such as the Grand Prix which will attract people back to Melbourne. Enjoying our own backyard in the Pacific has been a key trend and it will continue; leisure destinations such as Queensland and Fiji are very popular with Australian holiday makers. n SO/Melbourne is set to open in 2023

Accor’s leisure destinations in Fiji are proving popular with Australian holidaymakers

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ICONIC LUXURY With Paul Hutton at the helm, Hilton embarks on a new chapter of luxury growth, underpinned by the signing of the first Waldorf Astoria in Australasia.


or more than a century, Hilton has been a safe, steady home away from home for more than 3 billion guests around the world. And despite the challenges of the pandemic, Hilton’s growth momentum has not wavered, remaining the fastest growing hospitality company in Asia Pacific. Locally, this is evident in Hilton’s recent and momentous signing of Waldorf Astoria Sydney — the first Waldorf Astoria in Australasia, and the company’s first luxury hotel signing in Australia. “The introduction of the Waldorf Astoria brand to Australasia underscores our development strategy of organically introducing our world-class brands to discerning travellers in key markets,” said Hilton Area Vice President and Head of Australasia, Paul Hutton. The luxury hotel brand, which began in New York City with a single property in 1893 that Conrad Hilton dubbed, “The Greatest of Them All”, has experienced unprecedented growth with a portfolio of more than 30 iconic properties in the world’s most sought-after destinations, including six distinguished properties across Asia Pacific. 22

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“Our luxury expansion into Australia during this critical period of travel recovery speaks volumes to the confidence investors and owners have in our award-winning luxury brands,” said Hilton Vice President, Luxury and Lifestyle, Asia Pacific, Nils-Arne Schroeder. “This brand debut in Australia and our accelerated pace of luxury growth across the broader Asia Pacific region are bolstered by the trust that discerning travellers have in the strength and consistency of the iconic Waldorf Astoria brand to deliver truly timeless and unforgettable experiences across each and every stay.”


Owned by AW One Circular Quay, part of AW Holding Group, Waldorf Astoria Sydney is in a coveted location, as part of the One Circular Quay development — one of the most prime harbourside sites in Australia, offering unrivalled views of Sydney Harbour. In collaboration with world-renowned architects KKAA and Crone, Waldorf Astoria Sydney will artfully blend contemporary, luxurious living with cutting-edge design. Construction has commenced on the 28-floor, 220-key luxury hotel, which is expected to open in early 2025. Central to any Waldorf Astoria

experience is its legacy of culinary expertise and Waldorf Astoria Sydney will be no exception. The hotel will celebrate Sydney’s gastronomic

COVER STORY Hilton Area VP Paul Hutton (centre) pictured with (L-R) Regional Director of Development, Tushar Raniga, and Directors of Projects and Design for Australasia, Phillipa Le Roux and Tarek Adasi

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Hilton’s milestone signing does not stop at Waldorf Astoria Sydney. The Australasian development team has further plans to expand within the luxury, lifestyle and focused service segments in Australia and New Zealand, with another luxury hotel to be added to the pipeline very soon. Hutton, who commenced his Australasian leadership role in February, spent the past four years as Hilton’s Regional Head of Southeast Asia where he oversaw significant portfolio growth including launching the regions first Waldorf Astoria with Waldorf Astoria Bangkok, followed by Waldorf Astoria Maldives Ithaafushi, and the award-winning Hilton Garden Inn brand into Malaysia. He has the same ambitious growth plans for the Australasia region. “At Hilton, we believe that the desire to travel, experience new cultures and connect with others is core to the human experience, and now that travel has resumed, guests are looking to brands they trust so they can travel with peace of mind,” Hutton said. “As such, we’re always looking to add the right brand, in the right location, at the right time.” Hilton recently opened DoubleTree by Hilton Karaka, just 20km south of Auckland CBD in the beautiful rural town of Karaka. With 13



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excellence with two distinctive restaurants, as well as a rooftop bar, which will boast uninterrupted views of stunning Sydney Harbour. “I look forward to welcoming Waldorf Astoria Sydney which will be an inspiring landmark that will elevate luxury hospitality in one of the world’s most iconic destinations,” added Schroeder.

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hotels currently in the pipeline, 2023 will see the opening of Hilton Port Moresby Residences, as well as Hilton Garden Inn Busselton. In 2024, three Hilton Garden Inn hotels are set to open in Box Hill, Sydney Kingswood, and Brisbane City Centre North, as well as DoubleTree by Hilton Auckland Albert Street. With borders now open and travel demand unleashed, Hilton will continue to provide an important backdrop for guests to make new memories at their 29 hotels across Australasia. “We are confident that together with our partners, Hilton will emerge from this pandemic stronger than before as we continue to deliver the light and warmth of hospitality to our guests and capture growth opportunities across key destinations for our owners,” Hutton said. n


LEADERSHIP Leanne Harwood, IHG Hotels and Resorts




When I first started my career in hospitality and revenue management, I would often see surprise from my colleagues when I was introduced as the Revenue lead for the business. An automatic reaction, expecting a man to manage the numbers and not a woman. It didn’t take long however for them to realise that I was capable and had the credentials to do the job and I rarely got resistance then after. I have always been offered career opportunities – not because of my gender but because my leaders believed that I was the best person for the role. Having two kids and juggling a complex role that involves travel has never been easy, but I have always had the support of the company I worked for and the support of my leaders. My role as a female leader is to help other female team members achieve their full potential, assist them in building their own confidence and show them that they do not have to make a choice between “working” or “staying at home”.

Freeing the world of bias, stereotypes and discrimination should be the focus of every one of us, every day. What’s needed is real conversations, real action and real change – “deeds not words”. Our industry is not perfect, but we have made great strides. The pay gap in the Accommodation and Food Service Sector is 6%. While that’s an improvement from 13% just a year ago, females make up 53% of the workforce so clearly the story should be vastly better. The [Accommodation] Association’s big call out this year is to ensure that the face of our sector is more representative of those working in it and the wider community. Our Panel Pledge captures our determination to have more representative conversations and conferences – an all-in approach and an ever-vigilant lens to make sure that we are all actively promoting and supporting those who haven’t traditionally had the privilege of the spotlight. It might be uncomfortable at times to challenge the status quo but we are proud to issue the challenge of inclusion and diversity as a starting point.

Senior Commercial Director, Australasia, Hilton Hotels


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SVP Managing Director – JAPAC, IHG Hotels and Resorts President, Accommodation Association



Director of Revenue Management (NT, QLD, SA, TAS, VIC, WA & NZ), TFE Hotels


General Manager, Pier One Sydney Harbour

It is well documented that men tend to apply for a job when they meet just 60% of the criteria, whereas women will only apply when they meet 100%. And while it is perfectly natural for most people to feel a lack of confidence when starting in a new role, women have a higher tendency to not feel “good enough” which can lead to undervaluing

themselves and feeling like they don’t belong. I have found great help in reflecting on my successes and, as much as it felt awkward to “blow my own trumpet” to start with, I now have much more confidence and much less self-doubt. However, my career at Marriott International has definitely enabled me to take on a General Manager position with confidence and allowed me to really believe in myself. I was one of Marriott’s first female General Managers in Australia, and I am very much a part of the senior management team. In the last 12 months, we’re seeing more and more female General Managers at our Marriott properties – including females being made firsttime GMs after rising through the ranks via Marriott’s internal training and development program.

As a mum myself, I know the challenges that mothers face when it comes to juggling a career and a family (hello, mum guilt!). While I am lucky enough to have a wonderfully supportive husband who shares those responsibilities with me, I know that this is not necessarily the norm. I also know there is no way that I would be able to do the frequent travel and hours that I do without that strong support network, and I feel that balancing the home and career without that support would be an enormous hurdle for women trying to grow their careers. The truly great female leaders that I have had the honour to work with have a few things in common — they are terrific listeners; they are empathetic, and they are great communicators. They really hear what their teams are saying and create actionable change through relationships and empathy.


Director of Commercial – Australia, New Zealand, South Pacific (ANZSP), IHG Hotels and Resorts

I hope that every woman out there has at least one great human in their professional lives that will tell them: ‘you can do it, you are good enough for that promotion, you can ask for more money and flexibility, and your family does come first’. I’d also love to see everyone getting the invite to golf days, sporting events and Friday night drinks at the pub – without the assumption that it's only for a particular group. We have an important part to play in ensuring gender bias in the workplace does not go unchecked.


Chief Commercial Officer, Accor Pacific

Many companies talk about gender equality, diversity, and inclusion, but only a small percentage put meaningful programs in place to ensure their vision becomes a reality. I am proud to work for an organisation who is truly leading the way in this space. In my view it takes time and investment to build a culture with values of inclusivity and equality. It is the responsibility of everyone in the organisation and should be an ongoing conversation. Employers must nurture a listening culture to understand what is going on with their teams, take action and bring positive change. The world of hospitality is vibrant, lively, and always interesting. There is such enormous scope within the hospitality industry for various career paths. I am an example of this. I started in a sales role and am now leading Accor’s Pacific Commercial team. For those who show initiative and work hard, there is limitless opportunity for rapid career advancement. And don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something – it is better to try and fail than fail to try.




Senior Director, Strategy, Sales and Marketing, Choice Hotels Asia-Pacific

Don’t put a cap on your own potential, and don’t let anyone else limit what’s possible for you. We all face imposter syndrome at some point, but don’t allow doubt to create your own roadblocks. If you can’t see other women in the roles you aspire to, that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. It means the opportunity to be first is there for you. Find a way to make your dreams happen.


Group Director of People and Performance, Ovolo Hotels

I believe the last several decades have been a period of incredibly progressive change and growth for women in our field. I believe the contribution of women has surpassed many expectations, with representation in top management positions. I don’t believe I have faced any barriers due to my gender. I have always worked hard to attain personal and career development. I stumbled, progressed, developed, learnt lessons, and been challenged by both male and female leaders in my time. This has made me who I am today: authentic, collaborative and always only wanting to give back to people and try and make a difference in someone’s life. Entrepreneurial, brave and smart women who take risks and have passion for what they do and give back to the communities are truly my heroes and deserve to be celebrated and recognised for their spirit and dedication.


Area General Manager North and Central Queensland, Rydges Hotels and Resorts

My continued career development and success within Event is due in part to the support of my peers and colleagues, regardless of gender. I have not experienced barriers in my career due to my gender. My mum and sister are strong, resilient women who continue to inspire me. Even in retirement my mum is volunteering for a charity here in Cairns, she doesn’t stop! Professionally our CEO, Jane Hastings has led our company through our toughest trading environment yet, I have never felt more supported.


Asset Manager, Hotels, Salter Brothers

Our part of the industry (hotel investment) is quite male oriented, so from early on I have naturally formed close bonds with and surrounded myself with like-minded women I have met along the way, many of whom are now leaders in the industry. They have been a great support network. I’ve always tried to observe styles I admire in other women and take on board what I can for my own leadership style. Now I try to support others in the industry by giving them the best advice I can, taking into account what I have learnt along the way and always providing an ear to listen when it’s needed. I’m a big believer in whoever is right for the job being given the opportunity – whether they are male or female. I also believe that there should be no difference in what two people who are doing the same job are paid. I do think that bias is common, but as time goes on and more women take on big roles with great success, it is proof that female representation at higher levels is good for business. It brings with it the great benefit of diversity of thinking and experience, which is a huge win for organisations who truly embrace it. Critical to this, is giving women, and men in fact, the flexibility to do their job in a way that suits their life and commitments outside of work. If this means adjusting the traditional ‘9 to 5’ working hours, then we should be looking at ways to embrace this. n 26

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ACCOR’S RESTAURANT REVOLUTION Accor is doubling down on culinary offerings, creating unique and memorable experiences to meet the demands of discerning customers.


ccor is leading innovation and choice in drinking and dining experiences across the Pacific by creating flagship restaurant and bar offerings, realised through reimagined menus and superb venues. Accor Pacific Chief Executive Officer, Sarah Derry, said: “We’re creating culinary experiences that are must-visit destinations for locals and travellers. Superb dining experiences have always been a key ingredient of our hospitality offering and a major influencer in the reputation of our properties - now we’re pushing the boundaries further.” The Group is serious about shaking up the hotel restaurant and bar scene and, by making a big impression on the local dining scene, it’s attracting the finest chefs, mixologists and baristas across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

Hobart welcomed modern Italian restaurant Tesoro in early 2021


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French-inspired Garçon Bleu restaurant at Sofitel Adelaide

Accor Pacific Senior Vice President Development and Franchise, Lindsay Leeser, commented: “We are focused on creating dynamic restaurant and bar offerings that are amongst the best and most acclaimed in their respective markets. This is being achieved by analysing the local market’s dining scene for opportunities, securing the best talent, and working with experts to develop the right product and offering.” Over the past year, Accor has worked with its partners to develop an assortment of lively new dining concepts, and also fine-tune existing venues, which create richly authentic experiences with stunning menus. Here are a few of Accor’s standout new restaurants:


Sofitel Adelaide has introduced French-inspired restaurant Garçon

Bleu. Located on the hotel’s ninth floor with unbeatable skyline views, the new dining venue is perfectly at home in the French luxury hotel chain. The newest place to see and be seen, to celebrate, and share good food and wine, is led by Chef de Cuisine Gianni Delogu. Chef Delogu has created a seasonal menu that makes French cuisine more accessible and fun featuring simple and ingredient-focused dishes in a contemporary space. The theatre and drama of Garçon Bleu’s hospitality experience is realised through dishes such as its house-cured salmon fume, served under a glass cloche with fragrant wreathes of smoke waiting to be dramatically unveiled by the waiter.


Mövenpick Hotel Melbourne on Spencer opened the long-anticipated Miss Mi restaurant in late 2021. At the helm is Borneo-born head chef, Esca Khoo, whose menu of intoxicating dishes is influenced by the cultures, cuisines, and aromatics of Asia. The inclusion of fresh Australian produce draws on Chef Khoo’s commitment to local, sustainable food practices and has enabled Khoo to guide Miss Mi to achieving a Good Food Chef Hat just months after opening. The Miss Mi venue features a vibrant array of eclectic artwork, patterns, textures, and materials.


