The business of accommodaTion

Vol 13. no.6

bi-monthly december 2009

IN THIS ISSUE IHG’s Bruce McKenzie, Quay West Resort Bunker Bay’s Sean Watt, Mexico’s comeback, United Airlines, hotel schools, Travelodge Wellington, W Hotels, Fraser Suites Sydney, bedding and audio-visual technology.
Mantra’s Bob East and Michael Moret-Lalli

MANTRA’S

GRoWTH MAndATe

LeadinG ausTRaLasian hoTeL and ResoRT oPeRaToR manTRa GRouP enTeRs 2010 WiTh a cLeaR mandaTe foR GRoWTh.
Print Post approved PP255003/07998

a u s T R a L i a

n e W

Z e a L a n d

s o u T h

Pa c i f i c

bi-monthly – december 2009

contents

COVER STORY
16 Mantra Group
A Mantra Group promotion.

REGULARS
04 Editor’s Letter
Welcome to the issue by Managing Editor James Wilkinson, plus credits.

SPECIAL FEATURES
36 Hotel Technology
James Wells looks at the latest with audio-visual technology.

06 Check-In
In-depth news from hotels across the globe, plus exclusive columns.

18 Property
Hotel openings, closings, sales, refurbishments and change of management.

44 Rooms Division
Jonathan Porter speaks to the leading suppliers and hotels about bedding.

32 Day Spas
A profile on Villa Thalgo Day Spa at The Sebel Resort & Spa Hawkesbury Valley.

EXECUTIVE FEATURES
14 In Focus
A special report on how Mexico has become the world’s hottest destination against the odds.

48 Global Report
HM checks in to VIE Hotel Bangkok.

49 Travel Forum
An exclusive interview with Alison Espley, head of United Airlines in Australia.

26 Property Profile
HM checks-in to Travelodge Wellington.

28 Room Key
An exclusive column from IHG’s Bruce McKenzie.

50 The Insider
The products featured inside the rooms at Fraser Suites Sydney.

30 Brand Profile
Behind the success of Starwood’s W Hotels brand.

53 Food & Beverage
How Novotel has taken an organic turn.

BUYERS GUIDE
52 HOT products
A guide to hot products for accommodation hotels.

56 Human Resources
Human resources news for hotels.

57 People
Profiles, events and who’s moving where in the hotel industry.

EXECUTIVE FEATURE
24 General Manager

HM catches up with Sean Watt, General Manager of Quay West Resort Bunker Bay.

p24

58 Stop Press
The latest news from hotels across the globe.

mirvac

Quay West Resort Bunker Bay

hotel & accommodation management 3

editorial
Hoteliers confident about 2010
Following a tumultuous, uncertain and challenging 2009, it looks like the tide may finally have turned for the hotel industry. Virtually every hotelier and tourism leader I’ve spoken to across the world over the last six weeks is optimistic about 2010 – and that’s come from forecasting on the back of solid bookings already in place for the next calendar year. From the Margaret River to New York, Wellington to Nadi and Hong Kong to Mexico, leading hotels, airlines and tourist boards are predicting a strong 2010, particularly from the high-end luxury segment. While outlooks are generally reserved for our annual Industry Leaders Forum edition each February, our December 2009 issue has turned into an outlook for 2010, thanks to the positivity shining through each of our major features. A huge boost for the inbound travel market has come from United Airlines. Speaking to HM in late November, United’s head of Australian operations, Alison Espley, said she is optimistic about the next twelve months, from both an inbound and outbound perspective. Similarly, Quay West Resort Bunker Bay, Pullman Cairns, Toga Hospitality, IHG and Accor – all of whom were also interviewed for this issue – are also positive on what 2010 will bring for the Australian industry, thanks to a late 2009 rebound across all market segments, including the high-yielding MICE segment. During a visit to New York in early November, I had the opportunity to stay at five of the city’s W Hotels. When I spoke to several of the General Managers, they said bookings were up and many were running in the 80% bracket for occupancy right through until February. New Zealand and Fiji are also experiencing a lift in business. Fiji has seen full flights from Australia on a regular basis and that is expected to continue well into 2010, as the country markets its affordability to the international-

p44
ly-focused Aussie traveller. In New Zealand, hotels from Dunedin to Auckland are reporting stronger numbers compared to the corresponding period in 2008 and many remain confident of a strong start to the next calendar year. This is quite a different picture compared to early 2009, when optimism was at a 10-year low and hoteliers were restricted to only forecasting for several months in advance. I trust you will find the above interviews informative and enjoy the rest of this December edition, which also includes key features on bedding and audio-visual technology. Yours in hospitality,

ON THE COVER A Mantra Group promotion
THE BUSINESS OF ACCOMMODATION
Vol 13. No.6 Bi-monthly December 2009

IN THIS ISSUE IHG’s Bruce McKenzie, Quay West Resort Bunker Bay’s Sean Watt, Mexico’s comeback, United Airlines, hotel schools, Travelodge Wellington, W Hotels, Fraser Suites Sydney, bedding and audio-visual technology.
Mantra’s Bob East and Michael Moret-Lalli

MANTRA’S

GROWTH MANDATE

LEADING AUSTRALASIAN HOTEL AND RESORT OPERATOR MANTRA GROUP ENTERS 2010 WITH A CLEAR MANDATE FOR GROWTH.
Print Post approved PP255003/07998

James Wilkinson Managing Editor

A U S T R A L I A

N E W

Z E A L A N D

S O U T H

PA C I F I C

PubLisheR simon Grover associaTe PubLisheR James Wells manaGinG ediToR James Wilkinson jwilkinson@intermedia.com.au naTionaL saLes manaGeR adam daff adaff@intermedia.com.au conTRibuToRs Roderick eime, andrew Jarvie, Jennie Langley, Peter mcbrearty, bruce mcKenzie, Jonathan Porter, Lizz summerell GRaPhic desiGn damian o’neill PRoducTion manaGeR Jill Lehmann jill@intermedia.com.au

ciRcuLaTion & subscRiPTions manaGeR chris blacklock cblacklock@intermedia.com.au subscRiPTion enQuiRies 1800 651 422 subscribe to hotel & accommodation management magazine - 6 issues for $88 (inc. GsT) subscriptions@intermedia.com.au PubLished bY

unit 39/100 harris street, Pyrmont nsW 2009 (Po box 55, Glebe nsW 2037) Tel: 02 9660 2113 fax: 02 9660 4419 abn 940 025 836 82

discLaimeR This publication is published by The intermedia Group Pty Ltd (the “Publisher”). materials in this publication have been created by a variety of different entities and, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher accepts no liability for materials created by others. all materials should be considered protected by australian and international intellectual property laws. unless you are authorised by law or the copyright owner to do so, you may not copy any of the materials. The mention of a product or service, person or company in this publication does not indicate the Publisher’s endorsement. The views expressed in this publication do not necessarily represent the opinion of the Publisher, its agents, company officers or employees. any use of the information contained in this publication is at the sole risk of the person using that information. The user should make independent enquiries as to the accuracy of the information before relying on that information. all express or implied terms, conditions, warranties, statements, assurances and representations in relation to the Publisher, its publications and its services are expressly excluded save for those conditions and warranties which must be implied under the laws of any state of australia or the provisions of division 2 of Part V of the Trade Practices act 1974 and any statutory modification or re-enactment thereof. To the extent permitted by law, the Publisher will not be liable for any damages including special, exemplary, punitive or consequential damages (including but not limited to economic loss or loss of profit or revenue or loss of opportunity) or indirect loss or damage of any kind arising in contract, tort or otherwise, even if advised of the possibility of such loss of profits or damages. While we use our best endeavours to ensure accuracy of the materials we create, to the extent permitted by law, the Publisher excludes all liability for loss resulting from any inaccuracies or false or misleading statements that may appear in this publication. copyright © 2009 - The intermedia Group Pty Ltd.

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hotel & accommodation management

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MANAGEMENT sinGaPoRe

inbrief
CRADLE MOUNTAIN anthology, owners of the cradle mountain huts walk along the overland Track in north-eastern Tasmania, has introduced a new range of short walks for time starved travellers. new to this walking season which runs through may 1, 2010, guests can now choose to take a three day, four day or the traditional six day walking option. each of the experiences commences at the newly opened walking base – in the converted stables building at the recently restored Quamby estate heritage homestead, about 20 minutes outside of Launceston. following a drive through the historic countryside of deloraine and sheffield, the walks begin at the romantic Waldheim chalet in the cradle Valley. They then take in the spectacular scenery of cradle mountain and dove Lake on the first day with a stay at barn bluff hut on the first night. The three-day itinerary is a loop and is based for two nights at barn bluff hut exploring the local scenery around the bluff before heading back to Quamby estate. JAKARTA Garuda indonesia is set to return to europe from June 1 next year, following a five-year absence. flying brand-new, two-class airbus a330-200 aircraft will commence services from Jakarta to amsterdam via dubai and Garuda indonesia President emirsyah satar says it marked a significant milestone for the carrier. “We have set an aggressive five year growth strategy for the airline that will allow Garuda to take its place alongside other leading international airlines in the asia Pacific region. establishing a strong presence in europe is an important element of meeting these targets,” he says. “along with new aircraft, new routes and increased frequency around the network, Garuda is investing heavily in developing a service culture built around the Garuda indonesia experience both in the air and on the ground.” The amsterdam services will feature Garuda’s new livery and interior design, along with new seats and touch-screen Lcd screens in all both business and economy classes. Garuda’s new state-of-the-art entertainment system features audio and video on demand with a choice of 25 feature films, 250 audio tracks and 25 games. The airline currently has ten boeing 777-300eR aircraft on order and once the delivery commences, the route will go non-stop from Jakarta and also allow Garuda to commence services to other european cities, such as frankfurt, London and Paris. LAKE MACQUARIE family holidays are easy and fun for the family when it comes to Raffertys Resort. Just a 90 minute drive from sydney and the children will be well looked after with Raffertys Rascals Kids club. The Raffertys Rascals Kids club program will entertain the children through the school holiday periods where they can make friends and participate in a range of activities for just $30 per child (ages 4- 14 yrs) to be a Rascal for a year.

Exclusive: Rendezvous’ new path
IN AN EXCLUSIVE COLUMN FOR HM, RENDEZVOUS HOSPITALITY GROUP’S NEW CEO IQBAL JUMABHOY REVEALS HIS PLANS FOR THE CHAIN GOING FORWARD.
As CEO of the recently created Rendezvous Hospitality Group (RHG), I am looking forward to an exciting new path of growth and expansion for the company, its people and hotels. At RHG we have grand plans to become a leading regional player in the business hotel segment, and despite the global financial crisis affecting the hotel industry, we are optimistic of the times ahead. RHG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Iqbal Jumabhoy Straits Trading Company Limited has been formed to combine the hospitality assets of The Straits Trading Company together with its hospitality management arm, Rendezvous Hotels and Resorts International (RHI). This makes us one of the very few Asian-based hotel groups with assets that are both owned and managed. We also have the capability to develop our own properties. RHG has a net asset base in excess of AUD$237 million, with 13 hotels currently operating and three additional properties under development. Of the 13 hotels currently in operation by RHG 10 are in Australia, one is in New Zealand, one is in Singapore and one is in Shanghai. Upcoming properties are located in Malaysia, China and New Zealand. To run the newly formed RHG we have put together a highly qualified senior management team comprising of executives from RHI together with globally experienced new talent. Nine senior managers will help me implement our new corporate direction and expand our footprint in all areas of business from operations and marketing to human resources and IT. Our new direction and focus is encapsulated by RHG’s new logo which encompasses the cultural symbols, ‘The Wisdom Loop’ and ‘Endless Knot’, reflecting our new brand promise to be driven by insight and to deliver with care. Our first step at RHG is to reposition both the Rendezvous Hotel and The Marque Hotel brands as business hotels, by implementing the hardware and services that the sophisticated business traveller wants. We plan to invest over AUD$147 million into our owned and leased properties to refurbish them to meet the new standards of our two reinvigorated brands. The new look and feel of the two hotel brands will also provide an exciting base for development into new markets. At RHG we plan to increase our number of operating hotel rooms from 2,600 to 12,000 in the Asia/Pacific region by 2020, and firmly establish ourselves as a formidable player in the business hospitality market. We plan to make our investments in gateway cities and key markets including Australia and New Zealand, South East Asia, East Asia, and India and the Middle East. The industry will hear a lot from us over the coming months as we develop and announce new and exciting initiatives.

TOURIST BOARDS noumea

Aussies flock to Noumea
New Caledonia Tourism (NCT) Australia has reported record growth for inbound Australian tourist numbers during the months of July and August 2009. Both months have seen increases in arrivals, with July up 31% from 2008, making it the best July in nine years. Meanwhile August also saw promising growth with a 7.8% increase in comparison to the same month in 2008 – the best figures for the month in eight years. As a result of increased visitation to New
6 hotel & accommodation management

Caledonia over the last three years, the destination has attracted a number of new hotel developments. Recently, Starwood announced a new property, the Sheraton New Caledonia Bourail Resort & Spa, due for completion in January 2013. The TERA Hotels & Resorts chain has also confirmed its development of the Nouméa Tera Beach Resort at Anse Vata beach on the previous Club Med site. The resort will offer 112 three star apartment style rooms and is scheduled to open at the end of 2010.

checkin
Patrick Griffin OAM
National President, Accommodation Australian Hotels Association (AHA)
in october this year i had the pleasant duty of opening the aahs national hospitality careers expo in sydney, where anything up to about 1,000 hopeful tourism and hospitality students and graduates can meet with future employers, find out about their potential careers and build valuable contacts for the future in the industry. seeing the great turnout at this event, and noting the prominence of some of the major hotel sponsors, such as accor, ihG, starwood, and hyatt, made me stop and think again about the real value and potential in a career in the hospitality industry. as part of the aha, we have always found it a challenge over the years to convince governments of the true economic impact of tourism and hospitality; likewise, we battle with perceptions of hospitality as just a fill-in job for students to work their way through university. as industry leaders, we need to make sure we continue to provide the thriving and rewarding workplaces to tempt the best students and graduates. more importantly, we need to work more concertedly on changing the perception of hospitality being ‘just a student job’. While individually we may hold our staff in high esteem, it is important to communicate that same sense of pride more openly and publicly, and start to dispel some of the myths and misconceptions that people hold about choosing hospitality as a career. in thinking about perceptions, another social evolution springs to mind. The supreme democracy of the internet, where everyone has a say and where opinions can be recorded for posterity for all to read, has over the last few years increasingly touched the hotel business. in the past, a hotel’s rating was pretty well the sole indicator of what a guest could expect; a hotel star rating provided a really useful expressive and short message about what was on offer there. now it is second nature to use consumer rating websites to see what other guests have experienced at the hotel before one books a room. Whether as a cause or effect of this change in consumer habits, a glance at any of the popular internet hotel booking sites shows a growing number of hotels relying on ‘self rating’ as a means of locating themselves on the continuum of services and facilities available. There are any number of reasons why hotels are choosing to self-rate, my own included. however, as time passes i think there is still good reason as to why the hotel industry would still benefit from a solid, credible rating scheme that was widely subscribed. on the face of it the main reason is for consumers to be able to make a judgment based on reliable standards, thereby avoiding hassles and disappointment and encouraging return business. This is important for the long term health and prosperity of the hotel industry, builds consumer trust and faith in hotels, as well as providing a consistent framework for hotel investors in designing their facilities to attract the desired market groups, and an incentive to the hotel owners and managers to upgrade their facilities to higher standards.
MANAGEMENT PoKoLbin

Peppers celebrates 25 years

Peppers Guest House

By James Wells in Pokolbin

Peppers Retreats, Resorts and Hotels celebrated its 25th anniversary on October 26, with a cocktail party at the Peppers Guest House in the Hunter Valley, celebrating the vision of original owners Mike and Suzi O’Connor. “Twenty five years ago, a luxury holiday usually meant spending a week at a big international hotel, with the formality of traditional hotel systems,” Mantra Group CEO Bob East told HM. “Peppers changed this holiday mentality when it opened Peppers Guest House and consequently redefined the top-end Australian holiday market. “The Peppers concept was a big risk at the time, as the short-break holiday market was still in its infancy. But a combination of a personalised approach to service, luxurious surroundings and a focus on quality holiday experiences such as food, wine and spa encounters paved the way for the redefinition of an Australian holiday escape. “There are not too many organisations that can boast the longevity. We haven’t tried to roll through systems and standards - their standards are to have something unique to the area,” East said. Peppers Retreats, Resorts and Hotels Group General Manager Tomas Jonsson added:“I can’t think of another brand I want to be associated
AIRLINES bRisbane

with. I am very excited to be part of the story. “Peppers is a brand built on entrepreneurial spirit. Mike and Suzi’s vision was to create anything but a hotel - it was like attending a friend’s house,” he said. The current Owner and General Manager of Peppers Guest House, Peter Harman, started as an employee in 1997 and relocated from Sydney and took over the business in 2005. “This crystallises what the Peppers brand represents,”Harman said.“At the time, no one was game to put a guest house in the vineyards and over the years it has done a lot to bring the community together.” In the audience were four generations of chefs from the property, former managers, housekeepers, wine suppliers and a special presentation was made to Joy Guy for her 25 years of outstanding service to the business. Currently living in a stone villa in an ancient town called Soller in Mallorca, Spain, the O’Connors were unable to attend the celebration. Representing the original owners, however, was Jeremy O’Connor, who was born just months before the opening of the Guest House which continues to operate on the philosophy of “as good as the last meal served and the last guest farewelled”.

VA adds Fiji
V Australia has announced the launch of daily flights between Sydney and Nadi, Fiji, following the approval of services by the International Air Services Commission. Set to take off on December 18, the V Australia flights replace existing Pacific Blue services between the two cities, adding additional seats, cabins of service and in-flight entertainment on the Sydney-Nadi route. Virgin Blue Group CEO Brett Godfrey said V Australia would operate three-class, 361seat Boeing 777-300ER aircraft on the route and launch fares would start from $199 each way in international economy. “We’re very pleased to be increasing our capacity and introducing V Australia to and
V Australia has added Fiji flights

from one of Australia’s best loved international getaway destinations,” he said. In recent months, Fiji has been recording its highest ever monthly inbound arrival numbers from Australia – from all market segments including leisure, business and conferencing – in a sign the country is firmly on the tourism mend. V Australia is initially launching the services with a daily frequency, but that will drop back to six times per week from February 1, the same day the airline reduces Sydney-LA flights.

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BRETT GALE
Executive Director TTF Australia
australian tourism has had a tough time since the global financial crisis began more than 12 months ago, with falls in domestic travel and international arrivals, and although the economic recovery seems to be gathering momentum, there are a number of indications that tourism is still facing a rocky road. one sure sign that australia’s economy is outperforming others around the world is the exchange rate. on christmas eve 2008, bnP Paribas predicted the australian dollar would be worth just 47 us cents by June this year. it didn’t get any lower than 63 and it’s gone from strength to strength since. indeed, one analyst is tipping the aussie to reach usd$1.20 later in 2010. This is a real double whammy for australia’s tourism industry, because it makes it more expensive for international visitors to come to australia and cheaper for australians to go overseas The second key indicator is interest rates and, again, australia led the world’s developed economies in moving away from expansionary monetary policy, with rate rises beginning in october and expectations that more will follow into next year. although rates are still relatively low and rising rates are closely related to rising confidence, higher interest rates can impact on discretionary spending – and that includes tourism. Put the dollar and interest rates together and it seems our expectations for tourism need to be revisited. Tourism forecasting is fraught with risk at the best of times, let alone when the world is experiencing the most volatile economic conditions in decades, which shows why we must be cautious about what’s to come. The Tourism forecasting committee expected the number of australians heading overseas to fall by more than 50,000 in 2009, however up to the end of august there had been a rise of almost 160,000 compared to the same period last year. as the dollar keeps rising, so that trend will continue and 2009 could see the number of overseas trips taken by australians top 6 million for the first time. in addition, domestic visitor nights were expected to fall by 3.9% for the year. unfortunately, that’s not the half of it, with nights down 8% for the year to the end of June and 9.9% for the first half of 2009. This is a function of the economic downturn, but domestic travel is also being hit by substitution, as more people opt to travel offshore. our strong economy also means australian consumers are being targeted by other countries, increasing the competition for local destinations. all this makes the national Long-term Tourism strategy vital to ensuring sustainable growth of the industry. We must concentrate on areas where we have a competitive advantage. We must invest in tourism infrastructure in areas which attract the most visitors. We must streamline regulation and adopt a whole of government approach to tourism to foster private investment. and we must ensure the strategy and the agencies charged with overseeing its implementation and management are properly resourced.
Accor’s Cairns hotels are positive about 2010

OPERATIONS caiRns

Accor set for Cairns recovery
By Roderick Eime in cairns

Despite the widespread disappointment and cynicism at the deferral of the promised Jetstar direct flights to Japan, Accor is demonstrating its confidence in the Cairns/Port Douglas region’s recovery by investing millions of dollars in key properties. Currently Accor manages or brands eight properties across five badges ranging from the recently rebranded 5-star Pullman Reef Casino to the 3.5-star All Seasons Cairns Gateway Resort. The two newest properties to join the Accor family included the landmark Oasis Resort on Lake Street and one of the region’s best known properties, Treetops in Port Douglas. Both properties had fallen into decline and required substantial modernization and refurbishment. Accor Vice President Australia, Simon McGrath, said the addition of Mercure Port Douglas Treetops was a significant milestone for Accor and the Australian hotel industry. “The addition of Treetops marked a very special occasion for Accor as it took our Australian network to over 20,000 rooms – the first hotel group to achieve such a mark in Australia,” McGrath said. “Not only has the hotel been benefiting from our partnership, it has brought Port Douglas to an even wider audience. The destination achieved a very high-profile in recent decades, and we will use our vast distribution channels to revitalise interest in what is one of the world’s most attractive destinations,”he said. The 224-room resort is located a short walk from Four Mile Beach and is five minutes drive to the centre of Port Douglas village (a shuttle bus service operates throughout the day). Over the past six months, the hotel has received an extensive, multi-million dollar renovation, including upgrading of rooms, the restaurant and public areas and a fresh new paint scheme throughout the resort.

Now carrying the Novotel logo, the Oasis Resort in Cairns received a radical AUD$7 million bare shell makeover almost as soon as the resort changed hands in August 2007. “The Oasis was one of those typical ‘80s ‘tropical’ resorts needing lots of TLC,” said Novotel Oasis Resort Director of Sales, Philip Newland. “And now we have a totally new look... much more contemporary. The previous AAA 4-star rating was generous, now we are a confident 4.5-star rated property.” Just down the road and occupying the prime location adjacent Cairns’s Trinity Wharf, is the Pullman Reef Casino. Newly-installed General Manager Adrian Williams relishes his new post and strongly believes 2009 represents the bottom of the current cycle. “Like many destinations reliant on tourism and corporate travellers, Cairns has been responsive to the difficult GFC period and demonstrated new adaptability and innovation,”Williams said. Over AUD$4.5 million has been spent on the property up to May this year in a continual process of upgrading rather than a debilitating refurbishment. Despite Williams’s disappointment at the deferral of the Jetstar flights, he considers this a minor hiccup that “provides tourism operators, marketers and travel agents with a better lead time in which to properly prepare a strategy to sell on the back of the forthcoming Osaka services.” Bridget Catterall, General Manager of the Best Management Group, who are contracted to manage the Treetops Resort and Spa under the Mercure franchise contract sums up the climate: “Travel to Australia and Cairns has never been cheaper, and with Port Douglas boasting such a high profile in the American, European and Australian markets, we believe there is great potential to grow our business substantially over the next few years.”

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hotel & accommodation management

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MANAGEMENT sYdneY

Toga Hospitality notches up a half century
Australian owned and operated company Toga Hospitality has opened its 50th property, Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof. Toga Hospitality has grown from humble beginnings with one property in 1982 to operating 50 properties across five countries over a 27 year timeframe. The group currently offers over 6,500 apartment and hotel rooms to travellers across Australia, New Zealand, Denmark, Hungary and Germany. Australian owned and operated, Toga Hospitality began with one hotel brand in the 1980s and currently operates four brands – Medina Apartment Hotels (23 locations), Vibe Hotels (seven locations), Travelodge Hotels (15 locations) and Adina Apartment Hotels (five locations) - delivering distinct accommodation options for Australian and international travellers. The first Medina Apartment Hotel, known for delivering space, service and style opened in 1982. A new concept in accommodation arrived in 2003 with the launch of Vibe Hotels – hotels with personality. In 2005, Toga Hospitality entered into a long term agreement to manage the Travelodge Hotels portfolio across Australia and New Zealand. Toga Hospitality then became the first Australian accommodation provider to expand into Continental Europe with the launch of the Adina Apartment Hotel brand in 2006. Toga Hospitality has risen quickly to become one of Australia’s market leaders in the accommodation field with a diversified portfolio of hotel brands within the Group. This has been recognised throughout the years with the company taking out many awards, most recently the Best New Hotel Award for Vibe Hotel Darwin at the 2009 HM Awards. Allan Vidor, Managing Director, Toga Group, said:“We are delighted to have achieved this significant milestone. We look forward to continuing our expansion with the opening of Travelodge Docklands in February 2010 and two further Adina Apartment Hotels opening in Germany mid-2010.”

Adina Apartment Hotel Berlin Hauptbahnhof, Germany

OPENINGS WoLGan VaLLeY

Photo by Roderick eime

Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa General Manager Joost Heymeijer (right) and Executive Chef, Dwane Goodman, were busy in October welcoming their first round of media guests after the property’s soft opening. Guests were transferred by chauffeur from city hotels paralleling the experience planned for inbound arrivals and exposed to samplings of the new AUD$125 million resort’s repertoire. The development has been characterised by a tenacious and singleminded devotion that has triumphed over many planning and environmental hurdles including an intensive revegetation and preservation program to restore the former pastoral lease to its natural beauty. -RE
LOYALTY PROGRAMS meLbouRne

Quest launches invitation-only loyalty program
Quest Serviced Apartments has created a new member recognition program called QClub. The new program is by invitation only (guests need to be identified as regular clients of Quest before they can be asked to join) and offers a number of benefits at participating Quest properties.
12 hotel & accommodation management

QClub members receive a complimentary newspaper on their first morning, late checkout of 11am when they leave and the ability to earn QClub Dollars when they stay with Quest as well as surprise bonuses along the way. Quest Chairman Paul Constantinou said: “We established QClub to recognise the

guests who stay with us regularly and provide them with meaningful benefits. The objective is to ensure that QClub members feel like true VIPs when they use their card throughout the Quest network, regardless of whether it’s at their regular Quest property, or one they haven’t visited before.”

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EVENTS meLbouRne

Tiger Woods makes Melbourne hotels roar
Melbourne’s hotels enjoyed their best week of 2009 in mid-November, thanks to a Tiger Woods led tourism boom. Accor, the largest hotel operator in Melbourne (operating Sofitel, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure, Ibis, All Seasons and Formule 1 hotels), reported that its eleven central business district hotels were all full from Thursday November 12 through to Sunday November 15, and even Accor’s suburban hotels in Glen Waverley and Caroline Springs were at capacity on a couple of the nights. Accor’s Melbourne CBD hotels ran at 95.64% during the time, eclipsing performances during the Melbourne Cup and Australian Grand Prix.
AIRLINES meLbouRne

The week represented an 11% growth in occupancy compared to the corresponding week of 2008 – despite the prevailing economic situation and a large increase in room supply in Melbourne. Such was the demand for accommodation, that the Mercure Melbourne Spring Street recorded five nights of 100% occupancy in a row – the first time this has occurred in 2009. “Our car-parks were full of interstate number plates and we have had guests book in from Singapore, Hong Kong and Bangkok – all came to Melbourne specifically to see Tiger play,” said Accor’s Regional Manager Victoria, Scott Boyes. “After a really challenging 10 months, we have a lot to thank Tiger for fuelling such a

strong recovery in Victoria’s tourism and hotels sector. “Unlike other cities in Australia, Melbourne has had a major increase in hotel supply over the past year which, combined with the global financial slowdown, has meant that it has been a tough year for the industry. “You could say that Tiger has got us out of the bunker – at least for November,” he said. Boyes said that the Tiger-led recovery complemented encouraging signs of growth in the business travel and meetings sector, which augured well for a stronger revival in the Melbourne hotel sector in 2010. “Not only did Tiger come to town in November, so did big business – and that’s a really encouraging way to finish off the year.”

The latest Middle Eastern airline to add Australian flights will touch down for the first time on December 6, when Qatar Airways launches Melbourne-Doha services. Qatar Airways Country Manager - Australia, Brett McDougall, said the service and product on board the new flights would be nothing short of 5-star. -JW

HOTELS sYdneY

Diamant’s penthouse rises above the rest
By James Wilkinson

While grand and extravagant suites at hotels such as the Park Hyatt, Hilton, InterContinental, Shangri-La, Westin and Sheraton may be the choice for international dignitaries visiting Sydney, the hip set are turning to city’s best-kept secret, the Diamant for its stunning penthouse. Located atop the Diamant Hotel Sydney in Kings Cross, the Burley Katon Halliday-designed penthouse comes complete with two outdoor entertaining balconies with amazing views of the Harbour and city, a huge gourmet kitchen, dining and living room, powder room, ensuite with spa bath in the master bedroom and two guest rooms featuring private bathrooms. Ideal for visiting A-listers, celebrities and those looking to host a private dinner party for up to twelve guests, the space also features luxury furnishings, a state-of-the-art entertainment system complete with speaker controls in every room and floor-to-ceiling windows. The best selling point for the room, per-

Diamant Hotel Sydney’s stunning penthouse

haps, is the price tag. This space, which is arguably in the top half-dozen Sydney hotel rooms, is priced from AUD$1700 per night. Eight Hotels Australia CEO Paul Fischmann said the Diamant Hotel Sydney’s penthouse was truly a jewel in the crown for the locally-owned chain. “We are pleased to have the Diamant Penthouse in our collection,” he said. “This

landmark space caters to guests demanding exceptional quality of space and service, and showcases our commitment to delivering the sophisticated travelling and living experience.” Also available for private events and product launches, the penthouse is undoubtedly the most exciting addition to Sydney’s accommodation scene since the opening of the hotel itself a couple of years ago.
hotel & accommodation management 13

infocus

MEXICO’S
WORDS JAMES WILKINSON IN LOS CABOS, MEXICO

TouRism TuRnaRound
TALK ABOUT A TURNAROUND – MEXICO HAS BECOME THE WORLD’S HOTTEST DESTINATION OF 2010, LESS THAN A YEAR AFTER THE OUTBREAK OF SWINE FLU, DRUG-RELATED VIOLENCE AND THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS. HOW HAS THIS HAPPENED? HM INVESTIGATES.

Presidente InterContinental Los Cabos (and right)

rom the outbreak of swine flu to drug trafficking violence, the global financial crisis and a series of hurricanes, it’s fair to say Mexico has had a tough 2009. But now the country is educating the world on how to come back from an epic travel downturn, becoming one of the hottest destinations of 2010 thanks to worldwide marketing, great value holidays, increased accessibility and extensive travel editorial coverage. Leading hotelier Michael Oney, General Manager of the Presidente InterContinental Los Cabos, said the reason for the turnaround comes down to education from the country’s national and regional tourist boards. “The Mexican culture has generally focused on the issues at hand and I feel that this has proven to be a great strength in recovering from the myriad of market failures that were faced in 2009,” he told HM. “This has allowed Mexico to address the matter, take the necessary steps and move forward. Amazingly enough, what was maybe once considered as a laid-back culture, actually took the issues in stride and did not over-react to extreme and create a non-desirable situation, but rather, a bump in the road.
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f

“Not all tourism destinations could say the same,” he said. He is entirely right. For example, Thailand continues to struggle on the back of the anti-government protests in April 2009, while Fiji has an ongoing uphill marketing battle thanks the government being in the headlines in Australia and New Zealand for all the wrong reasons. “Mexico, and moreover Los Cabos, has placed a grand effort in education of the travelling public,” he said. “While no one can deny the impacts of the issues mentioned, it has been our desire to ensure the travelling public that Los Cabos was one of several Mexican resort destinations with a very minimal medical incidence. “Additionally, with increased accessibility into the Los Cabos area via additional domestic flights, Los Cabos has increased as a destination for Mexicans as well,” he said. As Oney said, the Los Cabos region – made up of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo on the Baja California peninsula – has been spared the full brunt of the 2009 storm. However, the region has still needed to market extensively to assure travellers the peninsula is safe from swine flu and the drug trafficking violence spanning the country’s major cities.

“The Mexican culture has generally focused on the issues at hand and I feel that this has proven to be a great strength in recovering from the myriad of market failures that were faced in 2009.”
MICHAEL ONEY, General Manager, Presidente InterContinental Los Cabos

“There have been efforts across the Hotel Association and Visitors Bureau to maintain the focus on Los Cabos being the enjoyable destination upon which it has built its reputation… relaxation and sun in a beautiful Mexican setting, with a desert backdrop and the deep blue seas at your feet,” he said. That is on the back of the country’s multi-million dollar travel marketing campaigns that have heavily targeted Americans, Canadians and Europeans. “Mexico is letting the world know that we are ready to welcome back travellers and continue to offer the beauty, culture, history, gastronomy, and pristine beaches our country is known for,” said Mexico Tourism Board CEO, Oscar Fitch. “Of course this is all within great proximity and at a great value. The initial results of the campaign, Fitch said, have spoken for themselves. “Not only are we back up and running and receiving tourists every day, but we are showing the world that this administration represents responsibility,” he said. The bottom line is the country’s tourist board needed to spend up big to ensure the survival of Mexico’s tourism industry. It is an industry the country relies heavily on – in 2008 alone, 22.6 million international visitors crossed the Mexican borders, spending USD$13.2 billion. To put the American market in perspective, 18 million US citizens crossed the border in 2008 and the 12 major US markets, along with six in Canada, combined represent over 80% of Mexico’s international tourists. Oney said he believes the increased marketing from the Mexico Tourism Board has not only helped the major markets pick-up, but opened doors to emerging ones, even as far away as Australia. “As emerging markets and flight patterns continue to change, Mexico as a prime vacation destination will continue to grow,”he said.“This

most definitely has assisted in opening up routes which have not been traditional inbound sources for Mexico. “Additionally, the focus of today’s traveller to experience more culture and variety, Mexico opens a vast opportunity to enjoy from pre-Hispanic to modern day Mexican culture, along with enjoyable beach climates that not all countries and resort destinations can offer,” he said. Oney is confident Mexican resort destinations such as Los Cabos can pick up a greater share of the Australian international market, given the affordability and value of airfares currently on offer. “Los Cabos has not been the traditional destination for Australians, but now with one of the most elusive factors now within reach – airfare prices – its the prime time for the Aussie culture to begin to experience the genuine spirit of Los Cabos, which is like no other in all of Mexico,” he said. To put the price point in perspective, you can currently fly from Sydney or Melbourne to Los Cabos on United Airlines for under AUD$1300, placing it on par with Southeast Asian destinations such as Langkawi in Malaysia, Koh Samui in Thailand and Indonesia’s Bali in peak season. Oney said again this was why emerging markets are helping Mexico take top spot on the ‘hottest destinations for 2010’ list in many respectable travel magazines across the globe. “Mexico, and in specifically, Los Cabos, has risen on the radar for 2010 as an affordable destination that previously elusive economically,”he said. “While it still maintains a high level of stature, the infrastructure and hotel availability that has grown over the last few years now allows for enjoyment for all spectrums of the travelling market,” Oney said. All-inclusive resorts such as the 390-room Presidente InterContinental Los Cabos are ensuring that all ends of the spectrum are covered, particularly with affordability taken to new levels. For Australians in particular, it represents excellent value. “Prices vary depending on room type or location, however, they hover around USD$300 USD for a party of two,” Oney said. “With that in mind and considering the airfares from Sydney are coming in around USD$1200 per person, a couple could enjoy a seven night experience at just under USD$2500 per person. “I trust that this is comparable to many other resort destinations for the Australian outbound market,” he said. For a holiday with guaranteed sun – it only rains 16 days per year on average in Los Cabos – it’s no wonder the Baja California peninsula and Mexico in general is going to be a hot destination for 2010.
hotel & accommodation management 15

Cover story

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mantra

Bob East and Michael Moret-Lalli at Mantra’s home on the Gold Coast

A MANTRA GROUP PROMOTION

Cover story

MANTRA’S
ith a vision to strengthen its position as the favourite provider of hotel, apartment and resort accommodation throughout Australia and New Zealand, Mantra Group has undergone significant restructuring and recapitalisation to lay the foundations for its expansion strategy. In August 2009, Stella Group was restructured and recapitalised, with Stella Travel Services and Stella Hospitality Group being separated into two independently operating businesses. The rebranding of Stella Hospitality Group to Mantra Group shortly after signaled a fresh sense of independence for the company which has forged ahead with a strong balance sheet concentrating on being the best in its field. Company CEO Bob East said that with the Mantra Group brand already very well embraced by the market, the Group could now set about expanding its three consumer brands Peppers, Mantra and Breakfree with confidence. Each of the three brands have benefited from successful re-launches over the past 12-18 months, resulting in even stronger brand strength and acceptance.

mandaTe foR GRoWTh
LeadinG ausTRaLian coRPoRaTe and LeisuRe accommodaTion oPeRaToR MANTRA GROUP enTeRs 2010 WiTh a cLeaR mandaTe foR GRoWTh focusinG on The sTRenGThs of iTs ThRee KeY bRands manTRa, PePPeRs and bReaKfRee.

W

‘‘Our products, service, positioning, pricing and promotion of each brand are designed to meet the core needs of our guests and our company structure, training, procedures, policy, development, culture and processes are, in turn, modified for each brand.’’
BOB EAST, CEO, Mantra Group

Market penetration and brand awareness is enhanced with considerable advertising. Mantra Group dominates advertising in the Australian media’s accommodation sector, consistently ranked the number one advertiser. “Continuing the strong growth of Mantra Resorts into key corporate and leisure destinations across Australia and New Zealand will be a major focus in the coming years,” East said. A recent example was Mantra Group’s strengthened commitment to Queensland’s Whitsundays region by signing a management agreement for the new One Whitsundays development at Shingley Beach due for completion in 2012. To be marketed under the Mantra brand, it comes hot on the heels of another new property for the group in the region with the recent opening of Peppers Coral Coast Resort at Airlie Beach which has exceeded all expectations in terms of business success. “With more than 140 properties in our group under the three brands we are closely monitoring tourism trends and forecasts and have identified the Whitsundays as just one of the growing hot spots for development and tourism,” East said. “We are committed to bringing our world-class brands to these areas and contributing to long-term tourism growth.” In November this year Mantra Group stepped up its ongoing strategy of acquisition and divestment by selling the management letting rights of some of its smaller, non-core properties representing just 2.5%

of room stock in the company’s portfolio and less than 2% of profit. While Mantra Group does not need to divest in order to acquire new properties, the move has further paved the way for the company to bid on larger projects that better align with its brand and growth strategies, with some premium Gold Coast hotels amongst those being considered. An important part of the growth strategy will be aligning the highend Peppers brand to unique properties and locations with a particular focus on establishing a Peppers gateway CBD property within the next 18 months. “Celebrating its 25th anniversary in October, we have proudly built Peppers into one of the most iconic accommodation brands in Australia offering an intimate and personalised holiday experience across a portfolio of around 25 retreats, resorts and hotels,” East said. Mantra Group also plans to tap into the burgeoning regional accommodation market utilising the simple appeal of the BreakFree brand which has redefined the way Australian families think about affordable, self contained holidays in great locations. Another key driver of growth for the Mantra Group brands will be the franchise and marketing service relationships forged on the strength of the company’s central reservations (CRES) system and superior distribution platforms. “We have developed a world class distribution network which gives us the ability to communicate and market to the industry as well as the consumer,” East said. East said CRES had seen a huge growth over the past 12 months, with consumers liking the convenience of booking a destination through a centralised system. Mantra Group’s distribution strength lies in over 20 years of industry experience and relationships with key wholesaler partners both domestically and internationally. Through a strong presence amongst consumers and the travel trade alike, Mantra Group provides a total travel solution and ‘one stop shop’ for all accommodation needs. Customers also benefit from Mantra Group’s strong and fruitful relationships with relevant government and marketing bodies. Additionally, a strong online presence and e-marketing strategy drives business through the Group’s websites as well as providing the means for selling distressed inventory. As part of the Mantra Group central reservations system, properties are automatically linked to 4,000 travel agents worldwide, more than 300 wholesalers, past guests, last-minute sites and corporate partners. East said Mantra Group’s ultimate focus would continue to be the guest experience offered by the three distinct brands of Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree. “Our products, service, positioning, pricing and promotion of each brand are designed to meet the core needs of our guests and our company structure, training, procedures, policy, development, culture and processes are, in turn, modified for each brand,” he said. “The end result is a robust confident business that is delivering both in terms of management performance and profitability.” For more information on partnering with Mantra Group, visit www. mantragroup.com.au
hotel & accommodation management 17

propertynews
MANAGEMENT GoLd coasT

inbrief
“Part of this process is continually evaluating our portfolio to ensure we have the best product suite for the changing market, which means divesting out of properties which are not a strategic fit. “The properties we are divesting do not align with our brand strategies and, generally speaking, are smaller buildings more suited to individual operators,” he said. The MLR sale is a continuation of a consolidating process which began 18 months ago for the Group when it brought 10 hotel brands together under the three key brands of Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree. “We said from the outset that our plan would be to evaluate which properties fitted our strategy, to divest out of those which didn’t and seek new investment opportunities,” East said. While Mantra Group does not need to divest in order to acquire new properties, the move paves the way for the company to bid on larger projects that better fit its brand and growth strategy. “It’s a process of keeping our brand standards consistent,” East said. At the request of owners, Mantra Group said it may retain the names of some buildings under franchise agreements. Properties being divested: New Zealand – BreakFree Highview Apartments, BreakFree on the Waterfront; Sunshine Coast and 1770, BreakFree Marcoola, BreakFree Seamark, BreakFree South Pacific; Mantra Pavillions 1770; Gold Coast and Northern NSW – BreakFree Enderley Gardens, BreakFree Equinox, BreakFree Maldives, BreakFree Moby’s, BreakFree Paradiso, BreakFree Rays Resort, BreakFree St Tropez, BreakFree Surfers Plaza, Aruba, Aloha; Tropical North Queensland – BreakFree Royal Harbour, Mantra Links.
SYDNEY The new sydney harbour Yha in The Rocks is now open, bringing quality budget accommodation in an outstanding harbourside location to the city. With overnight accommodation priced from just $42 per night in a six-bed shared room ($37.50 for Yha members), budget travellers can finally stay in the heart of sydney’s premier tourist precinct and enjoy its many attractions and stunning sydney harbour views. “sydney harbour Yha makes quality accommodation in sydney’s highly sought after The Rocks area available to everyone. The variety of room types ensures it is perfect for couples, families and groups travelling on a budget,” said Ross Lardner, manager, sydney harbour Yha. facilities include a self-catering kitchen and dining area, laundry facilities, stateof-the-art internet cafe, coffee bar, lockers, bicycle storage, lounge, tour booking desk and convenience store. individual lockable cupboards include a power point for charging a phone, iPod, camera or laptop. BRISBANE eight hotels australia continues to rapidly expand in key gateway cities and has announced that Limes hotel brisbane has become the eighth hotel in the collection. owned and operated by brisbane local damian Griffiths, and just one year old, Limes has made an indelible mark on brisbane’s boutique hotel scene. designed by alexander Lotersztain, the property features 21 luxurious guest rooms and brisbane’s hottest open air roof top champagne and cocktail bar complete with outdoor cinema. damian Griffiths said: “We are very excited to join eight hotels australia and further drive our domestic and corporate market business, particularly from sydney and melbourne.” eight hotels australia ceo, Paul fischmann, added: “We are thrilled to welcome Limes to our collection. our long search for a brisbane property has paid off. Limes is a spectacular hotel and perfectly complements our portfolio.” GOLD COAST Leading surfers Paradise resort, mantra sun city, has taken relaxation to a higher orbit with the opening of a decadent new day spa. holidaymakers can now splash out on the ultimate in Gold coast indulgence with leading massage and beauty company calmertherapies opening its doors at the property. adding an extra dimension for guests looking to be pampered in paradise, the day spa offers a tempting range of body treatments and pamper packages to soothe the mind, body and soul. Located in the resort lobby, the day spa offers rejuvenating deep tissue, relaxation, pregnancy and hot stone massages plus a choice of cleansing facials utilising the finest french marine-based products from algologie. full body scrubs, deluxe pedicures and manicures, mother’s Rewards and men’s Treats is just a small example of what is waiting to be enjoyed, all in a serene and soothing setting.

Mantra sells letting rights
Offloaded: BreakFree Royal Harbour

Mantra Group has announced plans to sell the management letting rights (MLRs) to some of its non-core properties as part of an ongoing strategy of acquisition and divestment. Mantra Group CEO Bob East said the divestment of the properties in New Zealand, Northern NSW, the Gold and Sunshine Coasts, 1770 and Tropical North Queensland represented just 2.5% of room stock in the company’s portfolio and less than 2% of profit. “As one of Australia’s leading operators of leisure and corporate accommodation we are always looking at ways to improve our business,” East said.
MANAGEMENT sYdneY

Constellation adds seven
The growth of Constellation Hotels accommodation network has continued with the addition of seven new hotels under its Chifley and Country Comfort brands, as well as a group of strategically aligned independent hotel partners. Constellation’s announcement coincides with the official launch of Chifley Alice Springs Resort into the network, marking the arrival of the Chifley brand’s first hotel in the heart of Australia. Constellation also welcomed the Chifley Pacific International Cairns into the
18 hotel & accommodation management

network including Country Comfort Alcamo in Hamilton, New Zealand, and Country Comfort Mt Gambier on South Australia’s Limestone Coast. A new partnership structure has also been introduced which enables independent hotel operators, to leverage Constellation’s loyalty program. Hotels to join the network under this partnership structure include QStation Retreat, Manly (NSW), Tuscany Wine Estate Resort, Pokolbin (NSW), Pensione Hotel Sydney, Diamant Hotel Sydney and Cosmopolitan Hotel, St Kilda (VIC).

propertynews

BOOkINGS sYdneY

DEVELOPMENTS hunTeR VaLLeY

Accor launches apartment website
Accor Hotels has launched a new dedicated website for its rapidly growing apartment hotel network in Australia and New Zealand. The new www.grandmercurepartments.com.au website covers 17 apartment hotel properties in Australia and New Zealand, from Accor’s dedicated Grand Mercure Apartments brand. The new website provides greater functionality for handling apartment-style product as well as detailed information of facilities and features available. The website’s features include downloadable hotel fact sheets, Google Maps for driving holiday enthusiasts, detailed apartment floor plans, an extensive image gallery and tailored search options. “The visual aspect is an important component of selling apartments to our guests who want to see as much detail about the property as possible prior to booking,” says Accor’s Director of Marketing, Alison Rodgers. “Whilst bookings will link through to the accorhotels.com website booking engine, the www.grandmercurepartments.com.au portal provides detailed information that relates specifically to apartment hotels. This market is growing strongly, so the new website will be of great benefit to our customers.”

Château Élan at The Vintage, a new, 5-star golf and spa resort located in the Hunter Valley, is on target to open in February 2010. The AUD$30 million development has been co-conceived by the group behind the prestige Château Élan brand in Atlanta, Georgia, and will offer luxury retreats for up to 200 guests.“Château Élan at The Vintage brings together top-flight golf, world-beating spa treatments and a superior level of luxury, and all within one of the country’s great destinations,” said Château Elan CEO Erik Stuebe.

DAY SPAS hunTeR VaLLeY

Vinotherapie exfoliates Endota
Endota Spa Hunter Valley at the Peppers Guest House introduced Vinotherapie treatments in late 2008 and since then they have continued a big hit in the region. According to Endota’s Julie Molenaar, the Vinotherapie treatments, which originated in France, use the stems, oils, seeds and flesh of wine grapes to create anti-ageing skin and body treatments. “Signing up for a vinotherapie treatment means soaking up a good drop – literally,” she says. “We use Vinotherapie at Endota Hunter Valley freshly crushed grapes from nearby vineyards and, when vine leaves being laid all over the body; a ‘pinot they’re in season, we’ll also noir wrap’, which includes a detoxifying, skin use the vine leaves to wrap the body. The grape polishing scrub; a ‘vinotherapie facial’ which seed oil, grape seed and red wine extracts have uses all of the grape elements to cleanse, exfolia detoxifying effect. ate, detoxify and moisturise; and a ‘shiraz bath “So not only are the treatments deliciously soak’ which brings new meaning to the phrase relaxing, but they have a real therapeutic benefit. “soaking up a good drop of red”. “People step out of the treatments with skin More than just a gimmick, Molenaar says that is energised and firmed,”she says. the new vinotherapie treatments have been Endota Spa Hunter Valley offers a range of bringing real health benefits to Hunter Valley vinotherapie treatments, including: a ‘chardonlocals and visitors. nay massage’; which wraps up with warmed

Grand Mercure Rockford Palm Cove

Transforming great Australian Hotels, Casinos and Resorts.
Four Seasons Hotel, Sydney

isis.com.au

hotel & accommodation management 19

propertynews

REFURBISHMENTS aucKLand

Major refurbishment complete at Hyatt Regency Auckland
Hyatt Regency Auckland

Quest Campbelltown

Quest

DEVELOPMENTS camPbeLLToWn

Construction begins on Quest Campbelltown
Quest Serviced Apartments has begun construction of its newest multi-million dollar development, Quest Campbelltown, NSW. Built – one of Australia’s most dynamic construction and fit-out companies – is constructing the latest Quest development, led by Built Projects Director, Mitchell Futcher. The AUD$16 million property investment will employ 200 local consultants, project managers, site managers and tradesmen. When complete, the anticipated 4.5star property will feature 81 studio, one, two and three-bedroom serviced apartments over four levels. Quest Chairman, Paul Constantinou, said: “Quest is excited to forge ahead with this Sydney suburban development. Quest Campbelltown will offer business travellers to Sydney’s southwest a home away from home.” Quest will consider franchise management expressions of interest for the Campbelltown property in February 2010.

Hyatt Regency Auckland’s highly anticipated rejuvenation is on track for completion by the end of 2009. The long-overdue enhancement has seen the creation of two new room types in the original Regency Tower – a View King and a Suite View King. New textured carpets and fresh colour on the walls bring a warmer feel to each room, which also include new King-size beds and linen and 32-inch TVs, while the furnishings are the work of New Zealand designers. The bathrooms have received a modern touch, with all original tiling being polished to perfection. This complements the new rich

colours of the vanity, also specially designed for these rooms. The new Residence Tower King Rooms have been refreshed with a warmer, more inviting colour palette. Beds have received new linen and valance that match the new curtains and headboard, which complement the original décor of the room. The new Residence Suites have received all new furnishings. The colours have transformed the room to match the unique outlook of Auckland City, harbour and parks.The greens and browns have an earthy feeling with a very chic and contemporary design to each piece of furniture that was created especially for these rooms by New Zealand designers.

REFRESHMENTS meLbouRne

New look: Crown Towers Melbourne

Since its AUD$65 million refurbishment was completed several months ago, Crown Towers Melbourne continues to be the 5-star toast of the Victorian capital. “The feedback from guests has been extraordinary,” Crown Hotels Executive General Manager Peter Crinis told HM. “Whether travelling for business or pleasure, our guests love the modern styling and attention to detail.” Look for the new rooms to be extraordinarily popular during Melbourne’s upcoming sporting summer, when celebrities flock into town by the hundreds. -JW

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FRANCHISING TamWoRTh

BRANDING chRisTchuRch

Tamworth Towers goes All Seasons
Tamworth’s largest hotel has joined Accor’s All Seasons network following a major refurbishment. The 108-room hotel is a landmark in Tamworth, in country NSW, and became the All Seasons Tamworth Towers from October 1, 2009. “We are extremely pleased to be associated with Accor,” said Pravin Sundarjee, Director, Tamworth Towers Pty Ltd, the owners of the hotel. “Further enhancements will be made to our property and I’m sure that Accor, with its strong, well-known brands, will help us grow and prosper in the future.” Accor’s General Manager Franchise Hotels, Dino Mezzatesta, welcomed Tamworth Towers into the All Seasons family and said

Tamworth was a strategic addition to the national All Seasons network. “The All Seasons brand is currently undergoing a renaissance and Tamworth Towers epitomises the brand’s relaxed, friendly and affordable ethos,” said Mezzatesta. “Tamworth offers much more than its country music scene and is growing as a very popular centre for events and conferences year-round, and it is our aim to build on the Tamworth Tower’s conferencing facilities to attract even more events to this exciting regional city,”he said. Many rooms have views over the Moonbi Ranges or Perel River and there are a range of room types including spa rooms and family suites. