HM April 2023

Page 1


Vol.27 No.2

Bi-monthly April 2023

AHICE gears up

Your essential preview for the 2023 editions of AHICE, Design Inn and the Future Leaders Forum



Hilton’s thoughtful regionalisation of focused service brand Hilton Garden Inn is fuelling a major growth phase in Australasia.

HOT LIST: GUEST ROOMS AND BATHROOMS RESORT DEVELOPMENT OUTLOOK IN THIS ISSUE: virtual reality tours, hotel gift stores, inclusive design and top sommeliers

Foxtel at your property matters, because our research shows when it comes to in-room entertainment, guests want options - preferring the choice of live TV, On-Demand content and casting.

With the press of a button, Foxtel gives your guests all of these options. They can enjoy world-class movies, the most talked about TV shows, live sport, documentaries and so much more, all live and On Demand. Or they can choose to cast their own streaming apps. Why compromise on what your guests want, when they can have it all with Foxtel.

Give your guests the best in-room entertainment experience Book a demo today Call 1300 792 883 or visit 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. 20,000+
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Availability of particular titles may vary. PAW Patrol: © 2018 Viacom Inc. Succession S4: 2023 © Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO and all related service marks are the property of Home Box Office, Inc. Jurassic World: Dominion : “© 2022 Universal Studios, Amblin Entertainment, Inc. and Perfect Universe Investment Inc. All Rights Reserved.” Provide the ultimate entertainment experience with award winning drama, live sport, world class movies* and integrated casting.


At Hostplus, our measure of success is what we deliver for our members. But if you’re into awards, we’ve got those too.

We’re proud to have been named 2023 Fund of the Year by third-party ratings agency SuperRatings. Judged across three areas: strong performance, competitive fees, and an ongoing focus on members, we’re thrilled to receive this recognition.

We’ve also been recognised for 20 Years of Platinum Performance, and received awards for MyChoice Super of the Year and Net Benefit.

The rating is issued by SuperRatings Pty Ltd ABN 95 100 192 283 AFSL 311880 (SuperRatings). Ratings are general advice only and have been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Consider your personal circumstances, read the product disclosure statement and seek independent financial advice before investing. The rating and awards are not recommendation to purchase, sell or hold any product and are only one factor to be taken into account when choosing a super fund. Past performance information is not indicative of future performance. Ratings are subject to change without notice and SuperRatings assumes no obligation to update. SuperRatings uses objective criteria and receives a fee for publishing awards. Visit for ratings information and to access the full report. © 2022 SuperRatings. All rights reserved. General advice only. Consider the relevant Hostplus PDS and TMD at and your objectives, financial situation and needs, which have not been accounted for. Awards and ratings are only one factor to consider. Host-Plus

244392 trustee for Hostplus Superannuation Fund, ABN 68 657 495 890. HP2388

634 704,
Pty Limited ABN 79 008




What to expect from this year’s AHICE, Design Inn and Future Leaders Forum.


Design insiders and suppliers reveal the top trending products in rooms and bathrooms this year.


Development experts report high demand in the resort segment amid a leisure travel boom.


Designing accessible spaces for guests with disability that don’t compromise on style and quality.


Hotel event planners discuss the top trends in the world of weddings.


The flexible payment plan for guest bookings in a cost-of-living crisis.


Why hotels need to up their gift shop game to tap into a unique branding opportunity and additional revenue stream.


Top sommeliers reveal their curated wine experiences and key trends in the world of wine.



Accor CEO Sofitel, MGallery and Emblems, Maud Bailly, on elevating guest experience in the luxury division.


The Wall Street Hotel General Manager, David Sandler, takes HM inside the stylish New York City hotel.



James Wilkinson on the future of AHICE.


Ruth Hogan reflects on the colour and creativity of World Pride.


The essential stories you need to know this month.


Hilton’s thoughtful regionalisation of Hilton Garden Inn is fuelling a major growth phase in Australasia.

6 HM The Business of Accommodation
50 Discover the key trends in guest rooms and bathrooms On the cover Hilton Garden Inn’s major growth in Australasia
elevating guest experience 43 46 Inside Australian-owned The Wall Street Hotel in New York City APRIL 2023 Vol. 27 No.2
Accor luxury leader Maud Bailly discusses
Rest easy with a brand you can count on

Exciting new AHICE events cometh

As we gear-up for the 14th edition of the Asia-Pacific Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) in Adelaide on May 2-4, we are also taking the business to new markets around the world.

We had a successful debut of the Aotearoa edition of AHICE in Auckland last October and following that model of being region specific, I’m proud to reveal we officially launched our first ever Asia event in Singapore on April 4 right as we went to press with this edition of HM

At a cocktail event for 100 VIPs at the JW Marriott Singapore South Beach, we revealed plans to host a South East Asia edition of AHICE in February 2024 and I’m excited to let you know we already have several major sponsors onboard, including Marriott International, Pro-invest Group and De Beaurepaire Wines.

The accommodation sector is booming in South East Asia and launching a hybrid hotel voperations and investment conference comes on the back of owners, hoteliers and suppliers asking us to take the AHICE model to Singapore.

Similarly, we are also launching a new Hawaiian edition of the event in late November, with AHICE Aloha set to be held in Honolulu to serve the Pacific Islands, again on the back of requests by industry leaders.

In a few weeks, our master AHICE Asia Pacific conference will bring together over 1400 delegates, including over 200 amazing speakers from across the world.

I’m excited to say this is the most exciting AHICE event we’ve put together and across the three days – which also includes Design Inn and the Future Leaders Forum – you’ll find some of the most impressive, insightful, and thought provocative panels ever assembled for a hotel conference in Asia Pacific.

In this edition of HM, you’ll find previews of the events, some fantastic feature stories and interviews, and much more. I hope you enjoy our latest issue and as always, I look forward to your feedback.

Yours in hospitality,

The HM global hot list

Hotels around the world capturing our attention this month.

ONE: Naumi Singapore @naumisingapore

TWO: Smyth Tribeca, New York @smythtribecany

THREE: Le Meridien Melbourne @lemeridienmelbourne

FOUR: The Langham, London @langham_london

8 HM The Business of Accommodation EDITOR-IN-CHIEF'S LETTER
There is strong demand from owners, hoteliers and suppliers for an AHICE conference in Singapore AHICE is expanding to new markets with the launch of a South East Asia edition
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Colour and creativity

With the first quarter of the year under our belts, 2023 is shaping up to be another exciting year for the hotel industry. Hotels are reporting continued growth in occupancy levels and RevPAR, helped by major events in capital cities such as Australian Open and Sydney World Pride.

An estimated 78,000 visitors came to Sydney to celebrate World Pride, and the hotel industry rolled out the rainbow carpet to welcome guests with inclusive, fun-filled experiences. To mark the occasion, HM spoke with some of the valued LGBTQIA+ employees in the hotel industry about inclusive travel and the workplace diversity. You can read some of the highlights on page 80.

Also in this issue, we explore development in the resort segment amid a continuing boom in leisure travel, with major brands exploring new opportunities in this space. We examine the vast potential in the humble hotel gift store – when well executed – with retail experts sharing their views. On the events front, we put weddings in the spotlight and speak to planners about the key trends they are seeing this year.

We also explore the rise in virtual and 3D hotel tours to secure bookings from interstate guests and clients.

HM’s flagship conference, the Asia Pacific Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) is just around the corner. From pages 34-38, you can read all about what to expect at this year’s conference as well as the Future Leaders Forum and leading design and architecture symposium, Design Inn.

This year, I’ve had the pleasure of being involved in the curation of Design Inn Symposium, taking place at SkyCity Adelaide on Tuesday May 2. This year’s conference will invite delegates to discover innovative design, learn about Passive House design principles, and be inspired by local and international design leaders. With a melting pot of creative thinkers and industry experts, the conference will provide an outlook on the future of hotel development and design in 2023 and beyond.

As always, I hope you enjoy this issue.

See you in Adelaide.


Managing Director Simon Grover

Publisher James Wells

Editor–In–Chief James Wilkinson

Editor Ruth Hogan

Group Commercial Manager Tara Ducrou

Production Manager Jacqui Cooper

Graphic Designer Sean Barlow

Photography Hilton cover by Oneill Photographics.

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10 HM The Business of Accommodation EDITOR'S LETTER
James Wells Publisher Tara Ducrou Group Commercial Manager James Wilkinson Editor-in-Chief Ovolo Woolloomooloo pulled out all the stops for Sydney World Pride with the addition of Drag Concierges to welcome guests Chris Sanderson is one
the incredible speakers you can expect at Design Inn Symposium this May
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The essential hotel and travel industry news and trends from across the globe. Read more at

Le Méridien returns to Australia

Le Méridien has made a spectacular return to Melbourne as the brand continues its solid global growth.

LE MÉRIDIEN HOTELS and Resorts has made its return to the Australian market with the opening of Le Méridien Melbourne in March.

The European-born brand, part of Marriott Bonvoy, is expected to appeal to creative, culture-focused travellers, particularly given that its location has been a cornerstone of Melbourne’s arts and culture scene for decades.

“I think this hotel will have a really wide appeal,” Marriott International Area Vice President, Australia, NZ and Pacific, Sean Hunt, told HM.

“It will play a huge part in activating the local community. I think we will see new restaurants, bars, and retail coming in around this five-star hotel.”

The 12-storey property, which was first built in the 1850s, retains its original Art Deco façade of red brick and stained glass, and includes a private porte-cochère driveway, mid-century interiors, polished natural stone, and terrazzo.

Designed by Peddle Thorp, it features 235 mid-century inspired guest rooms including 14 suites, a ground floor café and bar, restaurant, and a rooftop pool and terrace complete with open-air bar.

12 HM The Business of Accommodation

Tryp by Wyndham debuts in South Australia

Wyndham introduces a 120-room hotel to Adelaide’s CBD.

WYNDHAM HOTELS AND Resorts has introduced the Tryp brand to South Australia for the first time with the opening of Tryp by Wyndham Pulteney Street in Adelaide’s CBD.

Operated by Resort Management by Wyndham, a division of Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific, the AU$50 million hotel is the only Tryp by Wyndham branded property in the country at present.

“We are thrilled to see Tryp Pulteney Street Adelaide open its doors,” said Wyndham Hotels

and Resorts Vice President of Operations

Southeast Asia and Pacific Rim, Ben Schumacher.

“South Australia is the fastest growing state for Wyndham Hotels and Resorts in Australia with six hotels under five different brands set to open in the coming years.”

The 120-room hotel reflects the millennial-focused brand’s creative design with tech features and social spaces and pays

homage to Adelaide’s vibrant local culture.

“Tryp by Wyndham is a unique, urban, lifestyle boutique brand with a global presence,” said Wyndham Destinations Asia Pacific Senior Vice President, Operations, Warren Cullum

“Every Tryp embodies the local flavour, rhythm, and beat of cities around the world, offering guests a personal retreat at the heart of an amazing cosmopolitan experience.”

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Tryp by Wyndham’s creative design and tech features appeal to millennial travellers

EVT signs Hunter Valley resort

EVT IS SET to expand Rydges’ presence in the ANZ resort market after reaching a deal with Schwartz Family Company (SFC) to operate its iconic Hunter Valley Resort.

Previously operated by IHG as Crowne Plaza Hunter Valley, the 414-room property will be relaunched as Rydges Resort Hunter Valley in May 2023.

Rydges currently runs 45 properties across Australia and New Zealand, primarily in city and suburban areas. In addition to Rydges Newcastle, the latest signing gives the brand access to an important tourism opportunity in this renowned wine region of NSW.

With extensive conferencing facilities and access to a wide range of leisure and family-focused activities on site, the property aligns with Rydges’ key values and customer proposition, EVT Director of Hotel and Resorts, Norman Arundel, explained.

“Rydges is going to new places – a real revamp of the whole Rydges brand is underway and moving into that resort market is part of that strategy,” Arundel told HM exclusively.

“Rydges has a big commitment to conferencing – and this is a major conference resort, so its ticks that box. The Rydges brand ethos is driven by food and beverage and this property has extensive F&B facilities; it's a major family resort and the brand is very family oriented.

“Rydges also has a very big local focus, so, being in the Hunter Valley, we can emphasise that as part of our branding as well.”

The property includes 15 conference

rooms and the purpose-built Hunter Valley Conference and Events Centre which can accommodate up to 1,600 guests.

Family facilities include a waterpark, minitrain, carousel, a converted tugboat, the Water Dragons kids club, pony rides and the new Hunter Valley Kids Cottage.

Adult guests can enjoy the Ubika Spa, an 18-hole championship golf course, tennis courts, resort pools, and equestrian areas, as well as an onsite distillery and brewery, a range of restaurants.

“It's already a great property and Jerry Schwartz has committed to continue improving the resort,” Arundel told HM “There will be multiple improvements in the future.”

This will be the fifth property that EVT manages for the Schwartz Family Company, and forms part of a multi-year, multi-property partnership that includes a management extension for Rydges World Square Sydney and Rydges Sydney Central.

Schwartz Family Company Director, Jerry Schwartz, said he is pleased to partner with EVT once again.

“We are confident [EVT] will deliver outstanding results for Rydges Resort Hunter Valley,” he said.

“Being the fifth property under their management, we believe EVT’s experience, local agility and track record of market leading results will bring significant value to the future success of our property.”

14 HM The Business of Accommodation NEED TO KNOW
Jerry Schwartz’s property will relaunch as a Rydges resort in May. The Hunter Valley resort has its own waterpark and a range of facilities for families Rydges launches its first resort property in ANZ this May


Prasanna Uduwana, Leader of LIXIL Water Technology, ANZ, shares his thoughts on how rapid urbanisation is challenging living and hotel spaces, and describes how GROHE, a LIXIL power brand, is crafting bathroom and kitchen solutions to address this macro trend.

Urbanisation has led to smaller rooms and homes, where it is commonplace for the same living space to combine or switch between work, study, and play. Increasingly, the boundaries are blurring between living spaces, bathrooms, dining rooms and kitchens. This creates challenges and opportunities for space optimisation, maximising convenience, and coordinating aesthetics. As a complete solutions provider, GROHE products have been designed and engineered to match consumer needs demanding multi-functional spaces with clean lines and luxurious aesthetics.

This phenomenon is also occurring in the hospitality industry, which is challenged to deliver great guest experiences in a smaller room footprint. This global macro trend has been anticipated and researched by LIXIL

Global Design Centres located across six dynamic, cosmopolitan cities, including London, Tokyo, New York, and Singapore. GROHE leverages global and local research and consumer-centric insights to design and deliver award-winning products to deliver superior performance without compromising on the consumer experience.

In the bathroom, wall-hung sanitaryware and multi-functional items are leading this trend, as specifiers seek to utilise as much space as possible and create a streamlined environment that is functional, convenient, and thoughtfully designed. Space-saving fittings such as concealed shower models will be prioritised thanks to their compact profiles. GROHE SmartControl is an innovative shower control that enables the user to adjust water volume and temperature effortlessly

with intuitive selections for preferred spray and the facility to switch instantly between head and hand showers. The technology even allows for the storage of bespoke user preferences — ready for next time. n


LIXIL is a global manufacturer of pioneering water and housing solutions. Every day, its multi-brand, multi-category products and solutions touch the lives of over 1 billion people. LIXIL is made up of many individual brands, each in a different way, but all with the same purpose making better homes a reality for everyone, everywhere. 15
Grohe’s intuitive design delivers great performance without compromising the consumer experience Prasanna Uduwana, Leader of Lixil Water Technology, ANZ

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

THERE ARE TIMES in one’s professional life that are really stand out moments, that will always be remembered as a great honour and privilege.

I had one of those moments last month when I was humbled to learn I had been chosen to be the inaugural CEO of the new industry body, Accommodation Australia.

I have been in this industry for more than 30 years – I live and breathe it – and it has long been a personal ambition of mine to see one united voice speaking for the accommodation sector at all levels of government.

To see this united body finally become a reality is exciting enough on its own – on both a personal and professional level – but to be its first CEO, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity I do not intend to waste.

On February 15, the Australian Electoral Commission announced an overwhelming 96% of Accommodation Association members had voted in favour of the amalgamation with Tourism Accommodation Australia. Final approval for the amalgamation has now been secured from the Fair Work Commission and if all goes to plan the single accommodation body will be formed on July 1, 2023.

Opportunities to start something new in life are rare. I look forward to working with the new board and the new president to build our brand, develop our culture and deliver a single, strong and focused representation.

Rest assured, as the first CEO, I will be treading the corridors of Canberra representing our members at the highest level and pushing for the best outcomes for our resilient accommodation sector.

Ovolo evolves Laneways concept

Laneways by Ovolo brings an 80s aesthetic to Melbourne’s Little Bourke Street.

OVOLO HOTELS HAS revealed the new Laneways by Ovolo offering – an evolution of Ovolo Laneways – in Melbourne’s CBD.

The Little Bourke Street property opened to guests in March with reimagined public spaces and rooms by Australian interior designers Luchetti Krelle, as well as an all-new 120-seat food and drink offering Amphlett House.

The 42-room hotel takes inspiration from 1980s Italian design and architecture collective Memphis Group and is a colourful reflection of Melbourne’s vibrant laneways.

The hotel lobby features reception pods and an Honesty Bar, offering sweet and savoury treats, bottled cocktails, wine and Champagne through

an honour system, where guests note what they take, and it is charged back to their rooms.

“We have relished the creative challenge of creating a sophisticated and stylish space that gives a nod to the building’s 80s era,” said Luchetti Krelle Principal, Rachel Luchetti.

“The Memphis Group aesthetic was a perfect fit for this project, and we have interpreted this with an injection of colour and energy in the classic Ovolo manner.”

Amphlett House is overseen by Ovolo’s Director of Kitchen Operations Ian Curley with support from Head Chef Ben Green. The venue will serve up elevated pub classics, a selection of snacks, light bites and main courses.

16 HM The Business of Accommodation NEED TO KNOW
Michael Johnson, CEO, Accommodation Association, Tourism Accommodation Australia Laneways by Ovolo offers snacks and drinks through an Honesty Bar The 42-room hotel takes inspiration from 1980s Italian design and architecture

Voyages show to light up Uluru 17 NEED TO KNOW
Wintjiri Wiru will combine Anangu storytelling with drone and laser technology. VOYAGES INDIGENOUS TOURISM Australia will launch a fully immersive light and sound show at Ayers Rock Resort this May. Called Wintjiri Wiru – meaning a ‘beautiful view out to the horizon’ in the local Anangu Carry-on cleaning Comfortable. Convenient. Clean. PL950 & PV900 Backpack Vacuums The
show will
a chapter of the Mala ancestral story

TFE unveils retreat at 170-year-old Victorian site

The Interlude will invite guests to stay in converted prison cells.

TFE HOTELS’ NEW Adina Apartment Hotel

Pentridge Melbourne – located at the site of Melbourne’s historic Pentridge Prison – is gearing up for its official launch this autumn with the reveal of an additional 19-room, experience-led urban retreat.

Opening in May 2023 – alongside, but in contrast to, TFE’s 106-room contemporary apartment-style hotel – The Interlude will invite guests to stay in converted prison cells.

“The Interlude is an urban retreat-style experience, the likes of which has neverbefore-been-seen in Australia, and one of only a handful of prison hotel conversions in the world,” said TFE’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Chris Sedgwick.

“Guests will stay in converted-cell suites which have been transformed by modern design and architecture into calming spaces.

“And, when they’re not in their room, they’ll be able to immerse themselves in the flavours, colours, and stories of Coburg’s creative arts community through curated programs, or self-guided visits to the precinct’s onsite art gallery which displays resident and emerging local artists.”

Among the experiences available for guests is the Time Travel with Wine experience led

by Sommelier Liinaa Berry, and lessons in chocolate with Coburg Chocolatier, Koko Black. Guests can also enjoy a candlelit underground relaxation pool or take some time out in the Reflection Garden.

“Drawing on the heritage of the site, guests will be invited to take a seat at the long table in the Reflection Garden, surrounded by bluestone walls, to hear the tales of the past and find out what makes the creative community so special today,” Sedgwick said.

As part of the billion-dollar dining and entertainment precinct, Adina Pentridge and The Interlude will offer guests unique accommodation experiences at the 170-yearold heritage site.

The modern Adina Pentridge tower – which offer a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments – took almost two years to construct with builders paying careful attention to Pentridge’s famous bluestone walls.

The hotel features built-in solar panels, a rainwater tank recycling system, and a hightech glass facade that uses daylight to break down dirt, reducing cleaning to once every 12 to 24 months.

General Manager, Jesse Kornoff, will oversee the hotel, events, food and beverage, and experience offerings at the precinct.

“Right now, the finishing touches are being put on Olivine wine bar, North and Common bistro, and nine bespoke conferencing and events venues, collectively known as Chapter Place which, as a collective, will be transformative for the wider Pentridge lifestyle precinct when they open in May,” he said.

With the addition of high-tech National Trust tours of the historic site, Kornoff believes Chapter Place and Adina Pentridge will be highly-sought-after leisure and MICE destinations.

18 HM The Business of Accommodation NEED TO KNOW
Guests will have the opportunity to engage in curated experiences during their stay The Interlude is situated next to the new apartment-style hotel, Adina Pentridge


Comcater has a long history of supplying Australia’s top hotels with the latest kitchen equipment from around the world. The Radisson President Hotel, now known as the Pullman Melbourne, was the first in Australia to install the RATIONAL combi oven in the 1980s. Since then, Comcater has continued to support the industry with innovative equipment, service and advice.

For over 15 years, Comcater has installed the latest kitchen equipment in EVT hotels,

cinemas and ski fields.

“Comcater is part of all of our design processes,” says Adam Petta, Group Director of Culinary Food and Beverage for EVT. “We partner with Comcater to ensure we have market leading technology, serviceability moving forward, and innovation to stay ahead of the curve.”

Comcater also works closely with boutique hotels company Ovolo Group to provide best-in-class commercial kitchen equipment, tailored advice and ongoing maintenance.


Hotels with nationwide coverage are benefitting from technology in the kitchen. RATIONAL iCombi and iVario data can be accessed remotely via the cloud. HACCP, menu items and cleaning schedules can be downloaded in Sydney from Mackay.

“We’re able to tell how many plates we’ve put through an oven, the degrees it ran at, what cycle it was on, when it was last cleaned and who the operator was. The data helps us to build and grow the business,” says Adam.


German brand RATIONAL is a favourite of our top chefs. And, for good reason.

“I loved the functionality of the iCombi, especially the cleaning cycle at the end and just the way it looks,” says executive chef Paul Smart, JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort and Spa.

The RATIONAL also retains profits. Not only does it use 18% less energy than pre-2016 combi steamers, but 15% less raw materials.

“When we cook meats, seafood or vegetables, it retains the nutrients. You don’t lose too much weight in terms of liquids from the product. It retains inside and keeps it nice and juicy,” says Paul.

The oven cooks 40% faster, and the RATIONAL iCareSystem saves 30% on water and 50% on cleaner compared to conventional models.


Comcater production kitchens allow chefs to test their menu on the latest equipment. The Comcater chefs help with menu programming, helping your staff attain the right level of browning and crispiness, consistently.

“We’ll always lean on Comcater for the use of production kitchens to support us. Generally, when refurbishing an existing venue, we need equipment for menu tasting, trials, or mock services in preparation for a new opening,” says Wayne.

Comcater understands the hotel industry’s broader operating environment and challenges.

Wayne says, “They give us the support we need to ensure our kitchen personnel and management are making the right decisions moving forward.” n

As a proud supporter of the Asia-Pacific Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE), Comcater’s team of equipment specialists, led by National Key Account Manager Michael Hyde, will be in attendance and ready to help you with a solution for your hotel. You can also contact Michael on 0419 551 753 or email 19
Australia’s best hotels are turning to Comcater’s world-class food service solutions to increase efficiencies and reduce labour costs and wastage.
Comcater has been partnering with Australian hotels since the 80s

Funding farce

HOTELS EVERYWHERE ARE making the most of open borders, growth in airline capacity and the consequent return of international travellers. Travel and tourism is cyclical, but this feels like the start of the next upward leg.

Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city, home to one-third of the country’s population and entry point for 70% of international travellers. Auckland should be firing on all cylinders.

Instead, Auckland Council, in its latest draft budget, plans to effectively de-fund its destination marketing and events attraction team. It is puzzling that noone – least of all New Zealand’s central government – seems to care.

Auckland Council is undoubtedly in a sticky situation. Councillors must balance the post-COVID economic recovery, a NZ$1 billion blow-out in the cost of new city centre rail infrastructure, and the aftermath of severe flash flooding and a cyclone last month.

But it makes no sense to slash this deep. If the draft budget goes through, then New Zealand’s largest city will no longer fund the sort of destination marketing and events attraction work that is routinely carried out around the world, including in all Australian states.

In the year ending June 2022, the Victorian State Government provided just over AU$130 million for Visit Victoria. Auckland Council can’t even find NZ$5 million for tourism marketing of any kind. The competitive disadvantage for Auckland is obvious.

It’s beyond time for New Zealand’s leaders to get their heads around this critical Auckland and New Zealand tourism funding problem.

Hotel Indigo on the way for Melbourne

A former Holiday Inn hotel is undergoing an extensive makeover before reopening as Hotel Indigo.

PRO-INVEST GROUP AND IHG have partnered once again to bring premium boutique brand Hotel Indigo to Melbourne with the singing of a franchise agreement for an existing Flinders Lane hotel.

The property – which operated as a Holiday Inn hotel under IHG for several decades prior to its acquisition by Pro-invest – will undergo a AU$20 million refurbishment before reopening as Hotel Indigo Melbourne on Flinders in mid-2023.

The hotel will be repositioned as a “creatively curated retreat” with 216 guestrooms, a street-side tapas restaurant and bar, as well as meeting facilities for up to 200 people.

The guest experiences will reflect the essence of the local neighbourhood, taking inspiration from the design, dining, art and cultural attractions on its doorstep.

“We’re thrilled to be working with IHG Hotels and Resorts to bring the Hotel Indigo brand to Melbourne, a city that provides the perfect backdrop for this creatively unique boutique brand,” said Pro-invest Group CEO, Asia Pacific, Jan Smits.

“Our AU$20m repositioning to create Hotel Indigo Melbourne on Flinders will bring a distinctly new destination to this vibrant CBD precinct.

“It will become the sixth hotel Pro-invest operates in the city when it opens mid-year; and joins Hotel Indigo Brisbane Central as our second property operating under this brand.”

This is the second Hotel Indigo for Proinvest Group, IHG’s largest franchise partner across Australasia, following Hotel Indigo Brisbane City Centre. It joins Pro-invest’s growing portfolio of IHG-operated hotels across Australia and New Zealand including under the Holiday Inn, Kimpton, and voco brands.

“We are so pleased to see our partnership with Pro-invest go from strength to strength with the opening of Hotel Indigo Melbourne on Flinders,” said IHG Managing DirectorAustralasia and Pacific, Matt Tripolone.

“It continues the growth we’ve had together across the Holiday Inn Express, voco Hotels, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants and Hotel Indigo brands, and the huge momentum behind the Hotel Indigo brand in Australasia and globally.”

Hotel Indigo is gathering pace as one of the world’s leading boutique premium brands with 262 open or pipeline hotels globally. In Australasia, Hotel Indigo has a presence in Adelaide and Brisbane, with pipeline hotels coming in Melbourne and Auckland.

20 HM The Business of Accommodation NEED TO KNOW
The latest signing marks Pro-invest Group’s sixth Melbourne property Boutique premium brand Hotel Indigo is gaining momentum globally

InterContinental unveils colourful partnership

The brand has partnered with British contemporary artist Claire Luxton.

IHG’S INTERCONTINENTAL HOTELS and Resorts is rolling out a series of immersive experiences in Australia, Japan and Singapore, including a NFT (non-fungible token) exhibition.

Through a partnership with British artist Claire Luxton, the recently renovated Aster Bar at Intercontinental Sydney was decked out with colourful floral and sensory installations for the first exhibition.

IHG Vice President Commercial for Japan, Australasia and Pacific, Dean Jones, said the move marks “one of the most creative and inspired eras of transformation for the brand”.

“Not only have we been able to unveil the

physical transformations of icons such as InterContinental Sydney or the reimagined InterContinental Hayman Island Resort, as well as opening new destinations in Mornington Peninsula and Rome – the expansion of our global partnership with Claire Luxton continues to push creative

boundaries for our guests, owners, colleagues and visitors,” he said.

“We are hugely excited to expand the partnership with new and cultured installations across the region in collaboration with Claire Luxton and offer these exclusive experiences for our guests.”

Aster Bar at Intercontinental Sydney kicked off IHG’s immersive art series


Hilton’s thoughtful regionalisation of focused service brand Hilton Garden Inn is fuelling a major growth phase in Australasia.

The award-winning focused service brand Hilton Garden Inn is gaining keen momentum across Australia. Having made its debut in Albany, Western Australia in 2021, the brand’s next opening is expected in Busselton later this year. There are four other properties in the pipeline, slated for Sydney and Melbourne, among other locations.

With the rise of the middle-class traveller and as pent-up travel demand continues to drive recovery for the hospitality industry, Hilton Garden Inn’s expansion across this region is timely.

“Travellers today have more exacting demands for quality, design, comfort, and value. With Hilton Garden Inn, we are meticulously innovating and optimising the guest experience to offer subtly elevated accommodation and modern amenities that allow travellers to unwind, relax, and rejuvenate,” said Jenny Milos, Vice President, Brand Management, Suites & Focused Service, Asia Pacific, Hilton.

Hilton’s continued investment in Hilton Garden Inn has driven a thoughtful and deeply researched regionalisation of the brand. It emphasises subtle elevation such as premium soundproofing for a quiet night’s sleep, modern and functional workspaces, lounge-worthy seating to relax and recharge, premium bath amenities, and local artwork that provides an authentic experience and a sense of place.

“Following the brand’s debut in Australia with the opening of Hilton Garden Inn Albany, we are pleased to expand its presence into Busselton, Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Fiji, as we track confidently towards our ambition to double our footprint in Australasia in the next five years,” said Tushar Raniga, Regional Director, Development, Australasia, Hilton.

“Hilton Garden Inn hits a sweet spot for owners and travellers alike, and we see it being a significant growth driver for Hilton in this region,” added Raniga.

Indeed, the brand’s rapid growth underscores an owner-friendly operating model that delivers best-in-class returns. For owners looking to capture demand from both business and leisure travellers in this fast-growing segment, Hilton Garden Inn’s efficient prototype, kit-ofparts approach, and lean operating model makes it highly adaptable for mature and emerging hospitality destinations.

22 HM The Business of Accommodation
(L-R) Hilton’s Regional Director, Development, Australasia, Tushar Raniga; VP, Brand Management, Suites & Focused Service, Asia Pacific, Jenny Milos; and Area VP and Head of Australasia, Paul Hutton

Owners and developers looking to franchise with Hilton Garden Inn will also appreciate that the brand’s regional prototype offers greater certainty over costs and enables them to efficiently adapt to differing types of locations from capital cities to regional towns and everything in between including suburban and airport locations.

Paul Hutton, Area Vice President and Head of Australasia, Hilton, said, “Owners drawn to the profitable focused service segment gravitate towards Hilton Garden Inn for its efficient build, strong investment returns, as well as the ability to leverage Hilton’s powerful commercial engine and we’re excited to take our franchising model to the next level in Australia.”

Hilton Garden Inn is part of Hilton’s portfolio of 19 world-class brands, comprising more than 7,100 hotels in 123 countries and territories. The brand has a global footprint of more than 970 hotels in 57 countries and territories. In Asia Pacific, there are 65 Hilton Garden

Inn properties in operation, and over 100 in the pipeline. Since 2021, the brand has entered new markets and gateway cities in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Australia. n 23
Hilton Garden Inn made its Australian debut in Albany in 2021 Hilton Garden Inn is expanding to Brisbane, Busselton, Sydney, Melbourne, and Fiji
“Hilton Garden Inn hits a sweet spot for owners and travellers alike, and we see it being a significant growth driver for Hilton in this region.”
Tushar Raniga, Hilton

Sydney welcomes adults-only eco-boutique

202 Elizabeth claims to be one of the most sustainability built hotels in the city.

SYDNEY’S SURRY HILLS is home to the city’s latest designer boutique hotel, 202 Elizabeth, which opened in March.

Targeting adults only (16+) – and their pooches – the lifestyle hotel offers an understated luxury experience in the heart of Surry Hills.

The 38-room hotel brings a creative design, a focus on organic products and textures and claims to be one of the most sustainably built hotels in Sydney.

General Manager Adam Males said the design-led approach is already having an impact with guests and the local community.

“We’re so excited to have officially launched the hotel after months of careful curation,” Males told HM exclusively.

“Everyone that has so far been through has been completely overwhelmed with how beautiful the spaces are and we’re so lucky to have been able to work with some of the country’s leading designers and stylists to bring this all to life.

“We’ve been embraced by the Surry Hills community, and it has been a joy getting to know the many creatives in the area who are

keen to work with us on various projects. There is a real buzz in Sydney at the moment and we’re excited to be part of it and proud to be playing a role in supporting the industry and our local community.”

At 202 Elizabeth – named after its prime location – every room across its six levels is different, each with a unique playful design and striking wallpaper. The top floor grand suite, The Lizzy, features a double vanity, walkin rain shower and bathtub.

Guests can expect Hunter Lab amenities, luxury Piyama robes, and a minibar full of complimentary organic sodas and snacks – reflecting owner Diana Ren’s passion for organic products and textures which is also evident in the furnishings.

The eco-conscious hotel features sustainable goat hair carpet and a wooden fire escape stairs encased by glass which takes centre stage in the middle of the hotel. Carbon-negative cross-laminated timber (CLT) – most of which was built offsite and lifted in by cranes due to limited access to the site – is visible throughout the property.

Designed and built by Sydney-based design and construction firm Alessi Design and Build led by Connie Alessi, with styling by Lisa Madigan, the hotel also features a plethora of Australian artists and designers.

The ground floor includes an outdoor courtyard and a soon-to-open wine-tasting room by Handpicked Wines which will double as a co-working space, while the rooftop space offers views of the city and morning yoga sessions.

24 HM The Business of Accommodation NEED TO KNOW
The boutique hotel offers 38 rooms across six levels Organic products and textures are used throughout the hotel

Forrest’s Tattarang purchases Waldorf Astoria Sydney

The iconic luxury hotel is expected to open in late 2026.

AUSTRALIA’S FIRST WALDORF Astoria hotel has been purchased by investment company Tattarang, owned by billionaire couple Andrew and Nicola Forrest.

Purchased from Lendlease and its joint venture partner Mitsubishi Estate Asia – for a reported AU$575 million, according to the Sydney Morning Herald – the future 25-storey hotel tower, will be owned on completion by Tattarang’s property company Fiveight.

Forming a central part of the AU$3.1 billion One Circular Quay development in Sydney, the luxury hotel, which will be managed by Hilton, is expected to set a new global standard of hotel accommodation in the market.

“As long-term investors, we believe this development can play an important role in the future rejuvenation of the wider Circular Quay precinct and we are committed to engaging with Lendlease and the surrounding community towards an even brighter future for Australia’s gateway city,” said Tattarang Director Nicola Forrest AO.

“We are excited to work collaboratively with the Hilton team to create one of the world’s most innovative Waldorf Astoria hotels, and importantly one that is uniquely Australian.”

Lendlease Managing Director Development, Tom Mackellar, described the sale as a major milestone for the precinct’s revitalisation.

“Australia’s first Waldorf Astoria by Hilton, which will be located alongside our luxury One Circular Quay residential tower, positions this

precinct to become one of the most desired places to live and stay in the world,” he said.

Due to open in late 2026, Waldorf Astoria Sydney will feature 220 hotel rooms across 25 levels, as well as restaurants, spa and wellness facilities, an indoor pool, ballroom and function spaces, boardrooms, and a rooftop bar and restaurant with harbour views.

“As the first Waldorf Astoria property to debut in Australia, Waldorf Astoria Sydney signals Hilton’s commitment to expanding our luxury portfolio to the world’s most sought-after destinations,” said Hilton Area Vice President and Head of Australasia, Paul Hutton.

“Our personal, elegant service and timeless locally-inspired environments are at the heart of every hotel.”

As part of the transaction, Fiveight will also own and develop the retail offering at ground level as well as in the adjacent luxury residential tower.

“We are truly excited to be a part of such an iconic project for Australia and look forward to deepening our relationship with Fiveight as we work together to deliver a truly world class experience at Waldorf Astoria Sydney,” Hutton added.

In July 2022, Lendlease and Mitsubishi Estate Asia formed a joint venture to acquire the One Circular Quay development for approximately AU$850 million with the latter holding a 66.7% stake.

One Circular Quay will feature 158 residences, including six sub-penthouses on levels 50-55 and a three-level penthouse which will boast five bedrooms, a private lift and a north-facing swimming pool and terrace.

26 HM The Business of Accommodation NEED TO KNOW
Waldorf Astoria has more than 30 properties around the world Waldorf Astoria Sydney will form part of the AU$3.1 billion One Circular Quay development


Expanding white label management company, 1834 Hotels, offers top to bottom management solutions for hotels, motels, pubs, resorts and apartments across Australia.

Every hotel management team aspires to strike the delicate balance between business planning, hotel operation and financial control. Experts in providing thorough management solutions, 1834 Hotels is a white label management company proudly partnered with a network of 26 properties across Australia. The Australian-based company works with investors, freehold owners and leasehold owners to ensure that businesses are optimised for maximum profitability and success.

With a focus on revenue growth, 1834 Hotels specialises in streamlining hotel operations. This includes implementing effective operating systems, managing costs, and providing support to managers. Planning and achieving comprehensive budgets alongside hotel owners is the company’s core strength.

1834 Hotels has experienced a phase of exceptional growth in recent years. Following 10 new partnerships in 2022, the company is also set to introduce several new listings in 2023.

Of particular note, the last 12 months saw management deals signed with a brand new 5-star property in Adelaide by the Taplin Group, as well as Mantra 100 Exhibition, a 4-star hotel in Melbourne’s East End. Also extending into Queensland, 1834 Hotels now manages Kewarra Beach Resort just outside of Cairns – a 4-star beach resort featuring standalone bungalows, as well as The Atrium Hotel in Mandurah, Western Australia.

The company’s latest partnerships include that of the Prince of Wales Hotel in Proserpine, New South Wales, and De Lago Resort in the Northern Territory.

Focused on cultivating genuine partnerships, 1834 Hotels believes

in strong collaboration for mutually advantageous outcomes. All services are flexible, tailored to suit individual owner requirements and structures. The company currently partners with renowned hotel chains such as Accor Hotels, Choice Hotels and Wyndham Hotels – with multiple brands from each franchisor and looks forward to expanding its franchise options in the coming years.

As 1834 Hotels continues its impressive growth trajectory, the company eagerly anticipates not only broadening its franchise options but also exploring new avenues for expansion. n

To learn more about 1834 Hotels and its white label management service, please contact Peter Clark - on 0418 784 715; email or scan the QR code to connect now via LinkedIn. 27 PARTNERSHIP
1834 Hotels is a white label management company with a network of 26 property partners across Australia 1834 Hotels partners with renowned hotel chains such as Accor, Choice and Wyndham
Our ex tensive r ange ensure Ever y Seal y Posturepedic ma dur abilit y to ensure y P roudl y Austr alian owned and m in one of five m Supporting Australia’s finest hotels for over 50 years. National sales | (07) 3718 2126


Indulge in an exceptional sleep experience night after night on a Sealy at the all-new Capella in Sydney’s historic Sandstone Precinct.

Guests will experience a luxury sleep on the specially designed and hand-crafted Sealy bed that has been developed for the Capella luxury hotel in Sydney. The perfect balance of comfort, durability and support all come together to deliver an unparalleled sleep experience.

“The ability to partner with Capella Sydney and develop this bespoke product executing it right here in New South Wales, with entirely locally sourced raw materials has been a real highlight for the team and a wonderful journey,” said Daniel Amos, Sealy’s Commercial Manager NSW.

Here, Capella General Manager Marc von Arnim talks all things Sealy and why a quality sleep is so important.

What was your experience working with Sealy?

We have thoroughly enjoyed the process of working with Sealy, it has been both insightful

and meaningful to have had the opportunity to work so closely on this project with their team. The aftersales support and partnership have been fantastic and we look forward to a long relationship ahead with them.

How important is a quality sleep to your guests?

Whether travelling for business or leisure, we acknowledge our valued guests have selected Capella Sydney not only for a wonderful night’s sleep, but for unparalleled quality, craftmanship and comfort across every aspect of their stay. We place our guests at the centre of everything we do and understand that a quality sleep rates in the top three critical elements to any hotel stay.

Your hotels are synonymous with world-class luxury and excellence; how important was partnering with a like-minded brand that would deliver world-class sleep solutions for your hotel?

Aligning with like-minded brands focused on consistently delivering excellence in quality and service is paramount to our brand. Partnering with a reputable brand like Sealy, is the key to delivering on our brand promise and a key element in ensuring our guests experience world-class comfort in their “home away from home”.

Sealy is proudly Australian owned and made. Why is it important for Capella to support an Australianowned and operated company that manufactures and produces in Australia? Capella Sydney is proud to support and partner with Australian-owned and operated businesses like Sealy, to deliver the best authentic experience to both our local and international guests. We appreciate the importance Sealy places on quality, craftmanship and research, investing significantly in innovation, patented technologies and materials that are both sourced and made in Australia.

What do you see as the synergy between the Capella Hotels and Sealy brands; both being ultraluxury players in the market?

For our project, it was a natural choice to partner with Sealy being both a market leader and also quality driven, Australian business. The support we have received, and the quality of product are something we are particularly pleased with. n 29 PARTNERSHIP
Marc von Arnim, Capella Sydney Capella Sydney has partnered with Sealy on specially designed beds for its luxury rooms Photography by Timothy Kaye

Luxury Palm Beach hotel gets green light

The 120-room lifestyle hotel is described as a ‘first of its kind’ in the area.

hotel in the area, offering “over 2,000 sqm of architectural elegance” at the beachside location.

“Being such a significant project, our team took a considered approach to create a standout development in an increasingly discerning market,” said Plus Architecture’s Danny Juric.

Steer Developments Founder, Robert Steer, said the goal is to create a space that makes guests “feel something special”.

“It’s about the entire experience,” he said.

“A perfect blend of beauty, luxury, and premium quality with a calm, lush, and peaceful serenity.

“We have always appreciated the Gold Coast’s lifestyle and are excited to contribute to its beauty and make an everlasting impact on the southern Gold Coast.

QUEENSLAND’S PALM BEACH is set to welcome a 126-room lifestyle hotel in 2025 after development approval was granted to Gold Coast luxury property group, Steer Developments, for a $120 million project.

The six-storey Palm Beach Hotel, at 1081-

1089 Gold Coast Highway in Palm Beach, will feature state-of-the-art amenities, including a rooftop pool, gym, spa, and inhouse dining.

Plus Architecture has been engaged to deliver what is described as a ‘first of its kind’

“While the northern end of the Gold Coast is flooded with hotels, the southern end is ripe for a luxury offering. Along with Mondrian set to open in Burleigh, the timing is perfect for an additional prestige hotel at Palm Beach.”

Construction is set to commence in the fourth quarter of this year and is expected to be completed by Q1 2025.

30 HM The Business of Accommodation NEED TO KNOW
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18 H O T E L B R A N D S • 6 , 00 0 G L O B A L D E S T I N A T I O N S • O N E L O Y A L T Y P R O G R A M


Accor enriches its offering in the collection brands segment with the introduction of a global portfolio of bespoke hotels.

Accor, Australia’s largest hotel operator, is growing its hotel portfolio with the addition of a new brand, Handwritten Collection – a global portfolio of bespoke hotels offering an intimate and stylish hospitality experience.

The brand launches with an immediate footprint of 12 committed hotels and development activity that includes 110 Handwritten Collection leads globally, totalling more than 11,500 rooms. Five hotels are expected to open within the first trimester of 2023, including Wonil Hotel in Perth.

With the creation of Handwritten Collection, Accor is broadening its portfolio of boutique hotel offerings and will look to replicate the success it has achieved with the Group’s other collection brands across

32 HM The Business of Accommodation
Wonil Hotel Perth was the first Handwritten Collection hotel to open in Australia Every Handwritten Collection hotel showcases its own unique personality

other segments. This includes the MGallery Hotel Collection, a storied portfolio in the upper upscale brand segment that now counts more than 100 boutique hotels worldwide and Emblems Collection, Accor’s first luxury collection brand, a carefully curated selection of distinctive hotels that are emblematic of their destination, designer or place in history. With a similar bespoke approach, Handwritten Collection will bring together hotels with individual personalities, intimately reflecting the character and warmth of the people who look after them. Like a handwritten note, each host’s individual touches will be subtly encountered at select moments throughout the guest journey.

development of the Forrest Hall Precinct, which also includes 52 rooms for scholars and fellows, and office space for the Minderoo Foundation — one of Australasia’s largest philanthropies.

Wonil Hotel, Perth – Handwritten Collection will enable a program of events and activities for FRF scholars and hotel guests, as well as students from across WA’s five universities and the wider community.

Accor Pacific CEO, Sarah Derry said: “Handwritten Collection is a curated selection of hotels that exhibit charming and original concepts; appreciated by travellers who are searching for heart-warming travel experiences and cherish the unique personality of a hotel.

“We understand our customers and innovate to meet their needs and the needs of our owners. Handwritten Collection hotels promises a best-in-class experience, impactful gestures, and strong loyalty benefits and rewards through ALL - Accor Live Limitless which will keep guests coming back.”

As part of Accor’s new Handwritten Collection, Wonil Hotel, Perth was the first to open in February 2023, offering 66 short-stay accommodation rooms. A dining offering with panoramic views of the Swan River and UWA’s Crawley campus will also be available, appealing to hotel guests and local residents. Through a unique operating model, net revenue from the hotel will be reinvested back into the Forrest Research Foundation (FRF) to support current and prospective scholars and fellows, and sustain FRF into the future. The hotel completes the

Hotel Morris, opening on Pitt Street in Sydney in 2023, is housed within a striking Italian Renaissance styled building, featuring 82 bedrooms and a ground floor bar, Hotel Morris reopens as part of the Handwritten Collection after a major restoration. Located in the heart of the city on Pitt Street, near Central Station, Capital Theatre and World Square, this iconic property originally opened in 1929 and was Australia’s tallest hotel for 34 years. It is a rare example of Inter-War Palazzo style by architect, Virgil Dante Cizzio.

Lindsay Leeser, Senior Vice President Development & Franchise for Accor Pacific, added, “We are also fielding a number of calls from interested independent hoteliers, looking to retain their unique hotel identities and stories, whilst benefitting from Accor’s strength across, loyalty, distribution and procurement. We see this as the first chapter in the success story of the Handwritten Collection.” n 33 PARTNERSHIP
The historic Saint Gervais Hotel & Spa – Handwritten Collection in France combines the spirit of the art nouveau movement with contemporary decor
“Handwritten Collection hotels promise a best-in-class experience, impactful gestures, and strong loyalty benefits.”
Sarah Derry, Accor Pacific

Look to the future

The Asia Pacific Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) – the hotel event where deals get done – returns to the Adelaide Oval this May 2-4 with a spectacular line-up of local and global speakers.

The sell-out event, now in its 14th year, will draw over 1400 delegates including leading owners, investors, hoteliers, executives, and suppliers from around the world.

At a time when industry recovery is going from strength to strength, the conference will see top tourism and accommodation leaders discuss innovative ways to propel the industry forward, under the theme, Inspiring Success.


Among the global keynote speakers at AHICE this year will be Hilton President – Asia Pacific, Alan Watts; IHG CEO – Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa, Kenneth Macpherson; Marriott International President Asia

Pacific (Excluding Greater China), Rajeev Menon; and Travel and Leisure Co’s President and Managing Director International Operations, Wyndham Vacation Clubs, Barry Robinson.

TFE Hotels Chief Executive Officer, Antony Ritch, will discuss the company’s global expansion, and there will be a global keynote interview on The Future for Accor.

Hotel design will be put in the spotlight with a presentation from international designer and author Tim Kobe – the designer behind the original Apple Store.

34 HM The Business of Accommodation CONFERENCES
AHICE is now in its 14th year AHICE will present insightful Q&As and panel discussions


The conference will feature top local talent including Crown Resorts’ new Chief Executive Officer, Ciarán Carruthers, who will discuss the future of the business. There will be one-on-one interviews with EVT Chief Executive Officer Jane Hastings; Ascott Australia Managing Director, David Mansfield; and Hostplus CEO, David Elia.

Vista Hospitality Group Australasia Chairman, Patrick Imbardelli, and Pro-Invest Group Deputy Chair and CEO APAC, Jan Smits will be interviewed as well as 1834 Hotels’ Chief Executive Officer And South Australian Tourism Chair, Andrew Bullock.

A keynote speech on Australia’s Tourism Opportunities will be led by Senator, The Hon. Don Farrell, Minister for Trade And Tourism And Special Minister Of State.


An industry outlook will share insights from Accommodation Australia Incoming CEO, Michael Johnson; Hotel Council Aotearoa Strategic Director,

James Doolan; and STR Regional Manager Pacific, Matthew Burke.

The CEO Sessions will see a number of highprofile chief executives gather for thought-provoking conversation, while a two-part Operators Outlook will feature leaders from Hilton, Wyndham, IHG, Choice Hotels Asia-Pac, Hyatt, and more.

Other panel sessions will include a Regional Tourism Outlook, Boutique and Lifestyle Brands in Fashion; Luxury Brands in Focus; Marketing and Loyalty: Upping the Ante; The White Label Rules; The Essential Real Estate Outlook; The Asset Managers’ Outlook; and much more.

The event’s popular Drinks with the Bosses panel has been revamped this year to spotlight emerging leaders in the industry. Drinks With Future Leaders: What Rising Stars Want will see young talent express their views. On Day 2, you can expect further insights on the investment front with Drinks with The Investors – The Essential Outlook.


Following its successful debut in 2022, the Future Leaders Forum makes a return to AHICE on the afternoon of Tuesday May 2 (3pm-5:30pm) at SkyCity Adelaide.

The Future Leaders Forum is an under-35s leadership summit that spotlights the industry’s brightest stars. This exclusive, invite-only event will feature keynote addresses from global and local CEOs and think tank sessions on everything from higher learning to owners’ forums and rising the ranks.


Networking opportunities abound at AHICE – and not just in the conference hall. On Tuesday May 2, following Design Inn Symposium and the Future Leaders Forum, a gala networking reception will be held at SkyCity Adelaide. At the conclusion of the first day of AHICE, a 2023 Gala Reception will be presented by the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) followed by an AHICE ‘Tiki Lounge’ at Sol atop Eos, presented by Wayfarer. n

For more information on AHICE and the Future Leaders Forum, visit 35 CONFERENCES
AHICE returns to the Adelaide Oval in 2023 Emerging leaders are invited to experience The Future Leaders Forum at AHICE 2023 Hilton’s Asia Pacific President Alan Watts is among the global keynotes speaking at AHICE 2023

Aspire, inspire, innovate


Leading hotel designers, architects, owners, and operators will descend on SkyCity Adelaide this May 2 to discuss the future of hotel design at the 2023 Design Inn Symposium.

At a time when the industry is abundant in creativity with the emergence of new brands, refurbished properties and the rise of independent boutiques, the conference

will present a deep dive into the critical components of hospitality design, from lighting to energy efficiency.

Under the theme ‘Aspire, Inspire, Innovate’, delegates will be invited to discover innovative design, be inspired by local and international design leaders, and aspire to achieve excellence across every facet of design.

36 HM The Business of Accommodation
Design Inn delegates will be invited to explore the recently-opened Vibe Adelaide

Montague was established over 34 years ago in the UK with the sole focus of providing the high end hospitality furniture market with high quality custom case goods and furniture, delivered on time, in budget and without compromise on quality. This remains our focus to this day, after now completing over 350 projects to the same exacting standards across the globe.


Tracey Candido | Executive Manager Australasia Ph: +61 0416 089893 | E: |


Architects’ Michelle Evans, exploring the restoration and design of this heritage site.

The keynote presentation at Design Inn will be led by Tim Kobe, an esteemed designed leader, author and founder of the globallyrecognised strategic and experience design firm Eight Inc. Kobe is the designer behind the original Apple Store and has worked with other major companies including Virgin Atlantic Airways, Nike, Coca-Cola, Knoll and Citibank.

At Design Inn 2023, Kobe will present his approach to design that focuses on a holistic way of creating change and how design is driven by creating successful human outcomes through the crafting of holistic experience.

speaker that has been booked by major businesses including luxury group Kering, the European Travel Commission, Selfridges, Chanel, Harrods, General Motors, Design Hotels, Condé Nast Media and Omnicom.

Design Inn will also feature a masterclass in lighting and explore how products and advancements in technology are improving the guest experience while complementing design.

Back by popular demand this year is the operators panel, which will see design leaders from major hotel groups including IHG, EVT, Ascott Australia and Hilton share their learnings and their ambitions for future projects.

“This year’s conference will invite delegates to discover innovative design, learn about Passive House design principles, and be inspired by local and international design leaders,” said Design Inn Symposium Content Chair, Ruth Hogan. “With a melting pot of creative thinkers and industry experts, the conference will provide an outlook on the future of hotel design in 2023 and beyond.”


Kicking off with a breakfast masterclass, presented by Shape, Design Inn will offer a bigpicture construction outlook that will delve into the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. With panellists offering a range of perspectives across building, asset management, real estate, and investment, delegates can expect expert insights from those on the ground.

Sustainability continues to be front of mind for hoteliers and designers, and the next evolution of this is Passive House design – a model to achieve maximum energy efficiency.

Design Inn Symposium will present a deep dive into Passive House principles for hotels, learning from the leader in this space, Hotel Marcel – which holds the title of the first Passive House Design hotel in the U.S.

Hotel Marcel Owner Bruce Becker will lead this masterclass, and will be joined by Director Sustainability at Development Victoria, and founder of Australian Passive House Association, Clare Perry; Hilton Design and Project Director, Phillipa Le Roux, and other experts in this space.

A panel of design leaders will discuss the new brands and properties in the market including the recent launch of luxury lifestyle brand Capella, following the opening of its first Australian hotel in Sydney in March. Further to this, an in-depth design showcase of luxury brand Capella will be led by Make

Revered futurist and Co-Founder of The Future Laboratory, Chris Sanderson, will discuss the future of travel and accommodation in a thought-provoking interview with HM Editor Ruth Hogan.

A former presenter of Channel 4 series Home of the Future, Sanderson is an inspirational

The conference will conclude with the Australasia-Pacific Hotel Design Awards. The awards celebrate excellence in hotel interior design for projects located in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific (including Hawaii) that were completed and opened during 2022.

The four awards – for new-build properties, conversions, refurbishments and an overall winner, the Paul Davis Award – recognise exceptional projects that demonstrate design innovation, a commitment to sustainability design practices and deliver exceptional guest experience.

Delegates will then be invited to take part in hotel tours, giving them an opportunity to discover Adelaide’s new and refurbished hotels including Vibe Adelaide and Tryp by Wyndham among others. n

Register to attend now at

38 HM The Business of Accommodation
The Future Laboratory Co-Founder Chris Sanderson will discuss the future of hotel design at Design Inn The original Apple Store designer Tim Kobe will speak at Design Inn A design showcase of Capella Sydney will delve into the creation of this iconic hotel


Barry Robinson, President and Managing Director International Operations, Wyndham Destinations, Travel + Leisure Co., reveals the advantages of mixed-use resort developments, and the opportunities they present to hotel owners.

Barry, what makes Wyndham Destinations’ mixed-use development model so appealing to hotel owners?

Property developers and property owners want to minimise their risks and maximise their yield. Our vacation ownership products, if used in conjunction with a hotel, are extremely viable and present tremendous benefits to all parties. The model enables our vacation clubs to secure prime locations, while benefiting hotel owners through cost sharing and multiple revenue streams.

When you run a hotel that accommodates both vacation (timeshare) owners and hotel guests it provides a constant boost to food and beverage and retail outlets. With average occupancy rates of 86 per cent from the vacation ownership model – compared to average Asia Pacific hotel occupancy rates of around 70 per cent – the hotel owner benefits; the restaurants and bars benefit and Wyndham Destinations as an equity player benefits. With pent-up demand post COVID, occupancy rates at our club properties across Australia have been even higher over the past year.

Some of these mixed-use property developments have been winning major industry awards could you tell us about that?

We commit to a regular refurbishment cycle at our club properties, and this benefits hotel owners, because common spaces are always kept refreshed. Our club apartments are always maintained to a consistently high standard.

One of our most recent refurbishments took place at Club Wyndham Airlie Beach Whitsundays. As well as upgrading the common spaces, we completed the development of three stunning Presidential Villas, which have since been recognised with Best Interior Design at the global GNEX Vacation Industry Awards. These three-bedroom Presidential Villas are like nothing else in the region and are an example of the exceptional-quality apartment accommodation we offer to both club owners and resort guests.

You just opened the first TRYP hotel in Adelaide. How does that fit within your business model?

We run the biggest vacation club operation outside of North America with some 71,000 club members across Asia Pacific. We are also a hotel management company. The 35 hotels and resorts we manage across Asia Pacific

include club resorts, mixed-use developments, and pure-play hotels.

In 2019, we were appointed by our regional partner, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts to manage TRYP Pulteney Street Adelaide. TRYP by Wyndham is a unique, urban, lifestyle boutique brand with a global presence and this brand-new hotel opened its doors in March this year. It is located in a fantastic position in the heart of the city.

40 HM The Business of Accommodation PARTNERSHIP
“The model enables our vacation clubs to secure prime locations, while benefiting hotel owners through cost sharing and multiple revenue streams.”
Barry Robinson, Wyndham Destinations, Travel + Leisure Co.
Club Wyndham Airlie Beach Whitsundays Presidential Villa

Our clubs don’t own inventory in this property; however, TRYP still benefits from our club association by providing Associate Inventory to our club members. Wyndham Destinations, the club developer makes Associate Inventory available to members outside of the club resort collection. We do this to provide additional variety, especially in locations which are in high demand, such as South Australia. This has helped TRYP achieve high occupancy rates since opening and benefits the hotel owners.

Can you share some insights on your growth strategy for Wyndham Destinations?

Our growth in new and existing markets is continuing across Asia Pacific and beyond. We are expanding our clubs and managed portfolio by strategically selecting diverse destinations that deliver unique travel experiences to both vacation club members and guests. We have been able to accelerate growth in Asia with the tuck-in acquisition of Resort Frontier Co. Ltd, which has 16 properties in Japan. This has helped us grow Club Wyndham Asia. With borders once again open globally now, we are back up to full speed and starting to see significant member growth in markets like Japan, China, Indonesia, and Thailand.

We are interested in acquiring new properties across Asia, Australia and New Zealand to continue expanding our Asia Pacific club property portfolio, which is now worth more than AU$1 billion. n 41
“With average occupancy rates of 86 per cent from the vacation ownership model – compared to average Asia Pacific hotel occupancy rates of around 70 per cent – the hotel owner benefits; the restaurants and bars benefit and Wyndham Destinations as an equity player benefits.”
Barry Robinson, Wyndham Destinations, Travel + Leisure Co.
TRYP by Wyndham Pulteney Street Adelaide

Sweet dreamer

More often than not, hotels are aware of their competitors’ bedding offer and how it compares to their own, so the race to have something better is constantly evolving as comfort materials and other options such as adjustable bases become more advanced, and affordable.

What top innovations are happening in this space?

Expect to see more innovation as the move to AI driven technologies that self-adjust during the night, providing the most incredible, comfortable premium sleep you could imagine. This could be the nirvana for hoteliers, providing a bed that has adjustable comfort levels, allowing it to cater perfectly for almost every guest.

Sustainability is becoming an issue that is looming large in the consideration of hoteliers when choosing their beds. Questions like “Is it locally made, avoiding excess carbon footprint from transport?”, “What options can you offer for disposing of my old beds?” and “Tell me about the credentials of your supply chain” are becoming far more common and a more critical part of the decision process.

How has the range evolved to meet sustainability demands?

Tell us a bit about the history of AH Beard. At AH Beard our passion for better sleep has been keeping us awake at night since 1899. As a family, it’s our calling. And as a craft, we’ve elevated it to its highest form. We call it premium sleep. A combination of craftsmanship, technology, and an inherent talent for giving people the deepest, most rejuvenating sleep of their lives. We are family owned and locally made in Australia and New Zealand since 1899.

What are hoteliers looking for when it comes to beds and mattresses in 2023?

We are constantly asked by hoteliers to recommend “the best bed”. The best bed depends on a number of factors, but the key considerations of most properties are obvious: comfort, consistent performance and value for money.

We’ve taken a leadership position by launching our Origins range, Australia’s first fully recyclable bed, which is now available to hoteliers across the region. AH Beard is a founding member of the Australian Bedding Stewardship Council, an industry body that is working with government and the bedding industry to provide sustainable end of life solutions for bedding products and we will continue to passionately support the cause of a more sustainable bedding industry.

How important is sleep as part of the overall experience for today’s guest?

We are already seeing a rise in eco-tourism, and also specialised travel like sleep wellness retreats and “sleep tourism” where guests look to make the most of their vacation time by seeking the ultimate rest and relaxation, recharging themselves completely.

We’ve created the AH Beard Sleep Wellness Centre, partnering with some of the world’s foremost experts in sleep to give anyone access to coaching and advice on how to get the best night’s sleep and we are looking forward to partnering with those hoteliers who recognise the importance of good sleep and who are committed to providing the best possible environment for premium sleep. n

42 HM The Business of Accommodation
Peter Deveny, AH Beard
Comfort, consistency and value for money are the key factors for hoteliers when it comes to selecting the best bed

A Global Hotel Management Company

With a winning partnership philosophy of working hand-in-hand with owners

Luxury | 5 Star resort environmentally friendly experience

MĀUA is an all-inclusive upper upscale retreat that prioritises environmental sustainability, cultural understanding, and exceptional guest experiences. Our luxury resort offers an exclusive, secluded setting focused on wellness, peace, and health. We take pride in our carbon-neutral environmental preservation commitment and passion for providing unforgettable luxury service. MĀUA is the perfect destination for those seeking a luxurious and eco-friendly retreat.

Māua Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia

Brand Story

MĀUA is a brand associated with Faull Farms that originated from New Zealand and is part of our Chairman and President’s Maori heritage. Our brand name “MĀUA” means “Togetherness and Strength of the People” in Te Reo Maori, and it is embodied in an andesite rock carving at the entrance of the Faull Family farm in Taranaki, New Zealand, owned by the family behind SwissBelhotel International. MĀUA is a special recognition of the Maori Culture that has spread worldwide, reflecting the culture’s global influence.

Upper Upscale | 5+ and 5 Star

Swiss-Belsuites are designed for clients who appreciate additional space and may use it to host small meetings or entertain guests.

Brand Focus

• Targeting business people, families or group of friends travelling for leisure

• Representing the international standard for upscale hotel suites

• Ensuring consistency, efficiency and an overall welcoming approach

• Providing the latest technology

• Maintaining the highest product, service quality and reliability


• Located in major urban destinations

• Stylishly furnished and unique living space

• Environmentally sensitive

• State-of-the-art technology

• Personalised service and thoughtful spaces for both working and living

Swiss-Belsuites Victoria Park, Auckland, New Zealand

Upper Upscale | 5+ and 5 Star

Swiss-Belboutique is intimate in size. It’s not generic or bland, and offers its individualistic clientele a oneof-a-kind experience with an independent attitude.

Brand Focus

• Targeting individualistic clientele - up-market/financially-secure travellers

• Offering one-of-a-kind experience through its facilities, highly professional and personalised service

• Offering leading edge and outstanding food and beverage outlets with a celebrity-chef eatery in its lobby

• Ensuring consistency, personalised service and efficiency in its offering

• Maintaining the highest product, service quality and reliability


• Located in major urban or hidden resort location

• Modern or designer decor with a quirky touch

• Luxurious facilities in unique or intimate settings

• Environmentally sensitive

• 24-hour exceptional personalised service

Swiss-Belboutique Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Upper Midscale | 5 and 4 Star

Swiss-Belhotel is a full service hotel designed for travellers looking for comprehensive and well-appointed international-standard facilities enhanced with efficient, attentive service, providing comfort and security.

Brand Focus

• Strategic and convenient location in primary, secondary and resort locations

• Architectural design combining modern and local aesthetics

• Contemporary interior design and furnishings

• State-of-the-art technology

• Well-appointed recreational facilities


• Targeting discerning business and leisure travellers

• Offering international-standard facilities combined with efficient and attentive service as well as comfort and security

• Ensuring an overall friendly approach

• Providing the latest technology throughout the hotel

• Offering innovative, international-standard food & beverage facilities

Swiss-Belhotel Kuantan, Malaysia

Economy / Budget | 3 Star

Value-for-money accommodation, Swiss-Belinn offers business and leisure travellers dependability, modern and attractive facilities, combined with friendly service covering all essential needs in a relaxed and safe environment.

Brand Focus

• Targeting business and leisure travellers

• Representing the international standard for economy hotels

• Offering international-standard essential facilities combined with friendly, consistent and efficient service

• Functionality with a standard level of comfort

• Providing appropriate technology throughout the hotel


• Convenient location in primary, secondary and tertiary cities

• Contemporary style architecture, interior design, and furnishings

• State-of-the-art technology

• Limited recreational facilities

• A practical hotel accommodation alternative for fast-moving frequent travellers

Swiss-Belinn Sharq, Kuwait
HONG KONG • CHINA • INDONESIA • MALAYSIA • PHILIPPINES • VIETN AM • THAILAND BAHRAIN • EGYPT • IRAQ • KUWAIT • OMAN • QATAR • SAUDI ARABIA UNITED ARAB EMIRATES • AUSTRALIA • NEW ZEALAND • SWITZERLAND • TANZANIA For queries on Hotel Management, Development or Investment Contact Patrick Laybutt , Vice President - Operations and Development, Australia and New Zealand Mobile: (+61) 457 884 266 | Email: A GLOBAL LOYALTY PROGRAMME • It’s FREE to join • INSTANT benefits start right away • Simply make visits to get MORE exciting benefits • Visit = any transaction of stay, dine-in, and other hotel’s managed services PLEASE SCAN TO SCHEDULE A MEETING

Elevating LUXURY


Maud, it’s just over three months since you started your new role under the recent global restructure; how is it going? Do you think having a laser focus on a specific segment will deliver better outcomes for brands?

In my previous role, I was lucky enough to be CEO of Southern Europe. I was in charge of all the brands across seven countries, 1900 hotels – it was a lot to deal with. In the new organisation, which is officially live since January 1, we have two distinctive divisions; one is fully dedicated to Premium, Midscale and Economy brands, organised around geographies, the other division is Luxury and Lifestyle, organised around Maison. In my case, this Maison is dedicated to four brands – Sofitel, Sofitel Legend, MGallery and Emblems – at a worldwide level. The idea is more simplicity, laser focus, and somehow more accountability, and this is also what the owners were looking for. The obsession is to get into the nitty gritty of the power and potential of each of our brands. I've been traveling everywhere since October, and even more since January, because, having only 241 hotels, it’s big enough to have an impact but

small enough to give me the chance to get to know each property and to meet each owner – they all have a different story and profile because every region is different. You need to be culturally relevant.

Is luxury a particular passion of yours? And how do you think that luxury consumer has changed in recent years as a result of the pandemic?

To me luxury is really interesting because it’s a lot about people. You can have the best hotel in town with the most beautiful product quality but if the service is not there, you will never have the impression of luxury. I often say that luxury is an attitude. It’s about seamlessness, refinement, elegance – elegance of the design, refinement of food –but it’s not enough. It’s a bespoke approach. Within the Maison, we are going to, of course, develop the network, refurbish many assets, plus we are going to build a culture because it really is human driven. We are going to relaunch trainings about luxury codes, but also about emotional intelligence – this is a great way to take care of people, to know their preference. 43
Maud Bailly, Accor

I think post post-COVID, especially, but not only in the luxury industry, people want something that is genuinely authentic, with emotion and experience, not simply transactional. It’s about value for money. They want memories and more than ever, especially in luxury hospitality, we need to be memory makers.

As guests become more and more conscious about their environmental footprint, how do you balance sustainability with delivering on the expectations of the luxury guest? Accor has always been a pioneer on ESG. We have a program, Planet 21, which is an internal certification and CSR project that we launched years ago, far before it became something we had to do. We don’t want to wait for regulation to be compliant. I do strongly believe that the hotels of tomorrow must be sustainable, or they won’t exist anymore. Last year we launched our roadmap around seven pillars: eliminate single-use plastics, achieve carbon neutrality, fight against food waste, introduce eco-certified hotels, promote diversity, and give back.

In the guest experience, I think it’s about communication and even education. The day we stopped having plastic bottles in our hotels we had a very mixed reaction from guests. Some were super happy and even more choosing us for that; others were complaining because they felt they were losing a privilege.

We’re here in The Porterhouse Sydney, which is a beautiful MGallery hotel. MGallery was initially positioned in the Premium segment, but it has since moved over into Luxury. What has changed to elevate it to that level across the group?

I often say that a good sign of success of a brand is its premiumisation, and that is what has happened with MGallery. Recently, the MGallery hotels opening all around the world are four and even five stars. Our goal

is to ensure we are elevating the entire network, opening only flagships. And today, to us, it’s clearly belonging to luxury as a boutique hotel. It’s not the traditional big luxury hotel, it’s below 150 keys, homely, cozy, a dedicated unique destination [with its own story to tell].

These unique properties and collection hotels are becoming more and more popular. Are you seeing guests moving towards that and away from the traditional style of hotels? You can see from the figures in our pipeline what people are looking for. Today, we have 120 MGallery hotels all around the world and we’ve got 52 in the pipeline. They’re all beautiful, all unique, and the idea for us is to make MGallery the most famous network of [collection hotels]. You arrive as a guest and leave as a ‘Collectionist’ – you are looking forward to discovering new MGallerys because you know it’s going to be a different experience.

The new kid on the block in your Maison is Emblems – with one hotel currently, in Guiyang, China. What can we expect from this brand in the future?

Launching a new brand from scratch is tricky and very demanding because you have to be really consistent with what you want to do. Otherwise, you are saying a property is an Emblems when it’s not and you’re just killing the brand from scratch because you are diluting the brand standards. Emblems belongs to the soft brand collection in a boutique hotel collection. You have MGallery which is between four- and five-stars, boutique hotel, and Emblems is an exclusively five-star layer of this boutique hotel collection. We’ve got three criteria for Emblems: epic location – it has to be fabulous; the second is intimate feel – the very first one in China looks huge but there are only 64 suites so you will have this unique feeling of intimacy; and charismatic allure – beauty

44 HM The Business of Accommodation
Hotel Naru in Seoul is part of Accor’s MGallery collection

everywhere. Then there are three categories of Emblems: Heritage, which is mostly about conversion of historical buildings – recently we have been pitching a very famous historical building. Then you have Design, it could be new buildings, providing they embody the signature look of very famous designer or architect. Then there is one which I think will be ideal for Pacific, and this is the Retreat category. This is about deep connection to nature and a deep CSR commitment for luxury boutique hotels. It could be a beautiful eco lodge in Queenstown in an eco-regenerative building with a strong CSR commitment around plastic etc. plus a strong wellness offer. The promise will be to be sustainable in all these dimensions.

How is the wellness offering evolving across the luxury segment?

I’m often saying that the traditional approach of wellness is a bit old fashioned. Spending one week in a bathroom, starving, and waiting for a burger? No. I think post-COVID, people don’t want to just look good, they want to feel good. It’s about realignment, disconnection, rejuvenation. We are currently working on a label that will be attached to each of our brands called The Purist.

We started a pilot in June in the MGallery in Normandy, in the north of France. We want to be very humble and prove it works first. It will be a holistic approach to wellness through four pillars: treatments, sleep, nutrition, and sport. The combination of these four pillars is, to me, what people are looking for post-COVID – something more bespoke, tailor made.

There is a lot of talk about market challenges this year with inflation and a potential recession in the latter half of the year. What’s your outlook for 2023 and how these challenges might affect the luxury guest?

We have had the same concerns for a while, especially after COVID, but I can say so far, it’s not happening. Accor’s 2022 results show business is back, even above 2019 results. Yes, there is inflation, there is geopolitical tension; unfortunately, there is a war, there is tension on energy –nevertheless, the industry is literally booming. Plus, China and Asia haven’t really reopened yet.

The development perspective in Pacific is really good, which makes us super happy, but there’s still many destinations where we can be.

I’m always confident and humble, you never know. We are cautious, but that doesn’t time we shouldn’t be happy and celebrate, because the industry is back. n 45
Sofitel Legend hotels are designed to deliver an indulgent French luxury experience Sofitel Legend is part of Accor’s new Luxury and Lifestyle division



If you had walked past the historic Tontine building in lower Manhattan’s Financial District when it was a commercial tower, you’d immediately think it would make for a stylish boutique hotel and that’s exactly what Australia’s renowned Paspaley pearling family have done in creating The Wall Street Hotel.

The hotel is home to 180 individually-designed guest rooms and suites, that range in size from generous king rooms to spacious and luxurious multi-bedroom suites, alongside a stylish lobby bar, rooftop ballroom and French Brasserie La Marchande, which has been commanding excellent reviews since it opened.

To find out more about the property, HM caught up with The Wall Street Hotel General Manager, David Sandler in New York recently.

David, what makes The Wall Street Hotel one of the city’s hottest new hotels?

The Wall Street Hotel presents a stylish cultural centre


in the heart of New York City’s Financial District. With 100 years of international trade and travel experience, the Paspaley family – Australia’s renowned pearling family and the property’s ownership group – returns to New York City’s historic pearl trading district with an inaugural hotel.

Housed in the landmark Tontine building and blending the best of Manhattan’s brilliance, The Wall Street Hotel softens the edges of an ambitious metropolis, offering guests an elegant and gracious approach to service and hospitality.

What makes the hotel so unique in your opinion?

What makes The Wall Street Hotel stand out is its collection of contemporary Australian Aboriginal art. Each piece in the hotel collection was created in a remote APY art studio, especially for The Wall Street Hotel. Five top-tier artists from the region were invited, as part of the special commission, to create a series of painted works in their signature style to adorn the walls.

Tell us about the stylish rooms and suites on offer. The 180-room hotel has suites that range from 300 to 800 square feet, from intimate and cozy to spacious. Inspired by classic New York, the interior design has a light, yet saturated palette that evokes a sense of calm and warmth.

The four suites include the Carnegie Suite, Nesbitt Suite, The Great Pearl Suite, and Otto Suite, all providing complimentary WiFi, a custom entertainment system with casting capabilities, and Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speakers.

46 HM The Business of Accommodation HM Q&A
The Wall Street Hotel is owned by renowned Australian pearling family, the Paspaleys

David, tell us about the fantastic food and beverage on offer.

The Wall Street Hotel’s all-day lobby lounge, Lounge on Pearl, is perfect for after-hour cocktails, a light bite to eat, or a casual coffee.

The double-height space is modern with nostalgic elements throughout and features a rich palette of jewel tones and lush textiles. The sprawling space was designed for casual comfort as well as intimate moments, making it perfect for work or leisure.

When it comes to a classic dining experience, Michelin-star Chef John Fraser leads the team at La Marchande, a French Brasserie within the space.

Combined with Beverage Director’s Amy Racine premier French wine list of rare bottlings, such as grower Champagnes and library Beaujolais, Chef’s modernised take on sultry classics of French cooking gives guests an experience worthwhile.

What’s your point of difference at the hotel?

The Wall Street Hotel offers a Curated Concierge, where the guest experience will feel more personable than ever before.

With exclusive services and carefully selected partnerships, they strive to make every experience personal and memorable for the most discerning travellers and clientele.

Some of the in-room services include a private yoga/ pilates trainer, food delivery by Caviar, custom tailoring, nanny services, professional printing, and more.

What are your favourite things to do in the area?

With The Wall Street Hotel located in the heart of the Financial District, this spot offers an endless amount of things to do outside of the hotel.

The Financial District is the pulsing heart of Manhattan. Guests can head over on a 15-minute walk to the One World Trade Center, and then enjoy some drinks on Stone Street, where historic taverns and pubs align through the winding roads.

FiDi, as locals call it, offers a little bit of everything, but what many don’t realise is that the daily hustle and bustle converts to a cool and peaceful calm in the evening, making it the perfect place for dinner, drinks, or strolls along the waterfront. n 47 HM Q&A
The stylish boutique hotel is based in the heart of New York City’s Financial District A stylish lobby bar offers all-day service including light bites, coffee and cocktails
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When designing a guest room, the interior design team at Fender Katsalidis, led by Rosie Morley and Angela Biddle, believe that creating bespoke experiences brings connection and meaning to a hotel stay.

“When looking for the perfect pieces to layer into the interior design, we often turn to Studio Henry Wilson,” the team said.

“Henry is based in Sydney, where he designs and produces objects, lighting, and hardware in honest, durable materials such as bronze and stone.

“The solidity of his objects provides a sense of permanence, whilst their tactility and imperfection allow each piece to retain individual charm. Pieces feel indulgent and special yet undeniably practical, contributing to a narrative of curated comfort whilst bringing a sense of occasion to a hotel stay.”


With demand for sustainable building materials on the rise, Terrazzo is rising in popularity once again, according to Chada Creative Director, Juliet Ashworth.

“Terrazzo is one of the oldest sustainable building materials dating back to 16th Century Venice, where off cuts of marble were used to create a hard-wearing surface,” explains Ashworth.

50 HM The Business of Accommodation
No two guestrooms are the same at boutique Sydney hotel 202 Elizabeth Henry Wilson uses durable materials such as bronze and stone

“Like marble itself, it’s classic and will always endure, but the terrazzo look has recently scaled to cool status in hotel design circles.

“It doesn’t have to be the costly but very long-lasting precast block but a version that delivers the look in porcelain or even vinyl. If you’re designing using the real thing and you have enough quantity to justify customisation, then plastic waste, recycled glass and other waste materials can be used to create whatever scale of pattern or colour way you desire.

“Forbo Flooring has a vinyl with a traditional or chunky, digitally-printed terrazzo pattern which is soft underfoot. Slabs are great for bespoke ensuite vanities and terrazzo tiles have flat edges which fit cleanly together to give you an almost seamless look. In the porcelain tile world, there are a myriad different formats inspired by terrazzo.

“And remember, real terrazzo contains around 70% of recycled material and no volatile organic compounds or VOC – win win.”


When it comes to entertainment, guest expectations are higher than ever. As a result, many hoteliers are opting for tailor-made Philips Professional Display Solutions [PPDS], according to Westan Australia Head of Commercial Product, Richie Cheng.

“Together with the hotel, interactive Philips MediaSuite 4K displays are key to offering the best experience within the hotel’s guest rooms and common areas,” Cheng explains.

“To create a home away from home feeling, each in-room display greets its guest with a personalised welcome message accompanied by curated music tailored to their genre preference. Partnering with key integrators, content such as interactive guitar and yoga lessons can be offered via the CMND creation tool as part of the Philips MediaSuite offering.

“With the right partner, the displays also allow guests to view their current invoices, book amenities, and make room service requests for efficient and safe interactions with the hotel staff. For added convenience, the display language can also be changed to accommodate guest requirements.

“With Netflix and Chromecast built-in, guests can enjoy home-like luxuries during their stay by instantly casting their favourite content to the big screen from their personal devices. Not only does this bring greater convenience to the guests, but it also circumvented any theft possibilities of external connectivity devices. These key features result in both the guest and staff experience improvement.”


Striking wallpaper is making a statement once again with many hoteliers now opting to introduce this impactful design tactic to bedrooms and public spaces.

The recently-opened boutique hotel 202 Elizabeth in Sydney’s Surry Hills features bold, striking wallpapers from Kingdom Home Design in each of the guestrooms – some designs feature pineapples, while others include palm fronds or roses.

And fresh from its multi-million-dollar makeover, Adina Apartment Hotel Melbourne on Flinders has unveiled eye-catching wallpaper in various spaces including in the lobby where Mooi flocked wallpaper extends to the ceiling and is flanked by a second pattern.

Tailor-made displays can offer guests greater convenience and security

52 HM The Business of Accommodation ROOMS DIVISION
The Motley Hotel in Richmond, designed by Chada, features terrazzo tiles by Earp Bros in its ensuites


Bathroom fixtures and fittings are constantly evolving and at Grohe, its Lineare New tapware collection is taking an ultra-modern approach.

“The Lineare New basin mixer offers the ultimate in flexibility by combining a slim cylindrical body with the rectangular forms of the handle and spout; a harmonious blend of shapes that will complement any modern bathroom,” said Lixil ANZ Key Account Management Leader, Steven Higgins.

“In addition to the elevated design the mixer boasts our inner waterway technology Grohe Zero. This technology ensures there is no contact between the drinking water, and any metallic components in the tap. This eliminates the risk of lead or nickel leaching into the drinking water which allows us to offer healthier water enjoyment with Grohe Zero.”


Original artworks continue to make an impact as statement pieces in hotel rooms. At the recently opened Laneways by Ovolo, designer and TV personality Neale Whitaker has left his mark on a signature suite with a variety of original art, limited-edition objects and soft furnishings.

“These are all the things that are incredibly important to me,” Whitaker said.

“There are three big ticket items: a large painting by artist Nunzio Miano, a Sarah Nedovic Gaunt lamp and a portrait by Flynn Cowan.”

Miano’s flamboyant use of colour amplifies the energy in the room’s scheme, while the sculptural lamp by Gaunt was the last of the highly sought-after ‘Lady’ collection and is similar to a piece which Neale has in his own home. The illustration of Whitaker himself was created by former Ovolo staffer Flynn Cowan. n

54 HM The Business of Accommodation ROOMS DIVISION
The guest rooms at 202 Elizabeth feature a variety of bold wallpaper designs Grohe recently launched the Lineare New tapware collection Artist Nunzio Miano is featured in the Neale Whitaker suite at Laneways by Ovolo
Philips MediaSuite Your best in class hospitality TV solution Philips MediaSuite Smarter connectivity with Chromecast built in and Netflix ready Connectivity is everything. Whether you’re running a hotel or conference center, Philips MediaSuite brings a world of options to the screen with Chromecast built-in, Google Play Store and Google Voice Assistant. Philips MediaSuite is available in 32”, 43”, 50”, 55”, 58”, 65” and 75”. Contact us for more information Westan Australia 1300 963 963 Westan New Zealand +64 9972 1840 Westan Australia & New Zealand Professional Audio & Visual Solution Distributor

The whole package


Accor has always innovated, adapted to new trends and stayed ahead of the curve – that is our strength. The pandemic was a catalyst for resort demand across Australia and New Zealand as it awakened people’s desire to visit dream destinations and experience the world together – in small groups or with the whole family. In line with this, we are now seeing an uptick in resort developments.

Accor’s collection of preeminent resort brands, such as Pullman and Peppers, brings quality, credibility, and an outstanding guest experience to the resort market, and their strength in the key leisure destinations of Port Douglas, Palm Cove, Noosa, the Gold Coast, Cradle Mountain, and Bunker Bay, to name a few, will continue to grow.

Our resort portfolio continues to expand, with flagship new properties like Mondrian Gold Coast slated to open in 2024 and a substantial resort pipeline. Complementing our new build development activity, we are also continuously reimagining our existing resort offerings through

major refurbishment programs. Two exemplary examples of this are Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort and Sofitel Fiji Resort and Spa.

Development is the engine that drives Accor and our ability to offer the most diversified brand portfolio in the world allows us to stand out in the market. Hotel developers continue to partner with us because of the significant revenue boost provided by Accor’s powerful sales, distribution and loyalty platforms, and their satisfaction comes in knowing we have a brand that will comfortably match their property, their guest profiles, and their unique, local aesthetic.

We will continue to focus our efforts on this throughout 2023, aiming to deliver the right product to the right market, with the right partner, every time.


Paul Hutton, Area Vice President

– Head of Hilton Australasia

In 2022, leisure travel was our leading segment at Hilton in Asia Pacific, with group RevPAR surpassing those of 2019 levels. This demand has continued into 2023 and has seen Hilton look at the best ways we can provide exceptional stays and stellar hospitality to leisure travellers, with our portfolio of resorts being paramount in delivering this.

Our 2023 Travel Trends report shows us that this year, leisure travellers will turn to travel for deeper, more engaging human experiences and connections, with travel becoming the gateway to discovering different perspectives and rich traditions. It also shows us that they will seek out a sense of caring and enhanced wellness offerings when they travel.

56 HM The Business of Accommodation
Hilton is exploring opportunities to bring LXR Hotels and Resorts to Australia

With Hilton resorts spanning all corners of Australasia, from Surfers Paradise, Queenstown, to Fiji, and everything in between, we are very much ensuring our leisure guests have these meaningful experiences, new discoveries, and much needed downtime when they travel with us.

We also have a wonderful resort pipeline in Asia Pacific with some outstanding properties opening this year, including LXR Hotels & Resorts in Bali, La Festa Phu Quoc, Curio Collection by Hilton, and Hilton Okinawa Miyako Island Resort, all slated to open in late 2023.

We’re also eyeing opportunities to bring our LXR Hotels and Resorts brand to Australia. Launched in Asia Pacific in 2021 with Roku Kyoto, LXR Hotels and Resorts, the handpicked collection of luxury properties is found in the most alluring destinations, and each offer individual design, an unrivalled commitment to personalised service and elegant, yet locally immersive, experiences for guests.

We see a huge opportunity for the LXR brand in Australia, particularly with our abundance of incredible and inspiring experiences across food and wine, nature, wildlife, and culture for travellers to experience from the luxurious base of an LXR property.

IHG HOTELS AND RESORTS Cameron Burke, Director Development – Australasia and Pacific

Over the course of 2022, we saw very strong growth across our resort properties which was largely thanks to the boom in domestic tourism and Australians falling in love with their own backyard again. Crowne Plaza properties in Coogee and Terrigal, and InterContinental hotels and resorts in Sorrento, Hayman Island, Sanctuary Cove, and Fiji all experienced a surge in demand which well surpassed pre-COVID levels.

We have seen some great uplift from key inbound markets from the US, Europe and in particular Japan, which remains a core focus market for us when it comes to portfolio growth. We are excited to welcome

back Chinese tourism, which we believe will start coming back in greater volumes in the second half of the year. Our resort properties will undoubtedly see the benefit these guests bring, with luxury experiences high on the agenda.

Our interest in the resort sector goes beyond just capturing shortterm demand. We see great opportunity for upscale resort developments in regional, drive-to markets, and we’ve seen increased developmental activity in resorts from institutional investors, and separately in luxury branded residences in leisure markets. We’re in the process of rolling out our offering in this segment globally and will be sharing some announcements around this soon.

While there are great short-term gains to be had, we are driven by the long-term growth potential of the resort segment and focused on delivering returns for our owners. By lowering the cost to build, reducing the cost to operate, and increasing the owner's return on investment, we are ensuring that our resort properties are not only desirable for guests but also profitable for investors.


Richard Crawford, Vice President

of Hotel Development Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific

As the world’s largest hotelier, Marriott International manages hotels and resorts across all tiers of accommodation. Most notably, we are recognised as the global leader in the luxury and upper- upscale accommodation segment, with The Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis, JW Marriott, Sheraton, Marriott, Westin, W, Edition, Luxury Collection, Autograph Collection, and Bvlgari brands enjoying dominant market profiles and growing footprints.

All of these brands have a strong representation of resorts, located in some of the world’s most iconic leisure destinations. In Australia, our JW Marriott and Sheraton Grand branded resorts on the Gold Coast, 57
InterContinental Sorrento Mornington Peninsula has experienced strong demand since opening in August last year

plus the Sheraton Grand in Port Douglas, are amongst the country’s highest performing, and most popular, resorts.

The sustained success of these resorts throughout the pandemic has been due to a resurgent affluent domestic travel market. And, record average room rates at these properties has given confidence to hotel developers, who recognise there is now a strong business case for the development of new resorts in Australia. This investor appetite has seen Marriott announce new-build world-class resorts in Margaret River and on the Gold Coast, under our Westin, Ritz-Carlton, and St. Regis brands. Whilst our revenue forecasting for new resort developments in Australia is bullish, the scale and broad facilities of these projects will

make them particulary susceptible to the construction costs challenges facing our industry. In response to those headwinds, Marriott works closely with developers to value engineer every project, drawing on our leading expertise in resort operations at fifteen locations across Australia, Fiji, New Caledonia, Samoa, and French Polynesia.



When it comes to arrivals in Australia postpandemic, the country continues to be a leading destination for international tourists, but it has also seen strong domestic tourism recovery. Starting in Q3 last year, domestic tourism spending increased by 33% to AU$27.8 billion, compared to pre-pandemic levels. For international visitors, numbers are steadily returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Beyond its successful post-pandemic rebound, Australia is the perfect tourism destination. It’s ranked by the World Economic Forum as the number one country for natural resources which is no surprise given the stunning natural attractions that range from the pristine beaches of the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, and Great Ocean Road to the amazing rainforests in Cairns. It’s truly a unique destination where visitors and locals alike can explore and learn about the oldest living culture on earth. Australia does have it all, and it’s perfectly positioned to appeal to the wants and needs of the modern traveller – who prioritises wellness, the environment and unique experiences when making travel bookings.

All this natural beauty, along with a strong international and domestic tourism industry, stable government, and its prime location puts Australia in a good position to capture inbound tourists from Southeast Asia and an ideal for hotel investment Australia presents endless potential and hence will be a key focus growth market for Radisson Hotel Group.

In Australia, like in all our markets, we take a bespoke approach to catering to the needs of travellers by selecting the brands that are best suited to the modern traveller. For this market specifically, we’re geared toward resorts that offer a range of experiences. Be it Radisson Collection, a luxury lifestyle collection of resorts for experience-driven travellers, Radisson Blu, our upper upscale brand ideal for vacation destinations, or Radisson RED, an upscale lifestyle brand for resorts

58 HM The Business of Accommodation
Luxury resort The Ritz-Carlton, Gold Coast is expected to open by 2026 St. Regis will make its Australian debut on the Gold Coast in 2026
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with stylish design – our brands are all well suited for the development of resorts across a range of business models.

With all these opportunities, our Australia portfolio is primed for growth. We already have some exciting plans in the development pipeline, which we can’t wait to share with travellers when they book future stays at Radisson properties.


and offerings to guests and hotel/resort partners, primarily through our most generous, award-winning Wyndham Rewards program that recently crossed a milestone of 100 million enrolled members.


of Operations South East Asia and Pacific Rim

The Australasian resort market is ripe with opportunities, especially as China’s borders have reopened.

Before the pandemic, 1.4 million Chinese tourists visited Australia annually, accounting for 15% of the market. Meanwhile, New Zealand welcomed 400,000 visitors from China back in 2019, making it the country’s second-largest visitor market.

Chinese tourists will serve as a catalyst within the ANZ travel and hospitality industries, coupled with the pre-pandemic appetite for travel from other international travellers. Interest in all-inclusive resorts is flourishing as well, especially as stress levels have increased during the pandemic.

Based on our global data, 75% of travellers believe that the best way to travel is to book an all-inclusive trip and 77% think an all-inclusive vacation is the least stressful way to travel. All-inclusive resorts were also the top desired destination among working travellers.

As such, we remain committed to the resort market within the region and have seen strong demand particularly for our Ramada Resort properties throughout Australasia and the South Pacific. For instance, guests at Ramada by Wyndham Hervey Bay can enjoy the laidback surrounds of the Fraser Coast, while travellers to Ramada Suites by Wyndham Wailoaloa Beach Fiji can look forward to the stunning sunsets from the rooftop restaurant and local hospitable Fijian service.

Recognising that the region widely appeals to the modern-day traveller, we want to expand our strong portfolio of brands in Australasia and the South Pacific. We will continue delivering innovative concepts

The revival of the travel industry is underway in Asia Pacific and beyond, and we are excited for upcoming openings in the remaining year – further strengthening our position in the broader region and building upon our strong 2022 performance. In addition to upcoming city hotel openings in places like Auckland which will see our second La Quinta by Wyndham hotel open in Ellerslie, we also look forward to welcoming resorts such as the Wyndham Wallaroo Shores Resort in South Australia, a stunning leisure destination offering full resort services and amenities. We remain true to our mission of making hotel and resort travel possible for all. Our robust plans in Australasia are yet another step closer to reaching our goal of 2,000 opened and operating hotels and resorts by 2025. n

60 HM The Business of Accommodation
Radisson Hotel Group is focused on resorts that offer a range of experiences Wyndham is seeing strong demand for Ramada Resort properties throughout Australasia and the South Pacific
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When it comes to hotel room design, the standard room is front of mind and accessible rooms are often an afterthought, which can result in unattractive and poorly planned rooms.

Not only is this delivering a substandard experience to guests with a disability, who are paying for the same brand standards as any other guest, it also means that hoteliers are missing out on an opportunity to market their accessible rooms to every type of traveller.

As the first fully accessible hotel group in New Zealand, Sudima Hotels is setting the standard when it comes to accessibility. Working with accessibility organisation, Be Lab, the hotel is delivering an inclusive experience for every guest.

“We say, ‘accessible design is just good design’, because it actually creates better spaces, places and experiences, and benefits everyone,” Be Lab Programme Lead, Design and Delivery, Lauren Weitini, told HM

“It’s also smart design, because with 25% of the population identifying as having a disability, and a wave


of ageing travellers with significant spending power, the market is constantly growing.

“Understanding the full diversity of your customers and wanting to ensure a great experience for every single one of them must be the basis of accessible design, because accessibility can’t just be added on afterwards, it must be consciously designed in from the start. And it’s actually much easier and more cost effective to design in great accessibility at the beginning of a project.”

Be Lab Accessibility Coach, Angelo Samuels, points to The East restaurant at Sudima Auckland City as an example

62 HM The Business of Accommodation DESIGN AND BUILD
Little National Sydney has designed an accessible bathroom in line with its brand standards Sudima has earned the title of the first fully accessible hotel group in New Zealand

of great design that works well for a variety of needs.

“It is very spacious, and the flooring design of the restaurant creates the effect of two dining sections based on the surface design,” Samuels told HM

“This is great because neurodiverse and sightimpaired guests can sometimes have difficulty with highly patterned floor surfaces. Another great feature is the lighting, which can be independently controlled as required and all the large windows have full length blinds that can be drawn to control both the heat and direct external light.

“The internal colour tones of the restaurant provide good colour contrast. Provision is made to accommodate those who may require tables at different heights. This adaptability throughout the design means that guests with diverse needs can be comfortable.”

Samuels encourages designers who consult with experts on accessible and universal design principles to get creative and use colour and texture to enhance user experiences.

“It’s about creating spaces that are welcoming for everyone,” he added.


In Australia, the Little National Hotel in Sydney is highly regarded for its accessible guestrooms. Despite adopting a compact design for its standard rooms, Little National goes the extra mile with its accessible rooms to deliver comfortable and spacious rooms – with the best views in the house.

“Given that Little National Hotels are designed as a small luxury offering it was certainly a challenge for us to design an accessible room that is traditionally spacious to cater for accessible movement requirements,” said Doma Senior Development Manager, Alex Moulis.

“For this reason, we made a deliberate decision to make our accessible rooms the best rooms in the hotel.

“At Little National Sydney our accessible rooms are located on the best corner of the building with a curved glass window that enjoys partial water views through Barangaroo.

“The design points from a typical LN Room carry

through to this room type inclusive of a four-post super king size bed, overhead shower, and robe joinery. Importantly the room doesn’t feel clinical, and many guests wouldn’t realise that they are in a room that ticks all the regulatory requirements for accessibility.”

Accessible Accommodation Founder and Director, Kerry Williams, echoed Moulis’ sentiment saying, “accessible rooms don’t need to look clinical”.

“By thoughtful touches, or even lovely tiles, an accessible bathroom would appeal to people with and without disabilities,” Williams told HM

“There are gorgeous grab rails you can source; an accessible bathroom doesn’t need to look like a hospital.

Her advice to hoteliers and designers is “less is best”.

“A clutter free environment is more user friendly,” she said.

IHG’s Senior Director, Design and Engineering –Australasia, Jonathan Conroy, said advances in other sectors are making it easier for hotels and designers to deliver a good quality guest experience.

“The emergence of luxury retirement living as a sector has resulted in manufacturers and suppliers creating new or higher quality fittings,” he explained.

“This has helped the industry to move beyond the old, brushed stainless steel and nylon shower curtain approach.”

Conroy said it is the responsibility of designers, owners, and operators to lift the standard by selecting quality fittings from the outset.

“A lot of times, designers will go the easy route and, grab the things that they are used to using and they’re not necessarily particularly attractive,” he said.

“Too often it ends up being the builders who are determining what fittings are used in the final construction process. Builders will take the most cost-effective approach, but it doesn’t always serve the interest of owners.”

Conroy says that accessibility design codes and the consultants representing people with disability could also be inadvertently stifling creativity in this space.

“People with special needs are paying the same amount and are entitled to the same quality of experience,” he added. n 63 DESIGN AND BUILD
Little National Sydney’s accessible rooms feature a curved glass window and four-post bed
“Accessible design is just good design.”
Lauren Weitini, Be Lab
The East restaurant at Sudima Auckland City is designed for a variety of needs


Enlisting the support of a professional is not just about skills, it’s a whole new way to think about event production.

When you are planning an event, there’s a rich journey to consider; not just yours or the client’s, but also the attendees’. Each interaction – from pre- and post-event engagement to everything the venue may offer – leaves an indelible mark on whether the day is successful. Still want to go solo? This immersive user journey is much harder to pave alone. A strategic production service can make all the difference for drawing out your space’s true potential and helping a client feel heard, seen and valued.

Katherine Pfahl, director of strategic partnerships at Encore Event Technologies, has seen the benefits of this approach play out time and again. Below, she tackles the decisive question of what it means to bring a production expert on board, serving new needs and expectations in the events market.


The latest equipment can only go so far. Advanced projectors, screens, speakers and lighting rigs are the groundwork for ensuring your events deliver their key messages, but creative design is equally vital

64 HM The Business of Accommodation PARTNERSHIP
Live-streamed events are growing in popularity Katherine Pfahl, Encore Event Technologies

to keep clients coming back. A production partner should be able to create tailored solutions that fit the theme and goals we glean from every customer.

At Encore, we present detailed, visual plans to our clientele, bringing events to life early in the sales process. This relies on taking time to understand what they want to achieve and how every inch of the venue can immerse an audience. We suggest how images, sound, texture and spatial choices align to allow people to connect with the event programme and each other.

If you’re staging something on your own, with template designs and basic AV equipment, these details are easy to miss. But they certainly matter. Our 2022 venue partner evaluation survey garnered a 96% satisfaction rating for customer service and 99% for overall satisfaction – both of which largely stem from our careful approach to production.


How are you using available space? Can you adapt one area for another purpose, staging several types of events under the same roof? More business opportunities come thick and fast when you can feasibly accommodate several briefs – transforming a conference room into a gala dinner, say, or flipping an AGM into an awards show within several hours. Clients don’t have to hunt for another venue.

We often like to suggest mobile installations: bespoke stages, rigs and AV units that overcome fixed restrictions, flexing with the decor, branding and floor plans we’ll strategise together. Our teams can move and remove these installations on the same day, ready for any requirements. The result? Plenty of return business, even if you want to recreate a theme perfectly for roadshows.


Since the pandemic, we’ve seen a huge appetite for more diverse event solutions – the kind that allow people to attend from anywhere, in-person or digitally, with the same meaningful experience. Crossplatform networking, live-streamed Q&As and audience polls increase engagement in a number of ways, as do extended reality (XR) presentations that raise your game for jaw-dropping keynotes.

Plus, the days of back-to-back sessions are over. Attendees want private spaces to take a break and perhaps work on their own assignments. An experienced production partner has both ears to the ground for these trends and technical developments. In Encore’s case, we usually get the latest, greatest equipment first, lending a competitive advantage for all the venues in our network.

Connect with me to discuss your venue’s needs. n


Encore creates memorable event experiences that engage and transform organisations. As the global leader for event technology and production services, Encore’s team delivers award winning events through design, advanced technology, staging, and digital solutions for in-person and hybrid events. Encore operates in more than 20 countries across Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, throughout Asia, North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Encore is the trusted partner of choice for over 100 leading hotels and venues in the region. 65 PARTNERSHIP
A production partner can create tailored solutions to fit a theme and goals

Behind the scenes


66 HM The Business of Accommodation
Four Seasons Hotel Sydney has added a customisable cinematic screen to its Grand Ballroom

Three years on from the onset of the pandemic, the wedding industry is booming like never before as couples finally get their opportunity to tie the knot after – in some cases –several postponements.

This has had a knock-on effect on booking patterns in 2022-2023, with the lead time for couples looking to book their wedding reception extending significantly, according to Hyatt Regency Sydney Associate Director of Event Sales and Planning, Mary Kennis.

“We find a significant amount of couples are looking to have a long engagement, seeking wedding receptions to take place in excess for 18-24 months from enquiry – much longer than the previous pattern of 12-18 months, which poses challenges for the 2022-2023 season,” Kennis told HM.

“We are still confirming receptions within the 12 months’ timeframe and are strategising on guiding couples to ‘date of need’ for our venue (vacancies) rather than popular ‘dates of want’ which may be either outside of our booking pattern or in really high demand.”

Due to its large event spaces, Hyatt Regency Sydney is continuing to receive enquiries for big weddings, as well as max capacity events in its two ballrooms – Maritime Ballroom and Grand Ballroom – but smaller, more intimate weddings are on the rise.

“In each pillarless ballroom, we can service up to 550 wedding guests comfortably, although often the average wedding size for our venue is around 350-400 guests,” Kennis said.

“More than ever, we are seeing enquiries for intimate weddings of up to 100 guests, and clients seeking a more luxury style reception in a city hotel.”

The hotel is expanding its wedding and events offering with the recent opening of a new events space, The Upper Deck, which will cater to more intimate receptions.

“It is one of the unique locations we offer as a stand-up, cocktail-style event, as an alternative to the traditional seated banquet style reception,” Kennis said.

“As we did not have an offering for this setting before, this is an exciting opportunity to engage a new style of bride who is seeking the sophistication of a city venue without all the fuss of dressing (and inviting enough guests to fill) our ballroom.”

The new space gives the hotel an opportunity to tap into the growing trend towards private events and pre-wedding functions as well as the proposal itself, which Kennis said is taking on a whole new role in terms of wedding planning.

“We have found ourselves assisting the planning of spectacular and styled proposals in unique areas around the hotel which include meticulous planning from the proposer and a list of vendors to help achieve the ultimate surprise event,” Kennis added.


On the technology front, Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is taking its wedding experience to the next level with the recent installation of a cinematic mega LED screen – five times larger than a traditional projector screen – in its Grand Ballroom.

The 16-metre-wide by 4-metre-high screen – delivered in partnership with in-house audio-visual specialists AVPartners – can run 4K video and high-resolution imagery with sound.

“The screen transforms the wedding experience from the moment the couple first tours the space,” Four Seasons Hotel Sydney Director of Catering, Maria Mellino, told HM

“It allows them to envision their theme and together create a magical backdrop. From stories on where they met or where they are from, to

a backdrop of fireworks during the first dance, the possibilities are endless and allows everyone to be creative.

“Whether it’s a lush forest or remote island, among the stars or clouds, or a famous landscape like the city of Paris or the volcanoes of Hawaii – the screen is our window to the world.”

The hotel team works with the couple and/or wedding stylist to deliver their chosen display which can be incorporated into the décor.

“I would say about 90% of our couples use the screen and absolutely love it as they can be creative as they want,” Mellino added.


With renewed confidence in international travel, destination weddings are on the rise once again, with Bali proving to be a popular market for Australian couples.

Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, Sales and Marketing, Ian Kusuma, told HM that the venue is seeing an increasing number of international weddings.

“We are seeing a rise not only in Australian weddings, but also domestic – Indonesia and other international markets,” Kusuma said.

“Following the removal of travel restrictions, a lot of couples are really keen to take this opportunity not only to travel but also to hold their wedding overseas in a beautiful location like Bali, so that they can also invite their relatives to join them.”

When it comes to size, Kusuma says bookings vary from intimate weddings with 15 or so people to weddings of up to 100 guests.

The average length of stay for wedding parties at the property is one week. Often the couple and close relatives will stay longer whilst other guests may stay for just a weekend or a few days, depending on how far they have travelled. n 67 EVENTS
Hotel Indigo Bali Seminyak Beach is seeing an increase in Australian weddings


everything was available to photograph all the meeting rooms and guest rooms. We wanted to make sure the setup of each space was informative yet with minimal decor allowing the client to visualise their event.”

The response from team members and guests has been very positive with the technology proving to be a great timesaver for all parties.

Communications Manager, Andrew Sanchez, told HM

In partnership with Yellow Dog Productions, the hotel recorded a 3600 video of the hotel, to invite potential clients and guests to walk through the property and discover each space.

“It was definitely a big challenge because every step forward is one shot,” Sanchez explained.

Virtual technology was embraced by the hotel industry out of necessity during the COVID pandemic, but many hotels are seeing the value in this technology as an ongoing form of client and guest communication.

According to a report by Accenture, more than half (53%) of consumers would better remember brands that regularly engage them with immersive technologies.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is one of the many hotels that embraced these immersive technologies in recent years and is now making further investments to optimise the virtual experience.

“As the virtual world came into our reality during COVID, we all agreed that our meeting space needed to be accessible to our meeting planners at home and to those who are not travelling,”

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney Director of Marketing, Helen Radic, told HM

“We began the conversation in 2021, then in early 2022 we were able to secure a day where

“As we are all looking at ways to be more efficient with our time, we see it as a great tool as we can provide alternatives to a timely site visit,” Radic said.

“We can customise the link with the exact meeting space options and send it directly to the client.”

In 2022, the hotel received 14,000 page views on its virtual tour link and Four Seasons is making further investments in this technology to improve the experience.

“During the year we also added a CGI floorplan of our ballroom so our guests can visualise the space at its fullest capacity,” Radic said.

“Four Seasons will be launching another capability at the end of the year to customise this functionality per group which we are excited to share with our clients when it goes live.”

Accor’s Novotel Sydney Darling Square is also using 3D technology to showcase the property – its F&B offering and events spaces – to those who are unable to make an in-person visit.

“With interstate and overseas enquiries, this is the best way of showcasing the hotel or taking them through a tour virtually,” Novotel Sydney Darling Square and Pumphouse Sydney Digital Marketing and

“It captures everything in a 3600 field of view, so there really is no room for error, everything has to be perfect.”

Sanchez says they are “only beginning to scratch the surface of this virtual tour” and that there are so many opportunities to enhance the experience for users.

“We can augment a wine glass icon in our wine room so that when you click on it, it will bring up the wine menu. We can do the same at the bar; when you click on another icon, it can bring up the food and beverage menu,” he explained.

As with any other online platform, the hotel can track engagement, session length, etc. And while conversions are a little harder to track, there’s anecdotal evidence that the technology is saving time and resources spent on inperson visits.

“Anecdotally, I can confirm that it has reduced the formalities of having to do a site visit,” Sanchez said.

“Ultimately, nothing can beat being on site, in person, but in terms of in the content consideration aspect, if one property doesn't have it, and one does, it makes a huge difference. n

68 HM The Business of Accommodation TECHNOLOGY
Hotels can showcase their meeting and events space to interstate and overseas visitors through 3D video tours


help to negate the effects of rising inflation.”

Guests can dictate the number and frequency of the payments they make and won’t be faced with any penalty fees. It’s the first digital lay-by platform available in this space and offers instant approvals and no credit checks.

Should a guest need to cancel their booking, the standard hotel cancellation policy will apply, and they will not be penalised by PlanPay.

Increasing direct bookings is front of mind for every hotel; but with a cost-of-living crisis looming over consumers, travellers are more budget conscious than ever.

In a bid to drive direct bookings, without encouraging travellers to spend beyond their means, Ovolo has become the first hotel company to introduce PlanPay – a flexible payment plan to cover the cost of bookings before their stay.

In contrast to buy now, pay later (BNPL) platforms that rely on credit, PlanPay allows guests to use their own money to pay in manageable instalments.

The payment system allows guests to lock in room rates ahead of time – up to two years in advance – to protect from any price hikes.

“Everyone knows that advance bookings are the key to hotel affordability and that the anticipation of the trip is as much a part of the fun as the trip itself,” said Ovolo Chief Executive, Dave Baswal.

“With PlanPay, you can manage both these elements and control your costs for a hassle-free holiday on your own terms.

“This means those who are struggling to budget can still afford to live their travel dreams effortlessly without waking up to a financial nightmare.”

PlanPay Group Director of Sales, Distribution and Revenue, Ryan Tuckerman, told HM that it is a timely solution amid rising inflation.

“With PlanPay customers can set up a payment schedule that suits their own ability to save, with up to two years to complete their transaction,” he said.

“That means people can look in rates up to two years out, which could

Enabled by digital hotel booking engine RoomStay, the payment option aims to help hotels secure direct forward bookings.

“By giving our guests power over their payment, we expect to see a lower barrier at check-out, which should mean fewer abandoned sales,” Tuckerman said.

“PlanPay is a new system, so we don’t expect a huge impact on direct bookings at first, but we do believe that the option will deliver a better customer journey for some of our guests who may be finding it hard to budget for their holidays.

“With rising interest rates and inflation, this is definitely a product for today’s traveller. In addition, it’s a great way to build a longer lead time, which will allow us more opportunities to add value to the customer journey during the planning phase.”

Tuckerman said that the platform was born out of a desire to make travel more accessible and budget friendly.

“There are no establishment fees, no late fees, no monthly fees, no skipped payment fees, and no credit charged,” he said.

“The only fee that applies is to the merchant – in this case to Ovolo Hotels – and this fee is actually smaller than what we pay to many OTAs so we see this as another platform through which we can sell rooms to our customers.”

Ovolo and PlanPay believe the offering will appeal to younger travellers who don’t want to deal with credit cards, as well as families trying to manage their budgets. With their combined reach, they will get the message out to these travellers through web, social and digital channels as well as through OOH, media and PR. n 69 FINANCE
Ovolo has partnered with PlanPay to facilitate payment by instalments


Arare sight in hotel lobbies in recent years, the humble hotel gift store is rising in popularity once again, particularly in parts of the world with a growing middle-class market.

Globally, the hotel gift shop, novelty, and souvenir industry is worth US$18 billion and is made up of over 22,500 stores, according to First Research.

These stores give hotels the opportunity to extend their brand impact beyond guest stays, provide an additional revenue stream for the hotel and – when well executed – can improve the overall guest experience.

The Langham Hotels and Resorts is tapping into guest demand for luxury mementos with its signature gift shop, Flavours of Langham. Through this retail offering, guests have

the opportunity to take home a curated range of products from The Langham signature fragrance to luxury items.

“The Langham, Gold Coast’s signature gift shop provides everything you need to take The Langham experience home with you when you check out,” The Langham Gold Coast General Manager, John O’ Shea told HM.

“From our Ginger Flower scented candles, diffusers, room sprays and pet accessories to luxury designers such as Camilla clutches, hair accessories and more.”

Being a resort property, The Langham Gold Coast has the additional opportunity to serve up items for a day at the beach.

“Our retail nook stocks The Langham’s favourites and essentials as well as being tailored to our beachside setting and offers the

70 HM The Business of Accommodation

perfect resort accessories such as a Langham beach bag, We Are Feel Good sunscreen, kids buckets and spades, Cubs & Co kids hats and sunglasses and James Cosmetics to Slip eyemasks,” O’Shea added.

The General Store Chief Strategy Officer and Partner, Danny Lattouf, believes many hoteliers are missing out by not tapping into this important revenue stream.

“Sadly, hotel gift stores are neglected and viewed as an afterthought, often with a boring product offering and shoved into the back of the hotel,” Lattouf told HM

“The reality is that you have a really captive audience who are spending time in your hotel, particularly if it’s a resort where people stay longer.

“If you offer a great retail experience with

a considered product range to help evoke beautiful memories, your gift store could be really successful. But if you’ve got a mediocre hotel gift store and the customer still picked up a souvenir at the airport on the way home, you’ve failed.”


Lattouf says “hotels have played it safe for too long”.

“If these stores were given just a bit more love, they could really inspire customers to stay longer,” he said.

“After all, if a customer is willing to drop $500 on a massage within your hotel, why wouldn't they be open to spending $200 on a piece of local art in your store?”

But when it comes to cost, travellers still expect value for money, Lattouf explained.

“If your items are expensive, then the customer needs to see and understand the value,” he said.

“Make sure the value perception and proposition are correct.”

With the rise of independent and boutique hotels, these hoteliers have the opportunity to put their own unique stamp on the retail concept with a curated range of local goods.

“The design aesthetic, product range and experience of the gift store should be a reflection of your brand and seen as an extension of

the hotel and its location, whether it’s in the mountains or by the coast,” Lattouf said.

“A gift store within the W would look hip and on-trend and it might sell products like branded shot glasses, but a five-star luxury resort in the Hunter Valley would have a different vibe and might sell crystal decanters instead.”

It is up to each hotel and its team to ensure that the product offering and service inspires guests to make a purchase.

“There is an element of contextual commerce that should be in the hotel retail experience,” he said.

“Encourage customers to purchase souvenirs when they are still on a holiday high and creating new memories. Particularly for a premium hotel, there is an opportunity for more hotels to lean into their beautifully defined brands here.”

According to Lattouf, having a successful gift store can have far-reaching effects, beyond the hotel lobby.

“You need to be ready to compete with every other retailer out there, not just other hotels. The ultimate gift store is one that people will want to visit, even if they’re not staying in your hotel,” he said.

“In a similar vein to successful hotel spas, these customers will go out of their way to visit your store if your brand and retail experience resonates with them.” n 71 BRANDING
The Langham’s signature gift shop Flavours of Langham offers guests branded products that can serve as a memento of their stay Glasson Lakehouse in Ireland offers a boutique retail experience
“If you offer a great retail experience with a considered product range to help evoke beautiful memories, your gift store could be really successful.”
Danny Lattouf, The General Store





Lancemore Group Sommelier

How did you get into this area?

My grandfather was a retired QC – to keep himself occupied he planted a hobby vineyard on his property in Eltham. From early childhood, my memories of wine became filled with family – picking grapes, bottling, laughter, and adventure. Thus, my love of wine was born.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I genuinely get a kick out of bringing great wines and great people together – creating wine memories for people and igniting a spark that they didn’t know they had inside themselves. When people walk away talking about their wine experience, I know that a very special memory has been created for them.

What wines are proving popular with guests at the moment?

Our guests generally come for a luxury King Valley experience – in wine this translates to the best the region has to offer. Hard-to-find back

72 HM The Business of Accommodation
Lancemore Milawa in Victoria’s High Country invites guests to explore a luxury King Valley wine experience Jacqueline Lewis, Lancemore

vintages of local wines, special cuvees, and small production Pinot Noir are all very popular as a hard-to-find local experience.

Are there any climate impacts on vines in the region this year?

In Australia the past several years has proven particularly trying for agriculture across the board, and wine is no exception. Fires and floods have all been disastrous. This year again has been challenging with cold weather and ill-timed hail. Small producers are starting to find it very difficult having no wine to sell and we are seeing substantial rises in costs to consumers as farmers must make ends meet with tiny quantities.

Any interesting wine consumption trends that you have observed of late?

There is a genuine movement towards more considered wine consumption with people taking interest in who made it, how it was made, and the story of the farmers behind the wine. The trends we see in food – sustainability and responsible production – are making their way to the wine world as well.

CAMILA LUZZI, Sommelier, The Ritz-Carlton, Perth How did you get into this area?

It happened so naturally; wine has always been my passion. My initial goal was to work in sustainability – my first degree was in Tourism Management with a specialisation in sustainability. I was working in hospitality before, mostly with European wines whilst living in Sydney. When I came to visit Margaret River to research about sustainable wineries, and how they were making it possible, I was lucky to get a dream job on a winery that was viewed as a pioneer and leader in sustainability in the region. This opened my eyes and showed me that it was possible to combine my two passions whereas before I had thought they could only operate independently of each other. This gave me the drive to pursue my dreams and apply for further education in environmental science and to become a wine specialist.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

To have the opportunity to work with what I love. Understanding the environmental factors of that season and how that impacts the wine

and ultimately the final product. Based on this matching the produce from that region to showcase both the vintage and the food. I love seeing a guest’s face light up when they try a pairing I have recommended, it enhances their entire experience.

What wines are proving popular with guests at the moment?

We are at the end of summer season; a chilled red was a bestseller. The WA summer can be quite hot, a red that is served chilled is a great choice and can make an incredible matching, it goes very well with food.

Are there any climate impacts on vines in the region this year?

The vintage this year is doing incredibly well and so far there has been no impacts from nature or climate. Last year was a colder than average winter with less rainfall however this has not negatively impacted the vines. We have had mostly sunny days and no extreme heat, coupled with a cool southerly breeze to help to retain fruit acid.

Any interesting wine consumption trends that you have observed of late?

Natural sparkling a.k.a. Pet Nat which stands for Petillant Naturel which is when all the fermentation is finished in the bottle with minimal to no intervention. Also popular are chilled reds and orange wines.

What’s involved in the wine experience at the Ritz Carlton Club Lounge?

It is a personalised wine journey that starts with a glass of a premium WA sparkling accompanied by our local cheese board served with Hearth made local condiments whilst engaging in conversation to get to learn more about the guest’s experience and wine interests and passions. Based on this information, I tailor and recommend WA wines for them to taste based on what they interested in. 73 F&B
Camila Luzzi, The Ritz-Carlton, Perth The Ritz-Carlton Perth is inviting Club Lounge guests to enjoy personalised wine experiences


Wine Curator, The Interlude (TFE Hotels)

How did you get into this area?

Being from Mauritius, I didn’t grow up with a wine culture – it is a rum country, so food initially attracted me to wine. And good cooking was an important part of my upbringing. Working in Melbourne, I quickly became fascinated by the complexities of wine, whether it was from blind tasting to matching wine with food, I wanted to know it all.

I began training on the job at Melbourne Supper Club. I then travelled back home to work in the 5-star Constance Hotels in both Mauritius and the Seychelles, which boast an extensive wine program with strong mentorship from visiting experts and winemakers. But I didn’t start my wine journey until I was 27 – after eight years working in hospitality across various roles.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

To travel around the planet accessing some truly mystical wines. To taste with the vignerons/winemakers who craft those wines; to talk with them and understand their philosophy beyond the making of wine; and to deep dive into the way they interpret nature to create those layered complex wines that we love to drink so much. It is both an art and a science.

What wines are proving popular with guests at the moment? Guests are looking to enjoy wines that are unknown to them, and they’re looking for adventure. With a sommelier to guide them, they’ll discover new things all the time. With the great value wines with amazing complexity coming from places in Spain, Portugal, Austria, Slovenia and, of course, locally, there are a huge spectrum of flavours

to experience. Alternative varieties made locally like Aligoté, Gamay, Cinsault, Trousseau, Barbera, are also becoming popular.

Are there any climate impacts on vines in the region this year?

Climate impacts on vines all the time without respite. 2023 is proving to be a cooler year and a lot of producers haven’t even started picking their grapes yet. This year there is a long ripening season which will mean phenolic ripeness (that is the changes in the tannins that occur in grape skins, seeds, and stems). Everyone I’m speaking to is talking about a great vintage.

What’s involved in the wine experience at the new entertainment and dining precinct at Melbourne’s Pentridge? Excitingly, the wine experience extends to a few brands at Melbourne’s newest dining and entertainment precinct at Pentridge. With Olivine wine bar and the nearby bistro, North & Common, we have a wine list of 525 labels. The list is known as the Book of Wine and has been curated to give context and narrative to wine, with wine maps designed by a local artist. It is divided into chapters with a preface and an epilogue.

Wine will also be the focus of our curated special events. Guests who book an experiential stay at our 19-suite urban retreat, The Interlude, will have access to elevated experiences that extend beyond The Book of Wine. Special events, MICE and wedding guests will also have their own wine immersion points, with access to special wine tastings like Time Travel with Wine, where we showcase of the same grape from recent vintage versus an older vintage. Other themes look at the same wine from different regions. So, rather than a story of time, we now go into a story of place, like a vintage 2014 Gewürztraminer from Australia versus one from France. n

74 HM The Business of Accommodation
Liinaa Berry, The Interlude

On the up



Ally McDade, Pacific Head of Hotels and PBSA Research; Michael Simpson,

The recovery of the NSW hotel sector was initially underpinned by a surge in domestic demand driven leisure travel. However, over the last year, Sydney has experienced one of the strongest y-o-y growth profiles across Australia driven by a return to corporate travel and a recovery in international arrivals. Over the YEJan23, occupancy growth outpaced all major tourism regions, up 72% to 67%. This is the highest result since the pandemic but remains 17% below YEJan19 results. The Average Daily Rate has now outpaced the pre-pandemic rate at AU$253 and was up 30% over the year. As a result, Revenue Per Available Room (RevPar) has recorded strong growth to AU$168, however still 12% down on pre-pandemic performance.

Second to Melbourne, Sydney has recorded the most significant y-o-y growth rate in ADR and RevPar.

There is a strong pipeline of premium stock currently under construction and due to open over the next two years in Sydney. Notable projects include Citadines Walker, Capella, W hotel and 25 Hours totalling ~1200 rooms. As Australia’s major international gateway market, Sydney is anticipated to be a primary beneficiary of recovering international arrivals, which will help push occupancy levels higher. Average Daily Rates are forecast to achieve more modest gains in 2023 following record breaking growth over the past two years. Regional locations should continue to benefit from strong local demand as a volatile AUD, record high flight prices and geo-political tensions encourage many Australians to holiday at home.

Already in 2023, we have seen strong transaction activity in Sydney, highlighted by the recent sale of the future Waldorf Astoria Sydney, a record single asset price for a hotel in Australia. While we anticipate a pausing of major transactions for the next quarter, we anticipate strong volumes again in Q3 and Q4 of CY2023 as buyers and sellers get greater visibility on the peak of the RBA’s cash rate increasing cycle.

The ACT, and more specifically Canberra, has experienced a 45% uplift in domestic visitation over the YESept22 (TRA). This has been driven by a return to corporate and government travel and an increase in interstate holiday makers. As a result, occupancy 75 REAL ESTATE

achieved strong growth reaching 71% by Jan23. This is the highest result since the pandemic and is only 8% shy of YE Jan19 results. Average Daily Rate (ADR) has now outpaced the pre-pandemic rates at AU$207 and was up 19% over the year. As a result, Revenue Per Available Room (RevPar) has recorded strong growth to AU$146, up 90% over the year and up 6% on pre-pandemic rates. The supply pipeline for Canberra remains thin. The most recent additions to the Canberra hotel market were in 2021 when Campbell 5 delivered 129 upscale rooms to the city. The only new project currently under construction is the Meriton Suites due to complete this year. This upper upscale project will add 270 new rooms, or around 4% of existing hotel stock. The mooted pipeline for Canberra is in excess of 2,500 rooms across 15 projects. However, progress remains slow, and majority are considered ‘on hold’ as developers wait for market stabilisation. Canberra is expected to benefit from a continued recovery in government and business travel, in addition to stabilisation in domestic leisure demand and improving inbound arrivals. In response to a lack of new supply, the market is anticipated to reach a prepandemic occupancy rate by mid-year. The exceptional Average Daily Rate growth experienced throughout 2022 is forecast to moderate in 2023.

The ACT has had relatively lower transaction volumes over the last year. There is significant investor interest in this market given the strong fundamentals which are underpinned by corporate and government travel. We expect to see an acceleration in transaction activity in Canberra over the balance of the 2023 calendar year, highlighted investor confidence in this defensive market.



The Australian accommodation industry recovered at a faster pace through 2022 than what was originally anticipated at the start of the year. The opening of the Australian border allowed for the flow of pent-up leisure demand, followed by the return of MICE and corporate demand.

Poor performance over the COVID era led to massive growth in year-over-year demand, which in turn stimulated average daily rate growth. Hotel rates across the country faced further external pressure from wellabove-average inflation, and as a result, ADR recovered much faster than demand through 2022. All 10 major accommodation markets saw rates increase to be above 2019 levels and this was in spite of the adverse impacts of Omicron and the floods in early 2022.

ADR may decline year over year in 2023 due to new supply or changes in demand, but today’s higher rates are largely expected to be maintained even as demand rebalances.

Looking to Sydney and Canberra, both cities experienced significant trading improvements in 2022 with continued recovery.

In the case of Sydney, core to its trading performance in 2022 was the surge in domestic leisure demand and a growing portion of business and meetings demand. This demand originated from intra-state and interstate sources. Sydney has also been the beneficiary of a strong events calendar, with major music, sporting

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“ADR may decline year over year in 2023 due to new supply or changes in demand.”
George Hudson, Colliers

and international events like World Pride already taking place in the city this year.

While it is possible that the prevailing economic circumstances have the potential to impact performance, there are no signs of demand easing this year. The first month of 2023 trading figures already show historic high levels of ARR achieved in Sydney at AU$307.37, and RevPAR over AU$200 once more.

Canberra, meanwhile, benefited from growth in terms of both business volumes in 2022 and achieved an ADR which was substantially ahead of pre-COVID levels. In RevPAR terms, Canberra outperformed pre-COVID levels in 2022 by a remarkable AU$14.

Noteworthy is that, while both markets are demonstrating improved trading, there remain segments that have yet to fully recover to 2019 levels. Colliers anticipates that domestic corporate still has some way to go before returning to pre-COVID levels. Similarly, inbound demand has yet to normalise and reach 2019 levels. Therefore, there is room for further demand growth over the near and medium term.

Moors, Managing Director, Hotels and Hospitality Group

Total national hotel transactions volumes hit AU$1.93 billion in 2022, which was largely in line with the long-term annual average. New South Wales dominated, with 65% of the total volume occurring in that state. Queensland was second place with 14% of the volume, while the ACT represented just 1.5% of the national sales.

This volume of deals in NSW was driven by four large transactions, with Hilton Sydney trading for AU$530 million, the Stamford Macquarie Street at AU$210.5 million, Rydges Sydney Harbour at AU$100 million and Rydges North Sydney at AU$75 million. This highlights that NSW and Sydney in particular, continue to be keenly sought by international and domestic hotel investors due to the strong long term trading fundamentals.

Trading figures were surprisingly buoyant in 2022 as the industry emerges from the pandemic. Sydney achieved 62% occupancy at an impressive average rate of AU$296, which is 17% above 2019 levels. Overall RevPAR was still down 21% on 2019 levels. Pleasingly, every other state capital city, barring Melbourne, achieved RevPAR results above 2019 levels. Canberra was 7% up on 2019, with an occupancy of 70% and average rate of $206.

Looking ahead in 2023, Sydney is ideally positioned to have a very successful year. An exceptional event calendar including World Pride, Women’s World Cup Football and South by South West will drive strong demand for the city, with flow on benefits throughout the state. These events, coupled with improving corporate travel and a bounce back in international visitation will see the city surpass 2019 trading levels.

On the investment front, while the increase in debt pricing by over 300 basis points is presently causing investors to pause, hotel values have remained firm due to a stronger than expected trading outlook. We expect transaction activity to pick up for the second half of the year, due to a strong weight of capital seeking opportunities in the hotel sector due to its strong hedge to inflation. n 77 REAL ESTATE
Pro-invest Group opened its second Sebel-branded property in Canberra, The Sebel Canberra Campbell, last year
“NSW and Sydney in particular, continue to be keenly sought by international and domestic hotel investors.”
Gus Moors, JLL

Rise to the



SVP Managing Director – JAPAC, IHG Hotels and Resorts

As I find myself on a more diverse array of meetings, events and board tables across our industry, I’m often brought back to earth by the realisation that the faces around the table are nowhere near as diverse.

Even my own leadership team is far from balanced. So constantly am I reminded of this inequality that I’ve finally been compelled to do something that I’d always promised we wouldn’t: I’ve introduced gender goals in our business.

What it doesn’t mean is ‘a job for the girls’ or helicoptering unready female talent into senior roles – no one should ever feel that they were in a role due to their gender, I passionately believe in the best person for the job. What it does mean is building our pipeline of female talent across all levels of hospitality leadership, then doing everything we can to stem the exodus up the ranks.


CEO, Accor Pacific

Being a mother of two teenage daughters, I worry that they’re going to get to my age and a lot won’t have changed – and I just don’t want to accept that. So, days like International Women’s Day are important for that reflection and assessment – but it shouldn’t be one day a year.

We have to do more than what we’re doing right now, if we want to make the change that’s needed. That’s the reality. If we only did a run or a workout one day a year, we’re not going to get any fitter.

We all have a responsibility to help other people achieve their potential, and have a responsibility to create change, every single day.

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Business of Accommodation
Sarah Derry, Accor Pacific

NATALIE BUSSENSCHUTT General Manager, Dorsett Melbourne

As an industry, while we continue to strive for a gender-balanced workforce and inclusive culture, we remain a step behind when it comes to big corporates offering things like childcare support and flexible working arrangements. The last few years has proven that staff can be trusted with flexible working arrangement within a supportive work structure.

It’s time to nurture and support the next generation and current generations of women in hospitality. This means enforcing better wages, better conditions and ensuring that we break long-held biases so that we can see more women stepping into leadership positions.

SHAHNAZ BAKHSHAY Global Sales Officer, TFE Hotels

To me, irrespective of gender, caste, social backgrounds, economic status or creed, all people have equal rights, and it is vital to provide platforms to support those differences.

Many authentic and courageous leaders have inspired me over the years, but it’s the women in my team who inspire and motivate me daily – from fresh to experienced graduates and grandmas to university interns – they have taught me emotional intelligence, patience, vulnerability, courage, resilience, perseverance and to accept the strengths each one of us bring to the table.

CHRISTINA GRASSO GM Hotels, Events and Guest Experience, The Star Sydney

As ‘memory makers’ and custodians of the ‘welcoming experience’, leaders in the hospitality, accommodation and tourism sectors are uniquely positioned to ensure that sense of belonging and inclusivity extends to their team members.

Supporting women’s careers in the Australian hotel and hospitality sector is important for both gender equity and the growth of the industry, especially as we continue to be challenged by the skilled labour shortages.

MARY HOGG Regional Human Resources Director for Australasia, Hilton

We cannot deny the amazing and positive impact of investing well in our current and emerging female leaders but if nothing changes for our male leaders then we’re only influencing half of the picture.

If we are an industry that has a male leadership majority, then this is where we need to start to make impactful change. Our working norms suggest that it should be women who should be educated to step in to be more “confident” or learn to adjust and adapt their ways of working so they can grow and gain. n 79 PEOPLE




Account Director – Corporate, InterContinental Sydney

I’m not a loud supporter. I’m not the type to protest or wear loud rainbow outfits during Mardi Gras. My way of showing support to the LBGTQIA+ community in our workplace is by being open to every individual, and not being judgemental. It sounds simple, but if I’m able to interact with someone every day and just celebrate them by enjoying stories about their life when having lunch, it makes a big difference. Because what I’m doing in that moment is giving them confidence to be who they are, and creating a space where they feel safe to share that part of them with me.

JAY HORE General Manager, A by Adina Sydney

In my younger days, working as an Apprentice Chef in another company, I was bullied and picked on. At the time, the culture among this team was to try and “one up” each other. The gay slurs and comments were common – perhaps they weren’t meant to be malicious, but more due to ignorance and lack of exposure to the LGBTQIA+ community.

The person I am today would handle things very differently but, at the time, I was young and didn’t really know who I was yet or what was appropriate workplace behaviour and what actions helped form an inclusive culture.

80 HM The Business of Accommodation PEOPLE
Pullman Sydney Hyde Park showed its support for Sydney World Pride with a large rainbow display

JUSTINE RUSSELL Interim Chief Operating Officer, Treasury Brisbane

A policy such as prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression to creating spaces that are more welcoming and inclusive to LGBTQIA+ guests doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, adding gender-neutral bathrooms, or making modifications to existing bathrooms to accommodate gender non-conforming individuals.

WILL BLAKELOCK Area Director of Revenue Strategy

– Australia, New Zealand and Pacific, Marriott International

I think society in general has come a long way in being more welcoming and inclusive however as an industry still feel that there is room for improvement in the space of gender identity. For example, in the areas of allowing employees to wear clothing they feel best represent them regardless of their gender or gender identity. Whilst this seems like a given to many in the LGBTQIA+ community, the fact that this still remains a conversation piece shows that there is still room for progress.

BRIAN HANSEN Director of Rooms, Pullman

Sydney Hyde Park

I have the opportunity to talk and to express myself and to be heard – and that’s how I feel valued. We have incredible leaders in this industry who care what others think and I find that is the reason I’ve been in the industry for 15 years. My workplace and the environment I have been immersed in encourages and supports individuality and quirkiness and love and this has helped with me coming to terms with my identity. It’s allowed me to be myself and has helped me walk tall, looking forward and not down. n 81 PEOPLE
Ovolo Woolloomooloo welcomed guests with Drag Concierges during World Pride


M ove



La Vie Hotels and Resorts has announced the appointment of Marc Dille as General Manager of Islington Hotel Hobart and Simon Anderson as Hotel Manager of Holiday Inn and Suites Bondi Junction.

Dille brings over two decades of experience, having held management roles at Hadley’s Orient Hotel, Staywell Holdings, Prendiville Group and Mantra Group. Anderson also has a


Skye Suites has appointed Andrew Lee to the position of Director of Finance for the group. Lee brings over 12 years of finance and accounting experience having held senior management and consulting roles with Ernst and Young. Throughout his career, he has also gained valuable operational skills in the commercial property sector.


Carl Taranto – most recently General Manager of Crystalbrook Kingsley in Newcastle – has been promoted to the role of Area General Manager of Crystalbrook Vincent, Brisbane and Crystalbrook Byron, Byron Bay, Josquin Crepelliere takes over Taranto’s role as General Manager of Crystalbrook Kingsley, Newcastle, having commenced the position in late 2022. Meanwhile, Emma Alcorn has been appointed General Manager of Crystalbrook Byron, Byron Bay, relocating from

been General Manager since 2021.


Ovolo Hotels has promoted Director of Operations for Australia, Wayne Taranto, to the role of Chief Operating Officer Australia. By taking on a greater responsibility in the region, Taranto’s appointment will support CEO Dave Baswal to focus more on growth and strategy.


Amanda Hoolihan has been appointed to the newly created role of Global Revenue Officer. Brisbane-based Hoolihan has spent 13 years at TFE to date and will work to enhance TFE’s revenue management practices and drive innovation.

Katia Giurtalis joins the senior leadership team as Global Marketing Officer; and Shahnaz Bakhshay takes on the position of Global Sales Officer. Under this new structure, Tish Nyar has been appointed Senior Director of Operations ANZ.


Anne Gill takes up leadership of the Accor Pacific commercial team as Renae Trimble is promoted to Chief Executive Officer of Accor Plus. Steven Lake has been appointed Senior Vice President Finance, Premium, Midscale and Economy for Accor Pacific as Philip Basha is promoted to Chief Financial Officer, Premium, Midscale and Economy, for Accor in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Angela Howard commences the position of Senior Vice President Talent and Culture, Premium, Midscale and Economy, taking over from Shelley Perkins who has been promoted to the role of Senior Vice President of Talent and Culture, Premium, Midscale and Economy, for Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

82 HM The Business of Accommodation PEOPLE
Ovolo’s Wayne Taranto with CEO Dave Baswal Sydney’s Crystalbrook Albion where she has Carl Taranto, Crystalbrook Collection Angela Howard, Accor Pacific Amanda Hoolihan, TFE Hotels strong background in hotel management operations. Simon Anderson, La Vie Andrew Lee, Skye Suites

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