CHIDO CHIDO AT MERCURE MELBOURNE DONCASTER Doncaster’s culinary scene has received a Latin American injection with the opening of modern Mexican restaurant Chido Chido at the new Mercure Melbourne Doncaster. Combining exceptional local produce with lively spices, flavours and textures, Chido Chido serves up a menu of fresh, punchy Mexican dishes and heady cocktails that celebrate Latino energy and culture. The focus on community and family that underpins Mexican culture is wholeheartedly embraced in the design of Chido Chido.


Hobart’s growing dining scene was graced with a new addition when modern Italian restaurant, Tesoro, opened in the river-side city in early 2021. Located within Mövenpick Hotel Hobart, Tesoro is a showcase of humble, flavourful Italian fare inspired by the epicurean treasures of Tasmania. With a dry-aging cabinet onsite and fresh bread, pizza bases and pasta made onsite daily, the team at Tesoro are committed to highlighting the best produce from across the region alongside traditional Italian recipes and techniques.


Novotel Sydney Darling Square’s reimagined Pumphouse Sydney is delighting diners with its stylish new wine room, plentiful collection of craft beers, and new contemporary gastro menu inspired by seasonal, local and Indigenous produce with a focus on share boards. The restaurant’s modern industrial design boasts high-end finishes and pays tribute to the building’s heritage listed façade.

LA MARÉE AT SOFITEL AUCKLAND VIADUCT HARBOUR Boasting an elite waterside location in the Viaduct, La Marée opened at the new-look Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour in late 2020. The natural ebb and flow of the surrounding water mirrors the seasonality of the produce used by Chef Martin to create a menu that celebrates the best of local seafood, and quality cuts from family farms.


Fiji’s recently refurbished Solis Restaurant at Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa offers a sophisticated gastronomy experience in a relaxed ambiance with serene décor, Mediterranean seafood cuisine and magnifique ocean views. Solis serves a sumptuous menu influenced by clean, fresh, local produce creating genuine dining excellence. n

Novotel Sydney Darling Square’s recently refurbished Pumphouse Sydney

Miss Mi at Mövenpick Hotel Melbourne on Spencer has a menu influenced by Asian cuisines


INVESTMENT Next Story Group Chairman, Patrick Imbardelli, Vista Hospitality Group Chair, Tony Ryan, and Pro-invest Group’s CEO and Deputy Chair APAC, Jan Smits




Next Story Group’s Sage Hotel Ringwood offers a bright and colourful lobby to welcome guests



ro-invest and Next Story Group have joined forces to establish a new hospitality management company, Vista Hospitality Group Australasia. Combining seven hotel brands, 11 properties and over 700 staff, the joint venture will utilise expertise from both businesses to offer a suite of hospitality resources. The services offered through this “one-stop shop” model will include development planning and asset management, franchising and revenue generation modelling and tailored hotel operations for owners and partners. “Pro-invest Group’s investment in this region means we’re strategically well placed to bring this exciting partnership to fruition with Next Story Group to own a new space in

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the market,” said Pro-invest Group Founder and Chairman, Ronald Barrott. “By leveraging our commercially driven revenue platforms and leading ESG practices, together with white label opportunities and combined brands and resources means we’ve created a dynamic new offering for owners and partners and a platform for the next phase of growth in Australia and New Zealand.”


Pro-invest Group is Asia Pacific’s largest hotel investment and acquisition business with $2 billion worth of assets including the Sebel, voco, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo and Kimpton brands. The Group’s wide-ranging capabilities means that there are myriad opportunities to advance its presence in Australia and New Zealand through this joint venture, as Pro-invest Group’s CEO and Deputy Chair APAC, Jan Smits, explained. “Within the Pro-invest platform, we build hotels, we operate hotels, we asset manage hotels, we look after the whole day-to-day operations … we are an A-Z integrated platform,” Smits told HM. “Link that in with what the Next Story Group have been doing, where they have built a very innovative platform and portfolio of brands in the full-service side of the business across Australia, and you create a wide-level management company that can go across all spectrums.


Hotel Indigo is among the seven brands that will make up the Vista portfolio

“We can run international brands, we can run our own brands, we franchise, we manage, we revenue manage, we can build, we’ve got access to capital. It’s a very broad spectrum.” Vista Hospitality Group Australasia Chairman, Tony Ryan, is confident that the joint venture will offer something new in the market. “We begin this new hospitality management group as market leaders from day one from a foundation of unrivalled industry expertise and a shared culture of excellence,” Ryan said. “By bringing a new approach to delivering operational advantages, responsible returns, optimisation of assets and scale, we’re confident in our goal to be the region’s first choice for hotel owners, partners and colleagues.”


The Vista Group portfolio will include Next Group’s Next, Ink, Sage and Country Comfort brands, as well as Proinvest’s Sebel, voco and Hotel Indigo brands. Next Story Group Chairman, Patrick Imbardelli, said Vista has the advantage of having a dynamic range of brands, from mid-market to luxury, and the versality to work with global hotel brands in a white label approach not yet offered in this region. “It not only presents a strong platform for further expansion

at a pivotal time for this region’s hotel industry, but importantly the opportunity for our collective teams of hospitality experts around Australia and New Zealand to grow and develop,” Imbardelli said.


Launching with over 1500 rooms, Vista Hospitality Group has ambitious growth plans to expand that figure to 5000 rooms across Australia and New Zealand in the next five years, with further signings to be announced this financial year. Smits pointed to Ink, Next and Country Comfort as key brands primed for growth under Vista. “We like the Ink brand, and we look forward to growing that,” Smits told HM. “One of the classic brands in the portfolio is Country Comfort. Historically Country Comfort, in its heyday, had 80/90 hotels in Australia, so we really look forward to re-establishing that brand. The Next brand is an opportunity too.” Pro-invest will also bring its ESG capabilities to the new joint venture, with plans for hotels to adopt reusable and recyclable materials, become energy efficient and better manage water usage and waste, Smits explained. “In the Pro-invest portfolio, all the assets are 4.5/5-star NABERS rated and that very much underpins our beliefs both for our customers and our investors,” Smits told HM. “We now look forward to growing that into brands like Ink and Next as we expand these brands in the future.” n

Vista Hospitality Group has high hopes for the Ink hotel brand


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hen the Chen family purchased 45 Murray Street, Pyrmont back in 2005, it was simply an office block, and remained so for a couple of years before renovations began to turn it into a boutique hotel. But the walls of this art deco building hold a lot of history. Dating back to around 1938, the property was originally built as a cereal and grain store. Back then, Darling Harbour was home to tram and rail yards and was a place where cargo was loaded onto ships. “Pyrmont used to be an industrial yard, a workingclass suburb, and this building was reflective of the industry around it,” Chen explained. Later, during the 60s and 70s, the building served as the headquarters of appliances company Breville, and


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Aiden's red brick exterior and curved corner facade are reminiscent of the 1930s art deco era when the property was built

even during the most recent renovation, traces of the company remained. “When we were breaking down the walls to convert this building to a hotel, we discovered a Breville employee had stuck a calling card on one of the walls from 1979,” Chen said. A love for travel, hotels and the hospitality industry prompted Chen to convert the property into a hotel, but he wanted to do so in a way that preserved the integrity of the building. “We always wanted a classic but contemporary style, bringing it into the modern era but retaining a lot of the design elements that reflect the art deco history of the building,” he said. Today, original art deco elements are still clearly visible in the red brick exterior and curved corner facade, complemented by the addition of many brass elements, studded barstools, rich red marble and bronze-coloured taps.


Aiden Darling Harbour prides itself on being a hotel designed by travellers for travellers. Over the course of five years, Chen took note of his own accommodation experiences and all the things that he believed could be improved upon. “You know some of those small pet peeves? I had a big list of all the things we wanted and didn’t want in our hotel rooms,” he explained.


“We provide all the things that you want, and we strip out all the things that you don’t need.” A simple but important addition for guests was water fountains, dispensing both still and sparkling, on every level, and two big glass bottles prefilled and stored in the fridge, because as Chen says, “nobody wants to spend $7 on water from the minibar”. Clothes steamers and Chromecast are also standard features in each room. Chen believes that aesthetics can only go so far, and that experience and service are what really matters to guests. “What travellers will remember is those times when they were made to feel special, and it’s always to do with the service. Service is our number one asset,” Chen said. In aiming to deliver the best experience for guests, Aiden focuses on three important things: “awesome location”, “extremely comfortable bed” and “excellent shower and amenities”.

Aiden’s artist in residence hand painted vibrant murals of native flora in each room

Modern design elements such as bronze-coloured taps complement the building’s art deco heritage

“Those are the basics that you should really get right,” Chen said. “What are we expecting as travellers? Personally, it’s not the bellboy at the front door that takes your luggage and expects a tip. What I want is to be able to feel completely comfortable and not be forced into buying or doing certain things that I don’t want to.” One of the reasons behind Aiden’s thoughtful design, is the compact nature of its hotel rooms, which aim to deliver better value for money for guests. “Unless you’re celebrating, you’re going to be wanting value for the dollars that you pay for accommodation,” Chen said. “Our design has been inspired by the more compact rooms in all the great cities of the world where space is at a premium. When you stay in those hotels you can’t help but be impressed by the thought that has gone into it.”


Aiden focuses on delivering a localised guest experience, with everything from the wine and beer to the fresh produce sourced locally where possible. “Our bread is from a bakery that’s about 500 metres down the road,” Chen notes. “We want to not only bring in as many parts of the neighbourhood as possible, we also want to open ourselves up to the neighbourhood.” This theme of localism physically manifests itself in the design, particularly in the ground floor lobby where floor to ceiling windows allow guests to feel part of the neighbourhood around them. And it works both ways.

Wayfarer’s Bar and Restaurant champions local food and beverages

“We try to engage our neighbours as much as possible,” Chen said. “We give them codes for stays, free coffees with breakfast… We have a good set of locals treat the lobby as their second living room, and professionals working around the area treat it as their second meeting area. That’s what I really love to see.” n




S-based Ace Hotel Group is soon to launch its very first hotel in the Southern Hemisphere with the opening of Ace Hotel Sydney this autumn. The 264-room boutique hotel, set in Surry Hills’ historic Tyne House brick factory, is now taking reservations for stays from May 1, 2022. Speaking exclusively to HM, Ace Hotel Group CEO Brad Wilson said each Ace Hotel is designed to serve as a welcoming public space for both the traveller and members of the local community. “The ground floor at Ace Sydney promises to be a model of this — with a beautiful bar and public lobby, laneway café, and ample space from which to work — whether on a business trip or just looking to escape your home for a while,” Wilson said. “We like to open our doors to the public, and celebrate the makers, innovators and artists in the cities we call home — and we’ll be doing the same in Sydney, with exciting programming partners who will highlight some of the most inspired culture in Australia. We’re looking forward to sharing much more as we open our doors in the next few months.”


The hotel’s ground floor F&B offering presents a variety of dining occasions for locals to enjoy at the hotel, including at the restaurant, the communal lobby’s allday café, and nearby bar, with a drinks menu curated by local drinks expert Mike Bennie. “The ground floor also offers free Wi-Fi, and it’s common at Ace Hotels across the globe to see people studying or doing work on laptops in the lobby while enjoying drinks and bites,” Wilson said. “Additionally, the lobby will offer all kinds of music, arts and cultural programming that’s open to everyone, not just exclusively hotel guests.” The property also features a rooftop bar and restaurant. Respected Chef Mitch Orr is at the helm of the 18th floor restaurant, Kiln, which offers wood-fired cooking. “Our F&B program is always created community-first, looking at what the local area needs and loves,” Wilson said. “There will be a huge focus on working with local producers and people across all of our F&B spaces.”


Each Ace Hotel is designed to serve as a welcoming public space for both the traveller and members of the local community


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The Surry Hills location, at 47 Wentworth Avenue, was a carefully considered choice, with the hotel company eager to invite the local culture, commerce, art and community through its doors. “Surry Hills has long been exciting to us,” Wilson said. “It has been a centre of art and rebellion for many decades, and that spirit feels very aligned with Ace’s ethos. The area also feels a lot more in tune with everyday life than the harbourside locations normally chosen by hotels — you’re still close to all of the cities’ landmarks, but with a relaxed, neighbourhood feel.” Ace Sydney was designed in partnership with Flack Studio and inspired by the warm colours of the >>

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Australian landscape as well as the rich history of the area, from the underground liquor trade of the 1920s and 1930s, the modernist art boon of the 1960s, through to the Gay Solidarity Group protests of the 1970s. “Surry Hills has been home to so many culturally important movements and people and has always been a home for creatives and migrating cultures,” said Flack Studio Founder and Director, David Flack. Guest room furniture, joinery and lighting have all been custom designed by Flack Studio, and organic materials are at the forefront of the design — from acoustic textural straw walls to the ochre red concrete staircase. “We wanted to preserve the creative, slightly renegade energy of the space since its origins as one of Australia’s early brickworks. We were committed to creating a warm space that brought together Australia’s cultural history with Ace’s unique, community cultivating approach to hospitality,” Flack added. Wilson said the group has “always felt a strong affinity with Australia”. “[Australia’s] intrepid optimism and renegade spirit resonates with Ace’s roots on the Pacific Coast of America,” he said. “We love the country’s distinctive brand of modernism, particularly in the use of local organic materials... David’s eye for colour and space is completely singular — a dream design collaborator for our first hotel in Australia.”



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The Seattle-born hotel group today has locations in Seattle, Portland, New York, Palm Springs, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Chicago, Kyoto and Brooklyn. Ace Hotel Toronto is also due to open later this year. n

Guest room furniture, joinery and lighting have all been custom designed by Flack Studio

“We like to open our doors to the public, and celebrate the makers, innovators and artists in the cities we call home.” Brad Wilson, Ace Hotel Group


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GLOBAL MOMENTUM BWH Hotel Group expands its footprint with soft brand offerings spanning luxury through economy.


WorldHotels Elite Stamford Plaza Brisbane

WH Hotel Group (BWH) continues to expand its offerings for hoteliers, developers and investors with an increasing footprint of soft brand hotels across its portfolio. BWH now offers seven soft brand options ranging from luxury through economy, all with unique personalities to suit the differing needs of travellers and developers alike. The global hospitality powerhouse currently boasts nearly 500 active soft brand hotels and resorts worldwide with over 110 new properties in the global pipeline. In the last four months alone, BWH has activated over 30 soft brand hotels around the world. Soft brands are perfect for developers and hoteliers wanting to maintain their independence and individuality whilst leveraging the global reach of an internationally trusted brand. In addition, they provide unparalleled support systems including access to BWH’s award-winning websites, sales & marketing team, customer service support, a state-ofthe-art revenue management program and access to the award-winning Best Western Rewards and WorldHotels Rewards programs, which boast 50 million members worldwide. BWH Hotel Group’s soft brands include WorldHotels’ Luxury Collection, Elite Collection and Crafted Collection whilst Best Western Hotels & Resorts’ operates BW Premier Collection, BW Signature Collection and SureStay Collection.

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AHICE 2022 is shaping up to be a sensational event

he theme for the 2022 Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE), which is hosted by HM, co-hosted by the Government of South Australia and presented by principal partners Hostplus and Pro-invest Group, is ‘The Time Is Now’, and will focus on the reopening of borders, international travellers and maximising opportunities as the hotel industry recovers. AHICE is being held for the 13th straight year and has become the largest and most influential hotel industry conference in the world outside the United States. Over two days at the Adelaide Oval, expect over 1100 delegates, more than 100 speakers (including several CEOs from Europe, the United States and Asia), and over 50 keynotes, panels and Q&A sessions, alongside a new gala welcome event that will put networking on another level. Importantly, this year will see the return of global CEOs in person to speak at the event and AHICE is proud to reveal we already have several confirmed, including IHG CEO – EMEAA, Kenneth Macpherson (London); Outrigger CEO Jeff Wagoner (Honolulu); Hilton President – Asia Pacific Alan Watts (Singapore); Marriott International President - Asia Pacific (excluding Greater China), Rajeev Menon (Singapore); Far East Hospitality CEO, Arthur Kiong (Singapore); LWT Asia Pacific, Leader, Satoshi Konagai (Singapore); and Pro-invest Group CoFounders Ronald Barrott and Dr Sabine Schaffer (Dubai and London).


They will speak alongside leading Australasian executives including Accor’s CEO – Pacific, Sarah Derry; Doma CEO Jure Domazet; Crown Sydney CEO Simon McGrath; Schwartz Family Co Director Dr Jerry Schwartz; Wyndham Destinations President Barry Robinson; Event Hospitality CEO Jane Hastings; Voyages CEO Matt Cameron-Smith; The Ascott Limited MD – Australia David Mansfield; Hilton Head of Australasia Paul Hutton; Accommodation Association CEO Richard Munro; Tourism Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson; Radisson Hotel Group MD – Australasia Mark Bullock; Pro-invest Group CEO Deputy Chair APAC Jan Smits; Lancemore Group CEO Julian Clark; 1834 Hotels CEO Andrew Bullock; Marriott International Vice President Sean Hunt; Veriu Hotels Co-Founder Alex Thorpe; La Vie Hotels Managing Director Craig Bond; Too Build CEO Ian Wilson; QCC Collection CEO Caspar Schmidt; Ovolo Hotels Director of Operations Wayne Taranto; Salter Brothers Director of Hotels Steven Skarott; Crystalbrook Collection CEO Geoff York; South Australian Tourism CEO Rodney Harrex; IHG SVP and MD – Japan, Australasia Pacific Leanne Harwood; IHG MD – Australasia Pacific Matthew Tripolone; Watson Farley & Williams’ Head of Hotels & Hospitality Asia Pacific Robert Williams and many more. Several global leaders will also be dialling in for exclusive interviews, including Accor Chairman and CEO, Sébastien Bazin (Paris), Marriott International’s Group President and Managing Director – International Craig S Smith (Washington DC), Radisson Hotel Group President – Asia Pacific, Katerina Giannouka (Singapore), Wyndham Hotels and Resorts President – Asia Pacific, Joon Aun Ooi (Shanghai), and Ovolo Hotels Founder Girish Jhunjhnuwala (Hong Kong). Over three days, AHICE, Design Inn and the all-new Future Leaders Forum are expected to attract over 1,000 leading owners, investors, hoteliers, executives and suppliers from across the world, making it one of the most significant conferences for the global hotel industry. In addition to the regular insights into the developing trends and deep dive in-market analysis, AHICE 2022 has a number of new features, including the first-ever Future Leaders Forum, an all-new Australasia-Pacific Hotel Design Awards and a spectacular gala opening event.


The inaugural Future Leaders Forum will be held on the afternoon of Tuesday May 3 (2:30pm-5:00pm) at SkyCity. The Future Leaders Forum is the new, under-35s leadership summit featuring the industry’s brightest stars and this exclusive, invite-only event will feature keynote addresses from global and local CEOs and think tank sessions spanning higher learning to owners’ forums and rising the ranks. AHICE this year will also feature a stellar Gala Welcome Reception on Wednesday May 4 (6:00pm9:00pm) at the Adelaide Oval, themed ‘A Taste of South Australia’, presented in partnership with the South Australian Government.

The welcome reception has always been a highlight of AHICE, but the organisers are taking this to an even higher level in 2022. Thanks to the support of the SA Government’s South Australian Tourism Commission and Event Hospitality and Entertainment, be prepared for an extravaganza of local food, wine, beers and spirits and some spectacular entertainment. The keynotes for AHICE 2022 have also been announced and this year, we are proud to reveal one of our headline speakers will be Gavin Wanganeen. He’s an AFL legend – the first Indigenous player to receive the Brownlow Medal – and is now an acclaimed Indigenous artist. Gavin will speak on resilience, diversity and inclusion and inspire us. Another keynote will be given by Anyier Yuol, the Founder and CEO of Miss Sahara and Anyier Model Management, and former chair of Australian National Committee on Refugee Women. Born in a Kenyan refugee camp and having moved to Australia at the age of 10, Anyier is an inspiring entrepreneur with aspirational dreams for social change. At Design Inn 2022, there will be an expanded program including an all-new Australasia-Pacific Hotel Design Awards, including recognition for the best newbuild, conversion and refurbishment projects, plus an overall winner, which will take out the 2022 Paul Davis Design Award (the hotel industry’s most important design award). n

Star speaker: Anyier Yuol is one of the headline keynotes in 2022

A full program and limited tickets are still available at

IHG’s Kenneth Macpherson is heading to AHICE from London


CONFERENCES Panel discussion at Design Inn 2021



t Design Inn 2022, being held on May 3 at the Ballroom at SkyCity Adelaide ahead of the 2022 Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) on May 4-5, expect masterclasses, project deep-dives and evocative panel sessions featuring leading architects, designers, hotel operators, owners and major suppliers. In front of over 200 of the industry’s most creative minds, speakers will discuss some of the hottest trends in the industry across 16 keynotes, panel sessions and project showcases, alongside site tours around the city and epic networking events. This year’s event, which is hosted by HM, cohosted by the Government of South Australia and presented by principal partners Grohe and Hansen Yuncken, will be headlined by an all-new HM magazine Australasia-Pacific Hotel Design Awards, including recognition for the best new-build, conversion and refurbishment projects, plus an overall winner, which will take out the 2022 Paul Davis Design Award (the hotel industry’s most important design award). On the master program, key panel sessions at Design Inn 2022 include ‘The New Design Rules’, hosted by Chada Partner and Creative 42

HM The Business of Accommodation

Experiential Brand Strategist, Michaelangelo L’Acqua, is a keynote speaker in 2022

Director Juliet Ashworth, which will dive into hot trends including art, food and beverage, post-pandemic trends and more; ‘Wellness in Hospitality’, hosted by Reece Brand Ambassador Manager Loren Inglis, which will uncover the wellness design trends setting the benchmark for 2022 and beyond; ‘Boutique Placemakers’, hosted by Luchetti Krelle Principal Rachel Luchetti, which looks at how boutique operators are addressing the ‘Next Normal’ from a design perspective, within their brands; ‘Sustainability In Design’ hosted by WMK Architecture Director – Client Services, Guy Blunden, which will look at how being sustainable needs to be at the forefront from planning to build and opening; and ‘Hotel Chains’ Technical Insights’, hosted by Scott Carver Director, Angela Biddle, which will uncover the top trends from some of the industry’s leading inhouse design, engineering and technical directors. Design Inn 2022 will also feature a keynote from Mexico-based Experiential Brand Strategist, Michaelangelo L’Acqua, known for his work as the Global Music Director of W Hotels, alongside curation for Tom Ford, Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Morgans Hotel Group and Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Voyages. The event will also feature project showcases on QT Newcastle, AC Hotel by Marriott Melbourne Southbank, Melbourne Marriott Hotel Docklands, HotelMotel Adelaide, Sofitel Adelaide and EOS by SkyCity Adelaide (in person on site tours) and InterContinental Parramatta, which will also include a Designing to Country keynote presentation by FCAD Lead Consult and Creator, Matthew Fellingham. n A full program and limited tickets are still available at

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Peloton bikes are now available for guests to use in their rooms at Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour



HM The Business of Accommodation

s health and fitness continues to influence the guest experience, US fitness tech brand Peloton is making a mark on Australia’s hotel industry. Since launching Down Under in 2021, Peloton is now working with over 30 properties across more than 20 boutique and premium brands around the country, including five-star luxury hotel Sofitel Sydney Darling. The hotel recently added three Peloton bikes as part of its “urban wellness retreat” – a new health and wellness offering for guests. “At Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, we are investing in establishing Sydney’s premier urban wellness retreat and are thrilled to be one of the first hospitality brands in Australia to offer Peloton’s pioneering connected fitness experience to visiting international and domestic travellers,” said Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour Owner, Dr Jerry Schwartz. “Peloton’s Bikes are an excellent way to not only increase our guest’s enjoyment (and endurance) within our gym, but we have also commenced a service where guests can request a Peloton Bike for their room so they can workout at a time, place and pace that suits their individual needs.” >>

3 MAY 2022 • Ballroom, SkyCity Adelaide

RE-IMAGINING HOTEL DESIGN Going beyond the brief

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Europe’s number one bath and body brand, Rituals, is capturing the attention of leading hoteliers in Asia Pacific, thanks to high sustainability standards. Sydney’s newest boutique hotel, Aiden Darling Harbour, is the first hotel in Australia to debut the brand. “We love that Rituals’ wellness philosophy aligns with our own: emphasising the importance of the everyday “rituals” in our lives, finding happiness in the smallest of things, taking time out to appreciate the world around us, enriching our lives just that little bit more,” said Aiden Darling Harbour owner, Nicolas Chen. “Every time we smell the Rituals fragrance it brings us back to this philosophy.” As a B Corp certified company, Rituals is continually finding ways to reduce its impact on the planet. It sources from sustainably managed forests, adheres to Ecopure regulations, uses sustainable palm oil and holds suppliers accountable to its Code of Conduct. It also banned parabens from its products and never tests on animals.


With the recent increase in remote working, dedicated and comfortable in-room working spaces are a must in hotel rooms, as Minor Hotels ANZ Chief Operating Officer, Craig Hooley, explained.

Travellers are seeking dedicated spaces for working


HM The Business of Accommodation

“In addition to catering to our corporate market, the recent travel trend of guests booking extended stays, where they can combine business and leisure, mean that they are looking for hotels in excellent locations, which provide reliable and fast Wi-Fi and comfortable working spaces,” Hooley said. “Our spacious apartment style rooms provide plenty of space for work and leisure.”


Size limitations in hotel rooms in recent years have meant that interior designers are making considered choices when it comes to furniture and storage. Hotel Interiors has noticed an uptick in open design choices. “Hotel guest rooms are getting smaller, triggering a

change in hotel storage solutions,” said Hotel Interiors Founder, Dennis J Clark. “Guests are wanting a more residential feel in hotels and combined with space constraints, the use of freestanding open robes, pegboards, hooks and benches are trending heavily.” >>

Freestanding hooks are trending heavily

Designed & developed for hospitality and interior designers. Our extensive range ensures an exceptional sleep experience. Every Sealy mattress is the optimal balance of comfort, support and durability for years of guest comfort and sleep satisfaction. Sealy is proudly Australian owned and made with components sourced locally and handcrafted in one of five manufacturing centres within Australia

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ROOMS DIVISION Kimpton Margot Sydney enlisted Sealy as its bedding partner


Ensuring guests have a great night’s sleep is important for every hotel GM. And at the recently opened Kimpton Margot Sydney, it’s essential. The hotel partnered with Sealy to supply and install new beds into the hotel in January. “Whether travelling for work, or enjoying a new city leisurely, a great sleep is one of the pinnacle points to a great guest journey,” said Kimpton Margot Sydney General Manager, Bruce Ryde. “As we become more educated in the ‘sleep space,’ we’re understanding how a good night’s sleep can be vastly different from a great night's sleep – affecting our mental, physical, and mental well-being. This is why sleep and choosing the right bedding partner is so critical.” The Kimpton brand’s emphasis on supporting local meant that securing an Australian bedding partner was very important. “We pride ourselves on partnering locally,” Ryde said. “It’s a more sustainable and eco-friendly practice.”


Modern guests’ standards for entertainment are higher than ever before. They want to continue watching the latest season of Succession or Bridgerton, whatever it may be, during their stay. Hotels have recognised that they need to allow guests to access all their favourite shows by offering streaming services on the in-room television or technology like Chromecast, so guests can login to their own accounts. 48

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“When unwinding in their room, guests want to feel at home, and have access to a broad range of on-demand entertainment that they can access at any time of the day,” said Minor Hotels ANZ Chief Operating Officer, Craig Hooley. “Our Oaks Hotels, Resorts & Suites and Avani Hotels and Resorts properties both offer Netflix streaming services, to ensure these expectations of the modern traveller are met.” >>

Guests want the comfort of home entertainment during their stay




02 9906 2202


“Hotel guest rooms are getting smaller, triggering a change in hotel storage solutions.” Dennis J Clark, Hotel Interiors

Clothes steamers are readily available for guests at Aiden Darling Harbour


Vanity Group is now distributing British haircare and skincare brand Molton Brown to hotels and resorts across Australia and New Zealand. Molton Brown’s signature hotel bathroom range includes Luxury Collection One and Two, featuring the brand’s highly sought-after Orange & Bergamot, in addition to the bestselling Coastal Cypress and Sea Fennel and Fiery Pink Pepper skincare and haircare range. “Molton Brown prides itself on expression through fragrance,” said Vanity Group Founder and CEO, Paul Tsalikis. “When a guest finds the British powerhouse in their hotel bathroom, an unforgettable stay is guaranteed. We’re honoured to be partnering with one of England’s most treasured brands to complement our existing luxury portfolio and sharing their story through our Australian and New Zealand hotel network.” Pioneers in luxury and sustainability, both Vanity Group and Molton Brown have a shared commitment to sustainable beauty. Vanity Group will be extending the award-winning brand’s innovative dispenser solutions including Molton Brown’s newest Signature Dispenser to the local market, preventing more than 18,250 30ml bottles potentially being sent to landfill per 100 room luxury hotel.


Modern hotels are ditching dingy irons in favour of sleek clothes steamers to improve the guest experience. Few guests will have the time or patience to set up an ironing board to get their clothes ready for an evening 50

HM The Business of Accommodation

Molton Brown and Vanity Group have a shared commitment to sustainable beauty

out, and appreciate having a more convenient option, as Aiden Darling Harbour Owner and Director, Nicolas Chen, explained. “We have all had that experience where you want to press a piece of clothing and the hotel offers you a really awful iron that’s years old,” Chen said. “And we’ve all tried that old myth of hanging your shirt up in the bathroom — it doesn’t work.” Aiden Darling Harbour offers guests an in-room steamer that’s quick and simple to use. “It takes five seconds to heat up. Steam the piece of clothing, and you’re done,” Chen said. n





Kimpton is known for working with local producers, why is this so important to the brand? One of the most exciting and memorable aspects of travel is immersing yourself in the culture of the place you’re visiting — everything from discovering one-of-a-kind artisans to tasting fresh, farm-to-table regional foods to enjoying unique local wines. We love fully giving into the sense that adventure awaits just around the corner and being ready to dive in headfirst to that destination. Kimpton Margot Sydney is influenced by the tastes, colours, landscape, and charms of Sydney. Locally-influenced design, art and food meet with Kimpton’s signature heartfelt hospitality — that’s what guests have come to know and love about Kimpton over the decades. To further bring to light all that a destination has to offer, we pride ourselves on partnering locally. Not only is this a more sustainable and eco-friendly practice, but it allows travellers to immerse themselves in local culture from the moment they check into the hotel. No matter which property you visit or which restaurant you dine in, our staff will proudly share details on our local partners that embody a little slice of life and the local economy in each neighbourhood. n

What do you see as the synergy between Kimpton and Sealy — both luxury premium brands? When the worlds of Sealy and Kimpton united, a blend of comfort and science met luxury, dazzling beauty, and rich culture. Whilst the brands have different core functionalities, they both stem back to one under-pinning brand pillar: being ridiculously personal and ensuring the ultimate guest experience. That’s the real synergy here, and why our brands align so well.



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Why is it so important that your guests enjoy their sleep experience?


What was your experience of working with Sealy?

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Around the globe, Kimpton is built on a culture of supporting local – so yes, choosing an Australian bedding partner was very important to us.

wanted to make sure we delivered on all of our promises, which we did,” said Sealy Commercial Manager NSW, Daniel Amos. “Australian made and made locally here in Sydney means we can supply and install our beds with very short lead times with the exact quality you expect. We deliberately have a very localised business model with manufacturing plants in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to service each state and territory across Australia. In addition to this, all our raw material suppliers are also allowing us to completely control lead times and product quality.” Here, Kimpton Margot Sydney General Manager Bruce Ryde speaks to the experience delivered by Sealy.

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yde ,

Was it important for Kimpton to support an Australian company that manufactures and produces in Australia?

uests staying at the Kimpton Margot in the heart of Sydney will enjoy a great night’s sleep on a Sealy bed in the hotel’s beautifully appointed suites. Working closely with the General Manager Bruce Ryde, Sealy supplied and installed the new beds into the hotel in January. “It is a great partnership we have with the Kimpton Margot and we

From the on-set Sealy was great to work with. Everyone is aware of the global procurement issues. We had a swift plan to get the mattresses in, level by level – and Sealy executed this perfectly.

Br uc eR


Kimpton Margot Sydney has partnered with local bedding manufacturer Sealy to offer guests a plush and blissful sleep experience. Hotel General Manager Bruce Ryde explains why Sealy was the perfect fit.

Whether travelling for work, or enjoying a new city leisurely, a great sleep is one of the pinnacle points to a great guest journey. As we become more educated in the ‘sleep space’, we’re understanding how a good night’s sleep can be vastly different from a great night’s sleep – affecting our mental, physical, and mental well-being. This is why sleep, and choosing the right bedding partner (Sealy), is so critical.



Ovolo South Yarra connects with customers emotionally and complements the local cultural scene

BWH HOTEL GROUP AUSTRALASIA Graham Perry – Managing Director


HM The Business of Accommodation

Fuelled by social media, the expectations of seasoned leisure and business travellers are merging as they look to collect destinations visited. We are witnessing exponential growth in this trend in the post-pandemic era and the greater the brag-ability, the greater the attraction. Hybrid working models are creating new ‘bleisure’ travellers who are looking to merge their business and leisure travel needs. This is tearing down the traditional borders between the weekday and the weekend. International border closures have caused more Australians to discover their own backyard, fuelling revitalised interest in regional areas from both international and domestic travellers. This is all driving a new agile marketplace where travellers are demanding that their boutique stay becomes an integral part of the destinations they are collecting. The Australian accommodation industry must react quickly and decisively if it’s going to capture this new business. Investors have a unique opportunity to leverage these trends in new lifestyle and boutique accommodation as long as they are located within destinations that new travellers want to collect and brag about. Global hotel companies provide the perfect foil to leverage these trends in either hard brand or soft brand formats. BWH Hotel Group’s


strong pipeline illustrates that investors and hoteliers are taking up the opportunity to link their hotel developments to BWH’s distribution and booking capability, its 50 million loyalty members, revenue management, sales and marketing and operational support. They’re able to choose between attaching these hotel developments to BWH’s own lifestyle brands like Sadie, Glo or Aiden (BWH hard brands), or linking to BWH’s soft brand solutions like WorldHotels Collection, BW Premier Collection or BW Signature Collection where their own brand takes precedent. Either hard or soft brands can work but only if the hotel’s unique design allows guests to feel they are staying in the heart of the destination.

HYATT HOTELS CORPORATION Leo Yen – Senior Vice President of Development and Owner Relations, Asia Pacific

For Hyatt, soft brands will continue to be an integral part of our ongoing focus on lifestyle and luxury, alongside our established lifestyle brands like the recently opened Hyatt Centric Caribbean Park in Melbourne, as well as our growing roster of Alila and Andaz properties around the region. These are attractive to owners as they enable them to go beyond the traditional parameters of a hotel, helping to achieve a higher level of premium through innovative design and lifestyle programming, while also integrating more deeply into the local community. Hyatt’s global reputation and our focus on luxury have enabled us to build and develop a strong portfolio of soft brands like The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, Destination by Hyatt and JdV by Hyatt, which together have continued to grow across Asia over the past few years. Their value to independent hotels has really become apparent during the pandemic, benefiting from endorsement from a strong international brand as well as strong distribution and loyalty support. Our philosophy is to respect the authenticity of independent brands and focus on helping them access additional sources of customers to grow their business. For example, the highly anticipated Fuji Speedway Hotel, opening next year as part of The Unbound Collection by Hyatt, blends the passion of motorsport with the luxury hotel experience at Japan’s iconic racing circuit. Meanwhile the recently announced FILA House Shanghai, a JdV by Hyatt hotel, draws on the 110-year history of the Italian sports brand to offer a whole new guest experience.

The Celebrity Suite at the new Kimpton Margot Sydney

“The rise of digital nomads and being able to work from anywhere is where boutique brands can really elevate their offering.” Jael Fischer, IHG Hotels and Resorts While these distinctive hotels could certainly succeed on their own, they see the added benefit of gaining strong back-end support as part of our portfolios, as well as tapping new customers. The power of the World of Hyatt program encourages our loyal members to broaden their horizons by exploring new properties, incentivised by promotions and reassured by Hyatt’s endorsement and quality of management.


Jael Fischer – Director, Development Australasia and Pacific

We see the success of soft brands and boutique hotels as being both consumer and owner driven. There is an increasingly insatiable appetite for experiential travel that is unique and authentic taking into consideration the local neighbourhood, and this is where our voco, Hotel Indigo and Kimpton brands really shine. We can’t wait to add to our voco portfolio this year, with the opening of voco Brisbane City Centre, voco Auckland City Centre and voco Melbourne Central. Plus, we’re thrilled to be adding a sister property to Hotel Indigo Adelaide, with the opening of Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre in the second half of this year. The rise of digital nomads and being able to work from anywhere is where boutique brands can really elevate their offering, and provide a convivial, welcoming and warm ‘third space’ for guests to do business from. You only need to walk into the lobby at Kimpton Margot Sydney to see it filled with locals and guests on laptops, doing business with coffee (or cocktail) in hand. With soft brands, our Vignette Collection is a perfect example of where owners can let their property shine with its own personality and identity, while drawing on the strength and power of IHG’s network and distribution platform. Plus, conversion to soft brands typically has lower investment costs which appeals to a lot of owners as there isn’t >>

Ovolo Woolloomooloo bridges the gap between heritage and modern luxury



the typical investment required for building design or decor uniformity that is essential for hard brands. Our first Vignette Collection hotel, Hotel X Brisbane Fortitude Valley, opened in 2021 and we’re excited to announce we’re adding to the collection in Q2 with an opening in Bangkok. Looking to the future, there is a lot of independent stock around which represents great opportunity for growth for IHG in this space, and we are already in developed talks with owners who are particularly interested in Vignette Collection. The growing desire for authentic, local experiences validates our Hotel Indigo, voco and Kimpton brand identities and we’re looking forward to another big year ahead for growth and hotel openings.


Richard Crawford – Vice President Hotel Development, Australia, NZ and Pacific

As the world’s largest hotelier, Marriott International manages and franchises 8,000 hotels across all tiers of accommodation. Included in our 30 global brands are three dynamic ‘soft’ brands, aimed at discerning travellers who value bespoke, curated experiences. Marriott’s Luxury Collection encompasses 120 of the world’s very finest hotels and resorts, while in the upper-upscale category, our Autograph Collection and Tribute Portfolio offer a further 300 properties, each with a unique story. For hotel owners, Marriott’s collection brands offer the dual benefits of allowing the bespoke curation and promotion of a unique and distinctive brand, whilst benefitting from the full power of Marriott’s sales, marketing, distribution, and loyalty programs. In Australia, highly successful examples of Marriott’s collection brands, are our two Autograph Collection hotels (Pier One Sydney Harbour and Midnight Hotel Canberra), along with The Tasman, a Luxury Collection Hotel, which recently opened to wide acclaim in Hobart. Quincy Melbourne takes a colourful approach to guest rooms

“Right now, affluent domestic leisure travellers are our most profitable prospects.” Richard Crawford, Marriott International Targeting global explorers, Marriott’s collection-branded hotels and resorts offer a gateway to the world’s most exciting and desirable destinations. From legendary palaces and remote retreats to timeless modern classics, each property is a unique representation of its locale and a fusion of hospitality excellence with captivating, authentic experiences. In each case, these hotels are free from the more prescriptive brand standards that apply to Marriott’s ‘core’ brands. Interestingly, during our industry’s most challenging time, Marriott’s collection hotels have been among our most resilient performers, and they are some of the most sought-after brands by developers of new hotels. Right now, affluent domestic leisure travellers are our most profitable prospects, and they have voracious appetites for memorable travel experiences. Hotels with distinctive personalities have immense power to capture this interest, whilst their affiliation with the world’s largest hotel company also delivers commercial security for hotel owners and an assurance to guests that they are in the very best care.


Marc Hediger – Group Director of Acquisition and Development

In today’s world of hospitality and hotels, as well as restaurants and other enterprises as a matter of fact, the tendency is to aim for “tailor made”, offering bespoke and personal experiences to make a difference and stand out. This is what intrigues consumers and, for us, hotel guests, as the value-add and quality of service is an important factor to be able to gain that total lifestyle experience. But with so many hotels and chains offering their own version of boutique or lifestyle thread amongst their brands, it becomes even more important to be true to the word and offer the guest a personalised experience and service and recognition. It is very hard to differentiate through design only; instead the soul, people and service of a property are the main areas that can help set us apart. Therefore, at Ovolo Hotels, we not only live the brand story, but also focus on the soul and people delivering the services. None of our properties may look alike – they are all unique – but we focus on creating those individual lifestyle experiences and characters for each property – that bespoke and boutique magic that set us apart. From Ovolo Woolloomooloo, which bridges the gap between heritage and modern luxury and is complemented by tech-savvy inclusions, to Ovolo South Yarra, which embodies its philosophy of connecting with customers emotionally and complementing the local cultural scene.

Ovolo is continuously looking to create – rather than replicate – this type of feeling in any location, contributing to the neighbourhood establishment of a destination with its own character. Creating uplifting environments which elicit emotions should be a core value and central to any process in stirring the soul to bring harmony, balance and enjoyment to the guest experience. This intuitive process makes ‘magic happen’ when you get it right. >> 54

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Bring your special spark. Meet Michael, proud local business owner of Quest Melbourne Airport. After just 10 years working in sales roles for several hotel brands, Michael couldn’t resist the chance to be his own boss by becoming a Quest franchise business owner. Going into partnership with existing Quest business owners, Michael quickly developed an appetite for more business ownership opportunities. Now he’s supporting another aspiring hotel management professional to make the leap from employee to owner at Quest Wangaratta. Read more about Michael’s story at


“The expectations of seasoned leisure and business travellers are merging as they look to collect destinations visited.”

BW Premier Collection’s beachfront hotel Bayphere Pattaya in Jomtien, Thailand

Graham Perry, BWH Hotel Group

Being a sought-after hotel group in small and lifestyle boutiques, Ovolo is now ready to expand into up-and-coming areas to complement our portfolio. We are looking for properties that are well positioned to capture a wider market, within a two-hour radius from our cluster city properties –Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.


Shantha de Silva – Director of Operations

Pro-invest Hotels is proud to be bringing the Kimpton, voco and Hotel Indigo brands to life in partnership with IHG Hotels & Resorts. We are excited to be opening two voco hotels this year — voco Brisbane City Centre and voco Auckland Centre. Voco Brisbane City Centre is a conversion property, right on the Brisbane River and voco Auckland is a new-build tower development that will have a Holiday Inn Express hotel occupying the top half of the building. What really drew our interest when it came to the voco brand was that it was clean and visually interesting. Its hallmarks around sustainability were industry leading and this is something Pro-invest Group takes incredibly seriously. We know that our guests are increasingly making a conscious choice to stay at hotels that align with their own values, so it is important to us that we have a portfolio of hotels and brands that match our principles. At Pro-invest, we strive to be a trusted leader in environmental and social governance. Although the last year was challenging, we have ensured that our dedication to sustainability has gone unmoved — if anything, our commitments to initiatives and causes sitting under our key ESG pillars have enhanced over the past 12 months with many significant achievements, further supporting our Net Zero 2030 ambition. Hotels that embody their location, show a sense of personality, or just know what they stand for have grown to be more and more important and guests are looking for something that stands out from the crowd, can give them a sense of escapism, while being considerate to the place it inhabits. Kimpton Margot Sydney, which we opened in February is a shining example of how personality, genuine hospitality and a sense of belonging can combine to give people a memorable, everlasting hotel 56

HM The Business of Accommodation

stay experience. While there is a growing trend towards off the beaten track experiences, there remains strong demand for locations that marry authentic experiences with ease of access.


John Sutcliffe – Director of Development

During the pandemic, TFE Hotels launched two new brands: A by Adina into Canberra and Sydney, as well as Quincy in Melbourne. Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, these hotels have been extremely well received, demonstrating strong demand for high-end, genuinely unique hotel brands. A by Adina guests curate their stay — using technology and intuitive service to create a seamless, rather than simply transactional, experience which TFE calls Hotel Living. Appealing to business and leisure guests, the Hotel Living concept has been welcomed by the market and attracted the interest from several developers seeking to collaborate with TFE across ANZ. In addition to colourful guest rooms, which are maximised for work and play, the F&B at Quincy Melbourne is exceptional — bringing the tastes and flavours of Southeast Asia to Australia. The hand-picked team has created a destination which stands out in a crowded Melbourne market. Hosier Club guests enjoy all day access to The Q Club on level 28 — where refreshments are served all day — as well as a gold card which enables you to order food and drink 24/7 through a unique QR code, and have it delivered to you wherever you are in the hotel. As the market continues to recover from the impacts of COVID, we have no doubt this segment will be in high demand as guests seek out unique experiences, and quality product. The successful introduction of these two brands really demonstrates TFE’s ability to, firstly, identify market demands, and then successfully launch impactful brands. I’m pleased to say they have attracted the attention of several developers who wish to partner with us as we continue to roll out these brands in carefully selected locations. What can I say? We’re very excited about what lies ahead. n

Revolutionise your hotel operations

Hub OS supports all aspects of hotel operations, creating seamless, collaborative workflows that ultimately drive guest satisfaction. With 8 solutions in 1, this intuitive, user friendly platform gives staff easy access to real time data 24/7 and provides guests with tools to ‘self-serve’ conveniently from their own device. Every touchpoint is tracked, providing key insights into productivity, response times, incidents, customer behaviour, trends and so much more! Replace multiple disconnected systems Drive operational efficiency, productivity and guest experience Reduce the number of manual tasks and touchpoints involved in operational processes Centralise communication Digitise project plans, PMM, auditing, supplier agreements for more efficient planning and management The only operational support system you need! An average of $138k* saved in 1 year. *Based on 3 case studies of Australian Hub Hotels.



Guest experience

Guest in touch



“Hub has made everything better for us. Rooms are quicker to allocate, there is much more time for us on the floors, rooms are getting released earlier and we’re able to inspect rooms faster. I’m also having to walk around the hotel much less and radio contact is now minimal. Everything is just more efficient!” Crowne Plaza Terrigal, NSW

REAL ESTATE NSW has been the focus of much investment activity



The pandemic has driven a major shift in investor sentiment across asset classes and locations, with varying levels of financial performance based on lockdowns and border closures. Some two years on, investors are still waiting for any distressed assets to come to market – however, unlike the post-GFC period we have not witnessed pandemicinduced bank foreclosures or sales at discounts to valuations, albeit some groups have taken advantage of this opportunity to restructure. The unprecedented level of government stimulus, coupled with record low interest rates and availability 58

HM The Business of Accommodation

of capital has meant that there are a wide range of investment groups seeking to deploy capital and achieve strong investor returns. However, there is limited stock on the market to meet this demand, which has resulted in a seller’s market and is forcing investors to assess asset classes or locations they may not normally have considered. In this competitive environment, groups that are able to draw on substantial equity, don’t require finance, can move quickly and bid relatively unconditionally are the groups winning out over others. There has been an incredible exodus of capital moving north into Queensland from the southern states, chasing value and capital growth potential. Regional drive-to markets including the Gold Coast, Byron Bay and the Sunshine Coast have outperformed all expectations, and conversely, locations which are heavily reliant on flight capacity from international and interstate visitor arrivals have been affected. We have also seen strong investor interest in counter cyclical asset classes, such as backpacker hostels, with investors banking on a resurgence now that the international border has reopened.


Looking forward, growing risks our industry is facing include acute labour shortages and the rapidly increasing costs of goods and services, with inflationary pressures brought on by global supply chain disruption. In terms of development, rising construction costs will also mean that a number of building companies will become insolvent and many mooted hotel projects will not proceed, which will benefit existing asset values when assessed against replacement costs.


Hotel investment in Australia rebounded in 2021 and the momentum is expected to continue throughout 2022 as cashed up private investors, developers, owner operators and institutional capital with new investment mandates look to deploy funds into the hotel real estate sector. NSW has been the focus for much of this investment activity, representing over half of all hotel investment nationally last year, with Sydney representing 70% of transactions above $100 million. Of the number of transactions nationwide in 2021, 43% were in regional locations. Queensland was the next most active market after Sydney, with numerous smaller transactions, however, we anticipate a number of larger investment grade hotels and resorts will likely transact this year in Queensland as well as Victoria as major investors broaden their outlook beyond Australia’s gateway of Sydney. Much of the investment activity to date has been driven by global investment funds and private equity focused on portfolios and large landmark assets offering value add potential and in turn higher total returns. An example of this is Pro-invest’s acquisition of The Primus Hotel, which sold last year for $131.5 million and has since completed a major renovation as part of its recent relaunch in February, rebranding with IHG as the Kimpton Margot. Another example is the acquisition of the Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Central Park by global private equity

“There has been an incredible exodus of capital moving north into Queensland from the southern states.” Hayley Manvell, CBRE

firm KSL for $146 million that offered an array of asset enhancement opportunities, and KKR’s $315 million investment in the Sofitel Wentworth which will now undergo refurbishment. A number of other landmark Sydney hotel deals are imminent. Watch this space! Pub sales continue to boom and investment into regional locations continues to grow on the back of the domestic tourism recovery thematic. We are seeing increased institutional capital and new funds contemplated targeting strong regional destinations or cities and towns with diversified economies that can deliver higher yields. Many hospitality assets spanning hotels, resorts to caravan parks in such locations are underpinned by their substantial land holdings offering repositioning or redevelopments plays. The current shortage of regional hotel stock on the market and strong investment demand is presenting owners a compelling exit opportunity.


Karen Wales – National Director, Asia Pacific, Hotels Transaction Services

Private equity firm KSL acquired Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Central Park for $146 million

Deal flow was diverse throughout 2021 for the Australian hotel sector with eight transactions above $100 million, together totalling $1.77 billion, and with a depth of smaller deals. Regional Australia and development deals both played a prominent role as well, each accounting for more than half-a-billion dollars’ worth of trades, data from the Colliers 2022 Hotels Investment Review shows. In a marked shift from what we’ve seen over the past decade, investment capital was predominantly domestic, accounting for 55.8 per cent of total transaction volume. Offshore capital, where prevalent, was able to channel through domestic funds management groups as they look to satisfy the heightened appetite of cashed up global capital partners with a growing tilt towards the Asia Pacific region. On top of this, new entrants accounted for around 68 per cent of capital invested in Australian hotels in 2021, with investment funds responsible for more than half of total deal flow. The year saw a resurgence of cross-border business and consumer confidence as a result of increased vaccination rates, as corporates and investors transitioned to a ‘living with COVID’ mindset. Heading into 2022 we expect to see a similar level of deal flow as what was seen in 2021. The emergence of the Omicron variant has brought forward case numbers and helped drive increased triple vaccination levels, so while there is still some short-term pain expected, it should help confidence to build in Q2 and beyond. Demand is expected to come from both corporate and leisure travel and has the potential to drive above average near term returns before growth normalises to the levels which were evident pre-pandemic, but with a greater proportion of global travel pushed to perceived ‘safe’ destinations like Australia. n


SUPPLIER PROFILE Complementary colours light up the Executive Lounge at Pullman Rotorua, New Zealand


o eri lark, Hotel Int



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otel Interiors manufactures, supplies, delivers and installs commercially-warranted loose furniture FF&E and guest room joinery for the full range of accommodation projects across Australia and internationally. We have in-house designers who create furniture FF&E concepts and turn-key packages for those clients that need it or for pre-specified projects, we custom manufacture to match specification.

“Furniture choices are reflecting the increase in comfort guests are seeking.” Dennis Clark,

Hotel Interiors


What key trends are emerging in hotel interiors this year?

COVID has facilitated changes in design thinking for new hotels and for those being refurbished as the needs of guests and how they view and use their room has evolved. Trends reflect those guests looking for a more ‘residential’ experience, with room design tending to be more comfortable or ‘home-like’, while other operators are responding to the change in the way the corporate market experiences hotel stays and work — with smaller rooms, simplified room designs, increased technology,

HM The Business of Accommodation

and more comfortable and zoned lobbies and common areas — the aim being to get people out of their rooms and into shared, comfortable common spaces.

What are your clients looking to improve on when it comes to refurbishments?

For any client undertaking a refurbishment, the principal driver is to keep their property fresh and competitive to maximise bookings and return on investment. From the loose furniture FF&E and joinery perspective, operators are looking to maximise guest comfort while combining functionality, serviceability, and longevity in terms of both product quality and design. Furniture choices are reflecting the increase in comfort guests are seeking, for example, chaise lounges with a high coffee table so guests can work or relax comfortably in their room, combined with functionality for both guests and staff, for example, open robes and joinery, making smaller rooms appear larger, and easing the burden on housekeeping staff.

How important is sustainability when it comes to hotel interiors? Are there any key trends developing here?

We have seen an increase in sustainability and environmental requirements and expectations in projects, particularly in new builds over the past two years. We have worked on a number of projects with NABERS ratings and environmental directives as part of the project scope, and work with factories that can meet certain specifications and requirements for sustainability and environmental certification. We can see these requirements only increasing in the future and will continue to adapt accordingly. n


Back to business By Peter McBrearty, Les Clefs d’Or

Lucy Williams

Wellington welcomes next chapter Meet The InterContinental Wellington Concierge, LUCY WILLIAMS. Can you describe the career path you have travelled to your current position at the InterContinental Wellington?


efore I joined InterContinental, I worked in a number of hospitality roles in both the UK and Australia, learning the importance of delivering exceptional customer experience. My career at InterContinental Wellington started a little over six years ago as a food and beverage attendant. When a porter role in the Concierge Team opened up, Jason Eade offered me the role. I happily accepted and jumped at the opportunity to learn a different side to the hotel industry. Within the Concierge team, I worked through from Porter to Head Porter before becoming Concierge Supervisor in June 2018.

Was it a proud moment for you when you received your golden keys in January?

It was certainly a very proud moment having my keys presented to myself in the presence of General Manager Scott Hamilton, with Jason Eade and Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand president Kris Mosch pinning the Golden Keys in the Club InterContinental Lounge overlooking Wellington Harbour. It was especially significant to me as both Scott and Jason have played important roles in my development and progression.

How has the hospitality and tourism industry been faring in Wellington though the duration of the COVID restrictions?

This has been a very difficult time for everyone involved in face-to-face customer service and the restrictions prevented such interactions. However, Wellington bounced back quickly from the first lockdown ending in June 2020 with lots of domestic travel, families travelling and people wanting to visit family and friends again. Restaurants were thriving, concerts and sports events all went ahead. Here in Wellington and New Zealand as a whole, we have only started to be affected by the Omicron strain since January 2022, which has had a significant impact on all industries in the CBD. Many businesses have employees working from home, with restaurants and bars working on reduced hours. Everyone in Wellington is looking forward to getting over this last wave and welcoming everyone back to the Southernmost capital city in the world.

Have you found the focus on domestic visitors during COVID has presented a different range of requests and challenges?

Over the past two years, there has certainly been some significant changes. Domestic travellers were certainly more self-sufficient and tended to make the most of their bookings prior to beginning their travel. We did, however, see a significant increase in valet cars as more domestic travellers decided to road trip. n

AS WE TRANSITION from summer into autumn, many of our hotels continue to report a progressive increase in occupancy levels, along with a very welcome (if gradual) rise in the number of international arrivals, and this has meant that many of our members are finding themselves enjoying returning to their more traditional role of facilitating guest requests. However, challenging as these transitional months have proven to be at times, it’s been genuinely wonderful to see our corporate guests travelling (and booking function spaces) once again, restaurants full of happy diners, theatre performances booking out, events such as the Mardi Gras in Sydney, Moomba, the Grand Prix, and the International Comedy Festival in Melbourne proceeding successfully, interstate and international guests once again asking us for advice and assistance with bookings and itineraries, and the gradual resuscitation of a number of our formerly mothballed day tour companies. In a single week in Melbourne, for example, we recently found ourselves invited over three consecutive days to premium restaurants wishing to showcase their premises and menus, and that can only mean one thing — people are going out again, and businesses may finally feel they can see signs of light at the end of the tunnel. Meanwhile, over in New Zealand our Kiwi compatriots are in the final stages of planning their 2022 AGM, which for the first time will be held in the beautiful South Island university town of Dunedin, and back here in Australia we are preparing for our first in-person AGM since 2019, which will be held in Sydney at the end of July. Our members in both Melbourne and Sydney are both looking to hold their respective Tourism Expos later in the year, looking to replicate the success of our WA Expo in Perth last December. We, our properties, and our respective states and cities are getting busier, and although we are approaching what in normal times would normally be regarded as the quieter winter months — things are actually looking up!


FINANCE Holiday Inn Express Sydney Macquarie Park was awarded Aareal Bank’s first ever green loan, valued at $39 million




mid a worsening climate crisis, sustainable travel has never been more important to consumers. According to a 2021 Sustainable Travel report by, 83% of global travellers believe that it is vital, with 61% saying the pandemic has made them want to travel more sustainably in the future. The hotel industry alone accounts for around 1% of global emissions, according to UNWTO, and this is set to increase as demand continues to grow. Hotels and resorts are now ramping up efforts to reduce energy consumption not only to win the hearts of customers but to deliver operational savings and improve asset valuation. 62

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Schwartz Family Company Director, Jerry Schwartz, expects scrutiny on hotels’ environmental performance to grow. “There is a huge amount of interest from the travelling public about whether hotels are being genuine when it comes to their sustainability commitment,” Schwartz told HM. “The days of ticking the sustainability box by saying you encourage guests to re-use towels is over. It is now all about investing in renewables, reducing energy consumption and controlling waste. Hotel guests have every right to have ‘proof’ that the hotel is really walking the talk.” Schwartz said the company adopted the NABERS rating system because it is independent, based on science, and supports hotels in an ongoing journey towards greater energy and water efficiency. “A commitment to sustainability will not only reduce costs, but potentially win business, as corporate and conference tenders increasingly require a detailed outline of the hotel’s sustainability measures,” he said. “If that influences a large group booking or the holding of a four-day conference, then there is a direct benefit of having a NABERS rating. It is quantifiable and highly respected.” Schwartz Family Co has invested in solar power to reduce operational costs and the environmental impact of its hotels. “We have solar panels creating 100kW of energy per hour at Mercure Sydney, Rydges Sydney Central, the Fairmont Resort, and Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley,” Schwartz said. “This contributes to about 5% of its annual load.” In addition, Schwarts operates a solar farm in the Hunter Valley which produces 5mW per hour, which is

Schwartz Family Co. Director, Jerry Schwartz, has invested in solar power to reduce operational costs and the environmental impact of hotels

Australian Government-owned ‘green bank’, Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) says investment into greener hotels can deliver both economic and environmental benefits and improve customer experience. “In light of recent challenges in the industry, sustainability can increase resilience and improve risk mitigation as well as increased retention and engagement with guests and staff,” according to CEFC. The CEFC is backing Pro-invest Group’s development of the Holiday Inn Express Melbourne Southbank hotel, which is targeting a 5-star National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) Energy rating. With the support of AU$39 million finance from CEFC, Pro-invest is using the latest clean energy technologies in the construction stage with the aim of achieving a 25 per cent drop in the hotel’s energy use. This energy saving is expected to provide ongoing benefits for the hotel, carbon-conscious guests and Dr Jerry Schwartz, Schwartz Family Co. for the environment.

“The days of ticking the sustainability box by saying you encourage guests to re-use towels is over.”

Solar panels offer a clean energy solution at Mercure Sydney

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about five times the requirement of the whole hotel, he explained. Any power not used is transferred through the grid to the company’s other NSW and ACT hotels. “In effect, we produce enough energy to run these hotels,” he said. “We are building a second solar farm which will more than double our current manufacturing of energy. This will ensure that we will be using 100% renewable energy for our NSW hotels.”



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Energy efficiency innovations including sensor lighting, metering upgrades, demand-controlled ventilation with occupancy sensors and integrated heat recovery systems, in addition to energy efficient building management systems have also been used to further reduce emissions. Pro-invest Group Managing Partner and Co-CEO Europe, Sabine Schaffer, said it’s crucial that the developer, operator and asset managers have a shared interest in making sustainability a success at the hotel and portfolio level. “This is not always the case, as there is sometimes little incentive, for example, from the builder to design the building with efficient technologies, which can impact the operational trading of the hotel which asset management and operations have to then tackle and navigate,” Schaffer explained. “The alignment of a hotel’s re/development, operations and asset management allows for the hotel to be efficiently designed/built, while operations and asset management ensure the effective day-to-day operations of the hotel meet set out sustainability, maximising the hotels’ efficiency levels.”


Pro-invest Group is in the process of refining its emissions targets and exploring further avenues across its hotels to reduce emission levels to meet its 2030 target. Schaffer says the implementation and management of sustainability initiatives and systems have supported savings, and improved access to finance. “Initiatives such as A Greener Stay deliver direct cost savings, while others have yield returns in other ways,” she said. “This includes the allowance for early identification of inefficiencies in hotel operations. By actively monitoring the assets, we can identify early on what the energy conservation measures need to be implemented and save energy expenses down the line.” Other benefits include access to green loans due to strong ESG credentials, Schaffer added. In 2021, Pro-invest Group’s Holiday Inn Express Sydney Macquarie Park was awarded Aareal Bank’s first ever green loan, valued at $39 million, and further green loan achievements and discussions are well underway. ESG efforts have also enabled competitive >>



“It’s a journey, we’re not there yet, but we will continue to strive until we are using 100% clean energy.” Geoff York, Crystalbrook Collection

advantages when applying for environmental grants. “Overall, we see sustainability as producing ongoing direct and indirect financial benefits, and this will only intensify moving forward,” Schaffer added.


CEFC Director of Property Investments, Michael Di Russo, notes that little changes can go a long way when it comes to reducing impact on the environment. “It’s not only large-scale changes that unlock energy savings — eco-smart mini bar fridges and high performing air conditioning systems for example have a positive impact and can be implemented without compromising guest comfort,” Di Russo said. “The hotel sector can take real action to reduce carbon

emissions and benefit from improved sustainability.” Crystalbrook Collection, which operate under the ethos of Responsible Luxury, is proof that starting small can pay off. “We started small, making eco-enhancements and changes where we could — recycled wooden key cards, upcycled coat hangers made from pressed receipts/ paper,” said Crystalbrook Collection CEO Geoff York. “As we have grown, with more hotels and larger teams, all with their own unique experiences, passions and

plans, we have been able to grow these initiatives.” A few of the sustainability initiatives in place across the hotel group today include reducing paper through the use of technology, farming its own beef, sourcing at least 80% of produce from within a three-hour drive of each hotel, and omitting single-use plastic from its hotels. Crystalbrook Collection produces a small amount of its own clean energy through rooftop solar panels, for example, and works with energy providers to use renewable energy where possible. The company has also partnered with EarthCheck to transition to more clean energy. “I would say it’s a journey, we’re not there yet, but we will continue to strive until we are using 100% clean energy,” York said. For Crystalbrook, sustainability is not about reducing costs, “it’s about doing the right thing”. “I can’t say we’ve reduced operational costs at this stage, but I can say changing to more sustainable ways of operating hotels and resorts doesn’t have to come with exorbitant costs,” York said. He advises getting in touch with other businesses that are doing sustainability well and learning from them. “Start small. Little changes can make a big difference,” he said. “Reach out to other businesses you see doing great things in sustainability and ask for help. Throughout our journey we’ve been heartened by the great sharing environment that exists between businesses looking to operate more sustainably.” n

Crystalbrook Byron encourages guests to use bicycles to get around


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TECHNOLOGY Quality televisions take centre stage in the newly refurbished rooms at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins


dvances in technology and the rise of streaming services in recent years have changed the way we consume television. Netflix, the world’s largest streaming service, has around 222 million subscribers globally, and rivals like Disney+, HBO Max, Paramount+ and AppleTV are continuing to expand at pace. These changes to how we view television are naturally having an impact on the entertainment offering that hotels provide, with guests seeking technologies that support their viewing preferences. “From a guest entertainment perspective, we have gone from movie-tapes in the basement, to premium ondemand entertainment, to the guests embracing BringYour-Own-Device (BYOD) and Bring-Your-Own-Content (BYOC),” said Westan Philips Professional Displays Hospitality Channel Manager, Richie Cheng. “The services provided over time have been through an interactive portal that displays hotel compendium, movies-on-demand, room-service menus, property facilities etc. The common device at the end is always the television set.”






As hotels follow homes into the digital age, guests who opt to bring their own device, such as a smart phone or tablet with a variety of entertainment apps, may wish to cast directly to the hotel TV, and therefore will expect the capability to do so easily, as they would in the comfort of their own home. As a result, the standard of technology expected by guests is higher than ever, according to Samsung Australia Senior Director of Display and Memory Solutions, Phil Gaut. “Guests now expect a minimum standard of inroom entertainment to what they experience at home and hotels are upgrading tech and TVs accordingly – including high resolution, surround sound and stylish design,” Gaut said. But casting on its own misses out a significant section of the population. According to Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey 2021, Matures (75+ year-olds) and Boomers (56-75-year-olds) are only spending between 19% and 28% of their total TV viewing on streaming video services. “If older guests aren’t au fait with streaming in their home environment, it’s unlikely they will want to cast a streaming app in a hotel,” said Foxtel National Manager for Accommodation, Scott Wiedemann. “Our own platform data seems to support this, with guest usage of casting at only 5%. And with the reintroduction of international travellers, many of whom won’t be able to use their international streaming apps in Australia, hoteliers should consider combining linear TV, free-to-view on demand libraries and casting together so they’re catering for all their guests’ viewing needs.” Hotel televisions can also support guests who wish to work or connect with friends online during their stay. “In-room TV usage is broadening out to be used as a second large screen through screen sharing/ mirror technology, for content gaming and as a work monitor,” Gaut added. At Hisense Australia, venues are increasingly seeking Hotel Mode as an essential feature. “[Hotel Mode gives] control to the venue manager to manage specific functions, settings and channels that would be readily available on a residential model – ensuring guests can enjoy all the comforts of home,” said Hisense Australia National Retail Training Manager, Chris Mayer. For commercial venues, the company has implemented ‘Miracast’ functionality which allows users to share the screen from an Android device or compatible Windows 10 or 11 computer.


But Ci Group VP Hospitality, Travis Anderson, says the most striking thing about hotel in-room tech is how quickly it is going beyond entertainment. “Once a TV effectively becomes a simplified computer interface it can do so many more useful things for the guest and hotel alike,” Anderson said. Today, the hotel TV acts as a technology hub within rooms, 66

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displaying the hotel’s own welcome and promotional messaging on screen, and controlling connected smart devices such as lights, air con, blinds and more. “Guests are already able to stream great content to smart TVs, but it’s the automation of controlling the lights, blinds, ceiling fans, TV, AC and even the door lock from a central point which we see as the next level experience in premium hotels,” Gaut said. Hotels are also moving away from traditional check-in and check-out at reception to other tech-driven options including contactless self-service terminals, from guests personal mobile and via Smart TV Hub in room, according to Gaut. The hotels that are leading in this technology race are adapting to guest demand in areas such as casting personal streaming services and contactless transactions, as well as using smart technology to market and deliver a range of hotel services. “Not only can they promote hotel services on screen, but guests can place their order direct, streamlining service delivery,” Anderson said. “You can also use the medium to profit from the promotion and sale of local attractions or services from outside the hotel.” Anderson says getting diverse technologies to work together is the key pre-requisite to the guest room technology of tomorrow. n

Smart TVs can act as a technology hub within rooms, controlling connected smart devices such as lights, air con and blinds

Hotel televisions can support guests who wish to work during their stay

Hotel guests are embracing the options to Bring-Your-OwnContent (BYOC)

TECHNOLOGY Digital key cards reduce the number of physical touchpoints in a hotel, minimising the spread of germs



ncreasing awareness of health and safety as a result of the COVID pandemic has seen the hotel industry embrace new technologies to deliver a higher standard of guest experience. Contactless experiences are high on the agenda as hoteliers seek to minimise the spread of germs with faster and more efficient alternatives to routine processes such as check-in and check-out.


Assa Abloy Global Solutions Australia Managing Director, Michael Benikos, said the industry’s renewed interest in technology has seen many hotel brands around the world turn to digital key services as an enhanced cleanliness requirement. “With the success of digital key services hinging on effective guest adoption, solution providers are continuing to do their part to ensure ease-of-use and a more seamless experience,” Benikos said. 68

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“This now not only includes providing guests with access to digital key services using a hotel’s own mobile app, but can also include providing options for guests to use and store mobile keys within digital wallets that sidestep the need to use a separate app.” Assa Abloy Global Solutions is a provider of advanced security technology for the hospitality industry, and recently partnered with Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour to introduce VingCard Essence door locks and Liverton self-check-in kiosks at the hotel. The technology is designed to offer maximum guest security, enhanced convenience for guests and reduces the number of physical touchpoints, an important factor in lowering the spread of germs. Guests can use the kiosks to check-out and pay their bill in a safe, socially-distanced way, and this frees up staff to attend other tasks that help deliver a better guest experience. This also means hotels can benefit from increased labour savings. The Accor property is one of the first Sofitel-branded hotels to adopt self-check-in kiosk technology. Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour Owner Jerry Schwartz said the addition of these new technologies is about providing guests with the latest in hotel stay experience innovation. “We strive to provide our guests with a truly exceptional world-class experience, and meeting their evolving safety and comfort needs is the critical first step in doing so,” said Schwartz.


The door locks introduced at the Sofitel promote guest safety and allow travellers to enter the building and their rooms with ease. For added security, the technology features anti-key cloning abilities to eliminate the risk of unauthorised access. Once the hotel activates mobile access, guests can digitally check-in and access their rooms through their own devices, further limiting exposure to germs.


In an effort to provide guests with more convenience and a personalised experience, Benikos says many properties are now leveraging the full capabilities of IoT-based platforms. “By adopting such technologies, hoteliers are finding that they can gain a competitive edge by instantly tailoring services to each individual guest — whether by ensuring that guestroom thermostats are at the preferred setting the moment a guest checks-in, or by pushing promotional offers to guest devices based on their realtime onsite location,” he said. Hotel operations software business Hub OS has also noticed a rise in hotels seeking guest-facing technology. “Living in such a fast-paced world, guests expect an almost immediate response to their requests and solutions to their problems,” said Hub OS Head of Sales Australia and New Zealand, Alana Stewart. “Service optimisation tools support faster response and resolution times by reducing the number of touchpoints involved in simple tasks.”

“We find so many hotels are still using pen and paper, which is massively time consuming.” Alana Stewart, Hub OS

Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour Owner, Jerry Schwartz, is improving guest safety to deliver a world-class experience

The pandemic has also increased demand for selfserve options, Stewart explained, with some enjoying the convenience of managing technology independently.


In most cases, technology results in faster and more efficient processes, and there are a variety of ways technology can support hotel staff to work smarter. Many hotels are also looking to digitise manual tasks for this reason, according to Hub OS. “We find so many hotels are still using pen and paper, which is massively time consuming but also a nightmare to keep track of, report on and store,” Stewart said. “Digitising not only day to day tasks, but also supplier management, defect lists, preventative maintenance, for example, can save hotels hours on labour costs, as well as making ordering, auditing, security of data, to name a few, much more efficient and effective.” However, if there are numerous systems in use at a hotel, with little to no integration, manual tasks are sometimes required to assist operational processes, Stewart explained. “Operators want the optimal operational solution, but with as few systems as possible. One system will never do all, so the ability to integrate with other systems is key,” Stewart said. With so much sensitive information housed in one place and the ever-increasing rise of cybersecurity threats, another growing technology trend is the adoption of secure cloud-based systems. “By leveraging such technologies, properties can finally keep pace with the latest risks without requiring a costly system upgrade each time a new vulnerability is discovered,” Benikos said. “Instead, cloud-based systems are able to automatically receive software updates that ensure properties always have the latest version enhancements, guaranteeing continuous peace-of-mind for both hoteliers and their guests.” n Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour is one of the first Sofitel-branded hotels to adopt self-check-in kiosk technology


FOOD AND BEVERAGE An innovative new menu by Sean Connolly has been introduced at Gowings Bar and Grill, QT Sydney


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he food and beverage landscape is evolving rapidly in Asia Pacific as hotels invest in high quality and memorable experiences to satisfy the demands of discerning guests. Hotels are upping their game, recruiting acclaimed chefs, such as Luke Mangan, who has been enlisted to helm the restaurant at the new Kimpton Margot Sydney, and Sean Connolly who is leading the recently reopened Gowings Bar & Grill at QT Sydney. Meanwhile, Ovolo Hotel Group has committed to a vegetarian-led food offering as part of a pledge to ethical eating and conscious cuisine. But behind the scenes, this quickly evolving food and beverage landscape is prompting many hotels to invest in automated procurement technology to improve processes and, ultimately, the service they provide to guests. Minor Hotels Regional General Manager – QLD and WA, Golden Whitehead, told HM that procurement technology and consulting is more important now than ever before. “With over 20 food and beverage venues across our portfolio, it is essential that we utilise procurement technology to enhance efficiency and productivity,” Whitehead said. “Procurement technology provides real time data on what has been ordered across all outlets at any time. This is especially helpful when reviewing purchasing volumes, in that understanding which products require the most spend, allows for price negotiation with suppliers.” Whitehead, the former Head of F&B at Minor Hotels, has implemented completely new F&B systems and technologies at the hotel group, and, in his current role, oversees the operations of several F&B venues across QLD and WA. In his experience, procurement technology also improves productivity in the finance space. “In purchasing from multiple suppliers via one platform, we can pay a single invoice, rather than spending hours on the administration required with multiple invoices,” he said. “Given the diverse geographical locations of our venues, it’s important that we work with local

consultants to ensure that we truly understand and are properly catering to our local markets. For example, the demand of a capital city such as Brisbane will be different to the buying patterns of a regional town in Queensland.” In today’s rapidly evolving market, Whitehead notes the impact that technology can have on the guest experience. “Guests are increasingly seeking virtual ordering options,” he said. “We work with companies such as MondoMenu, M&U and OrderUp support with QR ordering, while kBox supports the online distribution of our food & beverage venues.” With all these different companies, consultants help to tie this all together operationally, and can assist across multiple venues within the same market, according to Whitehead. “Consultation in all its forms is now a vital part of an efficient and profitable F&B operation, in maintaining a strong standard across all aspects of the operation, while maintaining labour costs at a profitable level,” he said.


“Guests are increasingly seeking virtual ordering options.” Golden Whitehead, Minor Hotels

Many venues in the hospitality industry are operating with reduced headcounts

Over the last two years, Australia’s labour and skills shortage has placed a heavy burden on hospitality with many venues working on reduced headcounts, both in their Operational teams as well as Administration and Finance. For this reason, many are turning to a procure-to-pay system to reduce their workload, according to FutureLog Oceania Vice President Operations Benjamin Krieg. “Through desktop and mobile applications, we automate purchasing, receiving, stocktaking, menu engineering and accounts payable workflows fully interfaced with POS, Accounts Payable and Finance Systems, irrespective of whether it’s a 100-seat restaurant, a 2,000-room hotel with Conferencing and 10+ outlets, or anything in between,” Krieg explained. “This reduces administration and manual paperwork, enabling our customers to focus on what’s important; spending time with their guests.” n


HEALTH AND HYGIENE Travellers want to know that they are staying in a safe and clean environment




heightened awareness of hygiene and indoor air quality due to the COVID pandemic has highlighted the need for stringent sanitary processes in indoor settings such as hotels. Over the last two years, many hotels have invested in new methods and technologies to assure travellers that they are staying in a safe and clean environment. According to the latest research by Rentokil Initial, concerns around safety are still top of mind for guests as they return to hotels. The survey found Australians feel most at risk from COVID-19 and other airborne viruses in shopping centres and hospitality venues (68% each), followed by hotels and 72

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aged care facilities (67% each), medical practices (64%) and workplaces (55%). Consumers now have a better understanding of COVID-19 and the ease at which it can spread by aerosol transmission when people mingle indoors for extended periods. And they are looking for hotels and hospitality venues to offer that extra layer of protection during their visit, Rentokil Initial Managing Director, Pacific, Andrew Stone, explained. “Customers now expect accommodation providers to provide a safer environment for guests and staff,” Stone told HM. “The most effective way to ensure a safer and more hygienic environment is via a complete 360-degree approach, including precautions such as vaccination, mask-wearing, good natural ventilation, hand and surface hygiene, and isolating and testing if feeling

unwell. For an additional layer of protection, COVID-safe plans should also include air purification technology.”


While COVID-19 is the big concern for guests at the moment, there are a variety of other health issues that can be presented by poor air quality. As the seasons change,


many guests will be affected by allergies, and at hotels in CBD locations the increased air pollution from cars and buses could impact the air quality during their stay. Fortunately, advances in air purifying technology means that most systems can address Andrew Stone, Rentokil Initial these issues. “Air purification is an effective solution to tackle not just COVID-19 and other airborne pathogens, but also pollutants including particulates, dust and pollen, gases, smoke and fumes as well as viruses, bacteria, and mould,” Stone said. “HEPA filtration goes some way to minimise the transmission of airborne diseases. However, to effectively combat COVID-19, hoteliers should consider advanced air purification and decontamination technology.” Stone said technology with a medical grade pre-filter will filter dirty air, a carbon filter will neutralise toxic air and a patented UV-C reactor chamber will safely and

“Air purification is an effective solution to tackle not just COVID-19 and other airborne pathogens, but also pollutants.”

Many hotels have invested in new technologies to improve air quality

efficiently decontaminate airborne viruses and biological pathogens that traditional filters do not, killing 99.9999% of COVID-19 in the air. Stone’s advice to those looking to invest in air purifiers is: “Confirm that they will be installed, regularly serviced, and cleaned by trained technicians, to ensure the devices are operating at maximum efficacy.”


Australian National University Professor of Global Environmental Health, Sotiris Vardoulakis, also backs air purifiers, saying that those with formaldehyde sensors and sealed HEPA 13 standard filtration, when appropriately used, “can reduce exposure to formaldehyde and significantly improve indoor air quality”. Another leader in this space is Dyson, which partners with a number of major hotels such as Next Hotel Melbourne, Autograph Collection Pier One Sydney and Accor hotels. Accor Pacific Vice President Operations NSW/VIC, Scott Boyes, said: “We invest heavily in air handling units to deliver the best possible air quality to our guests.” Using auto mode, hoteliers or their guests can maintain a preferred room temperature and air quality levels, while an air purifier can be entirely controlled by an app and activated by voice control. Contactless hand dryer technology is another way that Dyson helps hotels to reduce the spread of germs. With touch-free technology to dry hands in 10-14 seconds, using HEPA purified air, guests’ hands are dried quickly and hygienically, according to Dyson. With HEPA filters installed as standard, Dyson says these machines capture 99.95% of particles including bacteria and viruses. n Hotels have introduced stringent hygiene measures to keep guests safe






Graeme Dickson – Partner

There is an upsurge in the number of new operators seeking to enter the Australian market. At the same time the seismic reverberations emanating from COVID continue to impact the Australian hotel industry – not least with respect to issues relating to the negotiation of hotel management agreements. Whilst COVID has been an incredibly destabilising event, more broadly it is a telling reminder that the impact of uncertainty on risk needs to be even more deeply considered when negotiating these long-term agreements (usually at least 10 years). Agreements negotiated prior to the onset of COVID are showing signs of stress in a post COVID world. The impact is profound and widespread with the prospect that COVID-like impacts may intensify. 74

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“Negotiations with new entrants require a ‘thinking outside the boxʼ mindset.” Graeme Dickson, Baker McKenzie

LEGAL EXPERTS FROM BAKER MCKENZIE AND WATSON FARLEY AND WILLIAMS ARE ON HAND TO SHARE THEIR INSIGHTS ON RECENT HOTEL MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT (HMA) ACTIVITY. This enhanced uncertainty impacts on negotiations with new entrants in a variety of ways. These include: • Ability to deliver. A new entrant has no track record and hence little or no ability to determine how it will compete in the local market. If it is unable to compete, then what enhanced measures should be available to an owner? Arguably traditional performance tests may not work, and hence heightened consideration may need to be given to without cause, like termination provisions applying either from the outset of the arrangement, after a reasonable probationary period or for a specified period with or without a termination payment. Further, an upfront payment or income guarantee may be appropriate (supported by an entity with sufficient accessible financial substance). • Focus on marketing. Hotels operating in multiple jurisdictions generally allocate funds equally


HMAs remain the dominant form of operator/brand engagement in the ANZ market across the entire network. This needs to be given consideration in the present uncertain circumstances (particularly if certain markets are embargoed). There is a strong inclination to disproportionately allocate funds to the local market for a specified period to ensure that the brand receives adequate recognition. • Departure from traditional norms. Agreements with established operators usually contain stringent obligations in relation to matters such as construction milestones, debt sourcing and restrictions on the sale of the hotel. It is at least questionable as to how many of these stringent requirements are applicable in these circumstances. Negotiations with new entrants require a ʻthinking outside the box’ mindset.


Robert Williams – Head of Hotels & Hospitality Asia Pacific

New HMA activity is as busy as ever in ANZ and the Pacific – fuelled by both brands that are new to our market (think Ace, Standard, Selina, 25 hours, Treehouse, Kimpton, Garden Inn) but also by conversion

New-to-market brands such as Kimpton are driving HMA activity locally

No question it is an exciting time, particularly as the new build product that is coming will take the hotel stock in ANZ up a notch, even if some markets do feel the drag of new supply for a little while. HMAs remain the dominant form of operator/brand engagement in the ANZ market, and whilst there has been a great deal of commentary around white label platforms, we are just not seeing — at least not yet — that segment get traction in any volume. Leases are still on the table for some deals, with some operators, but that is now a very limited opportunity — and with force majeure inevitably now suspending rent obligations, leases are less attractive anyway. We are seeing the following trends: • Local developers are dominating the scene, and operators are finding local presence and relationships are more important than ever • Many developers are continuing to value large, branded operators • Interference from converging brands within the same system is a growing concern for many in Sydney and Melbourne • Upfront development concerns around feasibility and financing are getting prioritised, often at some cost to the long-term deal — not a new phenomenon • Boutique operators who can demonstrate a focus on the bottom line and senior management engagement are getting cut through, particularly on regional opportunities • Larger operators are more rigid on their loyalty, shared services, procurement etc. — drafting all fertile ground for agitation later in the asset’s lifecycle • Financial support is rare — in most cases, guarantees are now standasides, with claw backs • Key money is on offer — though in our view is a fairly blunt tool. Of course, we are fielding calls from owners on terminating HMAs. Any relationship that was in trouble going into COVID is likely to be more stressed now, and with a buoyant transaction market, vacant possession is attractive. We work for both operators and owners so get both perspectives. My experience is that it will be a rare set of circumstances that sees an operator walk away from an HMA. But it does happen. n

opportunities as those early 2000s agreements expire and sale transactions throw up vacant possession. Every operator has to have a conversion brand. All types of operators are participating in this — the big globals, niche US and Asian brands, as well as local ANZ platforms like Lancemore and Event, across limited service, lifestyle right through to luxury.


Image credit: Atelier Illume.


Policy Hotel Hong Kong taps into the trend towards muted, calm spaces.


Juliet Ashworth – Creative Director/Owner

When it comes to hotels, regional Australia is about to have its time in the sun. Let’s face it, the hotel offering for both tourists and business travellers outside our major metropolitan areas has generally been abysmal. Bland brands, offering little more than a roof over your head, are going to be pitching themselves against personality-driven, tailored new offerings. Lifestyle hotels continue to flourish with room numbers expected to double in the next couple of years and regional Australia will get its share. Accor alone plans to grow its lifestyle range by 25% worldwide. Right now, here at Chada, we’re creating a new mid-market brand aimed at the fly-in fly-out worker who needs short- to medium-term accommodation to rival Airbnb. We’re also redesigning a bunch of tired properties in remote locations that will provide exciting new holiday experiences for domestic and returning international travellers. Despite everything that this continent has to offer, quality experiential travel accommodation is still undercatered for compared to similar territories. So, with a shift of focus away from the CBDs to regional areas and outer city suburbs, we’ll see the rise of lifestyle hotels that are much 76

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more than a bed for the night. They’ll reflect the locale in a micro fashion, exploring stories from the surrounding neighbourhood and celebrating local culture, art, history, and personalities. They’ll be places for locals and the guests to mingle and may even offer co-working spaces. Catering will hero local producers and produce. Our job, as brand makers, will be to enhance the travel experience and create a sense of belonging that has been largely lacking in our regional hotels. Overlaid on this new focus are building costs at an eye-watering high thanks to the shortages in supply of materials, so refurbishment dollars must be spent on the things that guests actually need, prompting a new kind of simplicity with emphasis on smart technology. As the guest experience becomes increasingly digitalised, a hotel stay should be more personalised with human interactions provided via communal spaces. With the health crisis almost behind us, the desire for experiences with meaning and a genuine local feel will gain even more value.


Angela Biddle – Director

We’ve been observing some interesting postpandemic shifts in the way we live, work, and relax with new kinds of spatial arrangements and design treatments. Firstly, hotels have become remote working spaces; and guests can now seamlessly merge business and leisure by extending weekend stays into the working week. With dedicated workspaces often in common areas, gone are the traditional in-room desks common in corporate hotels of yesteryear – which means guest room sizes can be smaller. But they still need to work hard to be multifunctional, with ‘vignettes’ acting as cues for sleeping, light working and relaxing – often within a compact footprint.


Secondly, connectivity is paramount to facilitate flexible working. Both within rooms and in common areas, guests need to be able to plug in to their work sphere, physically and psychologically. At the same time, there is also a move towards disconnecting, particularly in destination properties. With wellbeing becoming more prioritised, some guests are looking for a guest experience where they can truly get away from it all. Thirdly – perhaps aligned with the rise in popularity of regional tourism in Australia, thanks to the inability to travel abroad – we have seen more interest in local, sustainable design solutions. Sustainability in hotels is finally gaining momentum with most operators, and now many owners, leading policy with their own targets. Complementing this is the desire to tell a local story – both an Australian story and where possible, a truly local one – of material, craft, and product, including objects and accessories in the guest room by local artists and artisans. Perhaps the silver lining of pandemic-related cost increases for imported materials and shipping rates is the opportunity for our designs to craft compelling stories which allows guests to truly connect to place.


compete somewhat with its neighbouring competition of new builds entering the market. The only way to do this is to do a refurb, but keep it to the bare minimum, which essentially means paint, fabrics and possibly and possibly an art print or two. Those properties that were COVID hotels would not only need to be refurbished to rectify the constant high destruction from quarantine guests which is exaggerated by low or zero maintenance from hotel staff, but possibly rebranded too to erase the tainted perception of the public.


We are seeing an appetite for more escapism in hotel rooms as an emerging trend. Whether it be a muted and calm space or high energy, the common thread seems to be immersive experiences that take you out of your ordinary life. Bathing is key and breaking down the barriers and conventions of bathroom design is something we are playing around with in our current projects. With rooms trending smaller and smaller to allow for larger social spaces, we are rethinking every aspect of the room – asking ourselves whether certain elements are still necessary or if they can become dual purpose. The new luxury is no longer about sheer room size and marble bathrooms – it is intuitive design that anticipates your every need through the integration of seamless technology, the thoughtful touches and little surprises that enhance your experience. In some ways it could be seen as the hotel industry’s way of responding to the success of some of the more adventurous Airbnb properties around the world that grab attention and inspire guests to post and share on social media. After all, why would you stay at an Airbnb where you have to self-cater and spend your last hour cleaning if you can stay in a hotel and just relax right up until the last moment? n

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We are noticing an interest in refurbishment and refreshments a lot more than usual at the moment, for a handful of reasons. Many distressed assets have been acquired as a result of the COVID squeeze, most with an intentional overdue refreshment plan required typically to meet the rebrand standard or the new market positioning. With travel restrictions only easing recently and the nationwide hospitality staff shortage, most hotels have limited operation to only 10-30% occupancy, those being the lucky ones not to have shut its doors completely. Some owners have either being forced to pull their periodic refurbishment earlier than schedule to make use of the downtime, while others have found opportunity in keeping floors hoarded off while they do a refurbishment. The other reason is over the last two years we’ve seen very little tourism, so those hotels that aren’t COVID hotels have had very little revenue generated. This essentially means two things: typically, an unused product tends to age quicker than a used product, and the accumulated tax-deductible reserves used for refurbishment haven’t been filled quite as expected. This aged product now needs to be refreshed to maintain a market hold at a price lower than expected and


Rachel Luchetti, Luchetti Krelle

Rachel Luchetti – Principal

Clifford Rip – Principal

signers value furni r, de shin alle gs m s wi t th ge

“We are seeing an appetite for more escapism in hotel rooms as an emerging trend.”




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p os

ducation and training in the hotels industry has come a long way over the last two decades, with the formal university-level education and training, in many cases, replacing the traditional hands-on approach that many hoteliers had taken with their junior staff. Event Hospitality recently launched an annual Leadership Accelerator program that aims to combine the best of both types of training to support emerging leaders to advance their careers. The Elevate Leadership Accelerator offers participants practical and challenging on-the-job experience across all departments to prepare them for a General Manager position. “We feel a real obligation to our people to give them the skills to have a good satisfying career with us,” Event Hospitality Director of Hotels and Resorts, Norman Arundel, told HM exclusively. “In a hotel business, we’re only as good as our General Managers. One of the problems we’ve had is when people get appointed to their first General Manager’s position, there’s no real support.” In order to address this, Event handpicked participants from a variety of hotel departments to take part in this year’s program. Throughout the course, they will build specialised knowledge, operational experience, and leadership skills, including learning how to use Emotional Intelligence to engage others and develop high performing teams. There will be a mix of face-to-face and online group learning, with the support of a mentor to guide each member along the way. “They’ve all been given a mentor, who might be an area manager or senior general manager of another hotel, that they will meet every week,” Arundel explained. “Every three months, we’ll be bringing this team together for a face-to-face at one of the hotels for several days.” Course participants will receive training from inNorm al A house experts through a series of masterclasses run de and complete a Finance Training program l, E ve nt led by Event’s Financial Operations H Controllers and Head of Finance. They also complete an external management course, High Performance Management, and receive a nationally recognised Cert IV qualification in Leadership and Management. Former Hayman Island General Manager and host of Travel Channel reality show Resort Rescue, Shane Green, is also lending his expertise to the program. “We’ve got 18 people in the program this year, all existing employees,” said Arundel. “They’re either young people who’ve just been appointed as a General Manager




Budding General Managers need to understand the workings of all hotel departments



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Emerging leaders from Event hotel brands including QT are taking part in the Leadership Accelerator program

for the first time, so they’re very green, or people who we see as aspiring General Managers.” While this year’s program was by invitation only, application for the 2023 course will open at the end of each year.


The course is designed to support people from all departments within the hotel business to reach their potential. And this year’s course has a 50:50 gender split. Rydges North Sydney Executive Assistant Manager, Brittany Peacock-Smith, is one of the participants in this year’s Leadership Accelerator. Having joined Event five years ago, she started out at Rydges North Sydney as the Associate Director of Sales, where she worked for a year, before moving on to Rydges World Square in 2017 to take up the position of Director of Sales and Marketing. In October 2021, Peacock-Smith was promoted to Executive Assistant Manager of the hotel. Prior to working with Event, Peacock-Smith said she had never entertained thoughts of attaining a General Manager role. “The other hotel groups that I previously worked for only promoted Front Office Managers to General Managers,” she told HM exclusively. 80

HM The Business of Accommodation

“We all want to be the best General Manager we can be.”

“Having that diversity of General Managers that come from a variety of backgrounds is why people like me enter the EVT group and never leave, as the opportunities for growth are endless. It also means that we can use our colleagues to learn from and bounce ideas off though a strong collaborative workplace.” Peacock-Smith plans to draw as much knowledge from the course as possible to apply to the day-to-day operations of the hotel. “Like all of my fellow colleagues in this course, our main goal is the same – we all want to be the best possible General Manager we can be,” she said. “We want to come to work every day knowing that our staff will be inspired and motivated through our actions, which inevitably leads to success. I think this course is designed for us all to think this way and ultimately become the best versions of ourselves, through the guidance of the EVT Senior Executives and experts like Shane Green who promote performance, experience and customer service.” n

Brittany Peacock-Smith, Rydges North Sydney

Insider guides, executive style. Catch over 50 TV episodes of Wayfarer Series 1, 2 & 3 now on our website and YouTube channel.

Cr aig



els Hot Vie a L

People on the Move The latest key HR movements across the hotel industry Crowne Plaza Adelaide has welcomed a new General Manager to the team. Shaun Parsons joins the hotel following a 14-year tenure with the Marriott/Starwood group in the Middle East. Parsons has extensive hotel experience and a strong food and beverage skillset, which will be an asset when it comes to managing Koomo, Adelaide’s highest restaurant, and poolside bar and cocktail lounge, Luna10.

Getting To Know...

Craig Bond

Award-winning hotelier CRAIG BOND took up the Managing Director position at La Vie Hotels and Resorts in February following a three-year stint with ONYX Hospitality Group in Bangkok. Here, Bond looks back on the memorable moments in his career. Tell us about your very first job in the accommodation industry.

There was a hotel in Newcastle, where I grew up, that I always aspired to work in. One day, I plucked up the courage to walk into that hotel and ask for the Manager. She offered me a casual job, in the first instance, where I would be required to clean the windows from the top floor all the way down to the bottom floor. I accepted the job so I could get my foot in the door and prove that I was a hard worker with the intention to move into F&B and work my way across all departments, as my aspiration was one day to be a GM. This was just the beginning of over 30 years of working in this amazing and rewarding industry.

What is your favourite thing about this industry? What motivates you?

It’s all about the people. Happy guests, team members that are inspired that come to work and love what they do naturally — there is no greater satisfaction than giving opportunity to your peers and being part of their career journey.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My dad and my grandfather are my biggest inspirations. They taught me to lead by example, respect your peers, work hard and always have fun along the way – that’s what they did, they led by example.

Any memorable stories that stand out from your career?

A memorable story was having the pleasure of hosting then-Prime Minister John Howard and his wife Janette at the then-Saville Hotel Darwin where I was the GM at the time. Mrs Howard would iron the PM’s shirts, make him a cup of tea and Vegemite on toast for breakfast. This reminds me that no matter how far you go up the corporate ladder, don’t forget your roots and stay grounded.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned during your career?

Be yourself, have respect for your peers, love what you do and never stop learning.

What career advice would you give your younger self?

Work hard, have fun, think big, don’t stop, and surround yourself with the best. n 82

HM The Business of Accommodation

Two-time HM Award-winner Barbara Liu has been appointed Director of Finance at Skye Suites. With over 16 years finance experience, Liu has held senior finance roles with a number of different brands within the Accor portfolio, Accor Invest Hotel Portfolio and The Ovolo Group. Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific has appointed Peter Dias as Hotel Manager of Wyndham Melbourne. Dias has over 14 years of experience in the hospitality industry, including as a Guest Services Manager, Executive Club Lounge Manager with Melbourne Marriot, Front Office Manager with Accor, and in a regional role of Loyalty Ambassador with Accor. Preferred Hotels & Resorts has appointed Cheryl Williams to the newly-created position of Chief Revenue Officer. Williams joins Preferred from Highgate, where she served as Regional Vice President of Sales & Marketing. She will work with department leaders to drive revenue to Preferred’s expanding global portfolio, which includes more than 700 properties across 80 countries. The Langham Hotels and Resorts has named Jayson Heron-Smith as Director of Sales and Marketing, The Langham, Sydney and Director of Sales Australia, Global Sales Office at Langham Hospitality Group. Heron-Smith started with The Langham Hospitality Group in Auckland in November 2019 as Director of Sales and Marketing at The Langham’s sister property, Cordis. He previously worked for companies including Hyatt, Crown Melbourne, Hilton and The Star Sydney.


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No.2 Vol. 26 2 02 April 2

HM, now in its 26th year, is the leading accommodation trade magazine in the region and is distributed to most large accommodation properties in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Noumea, Vanuatu and Tahiti.

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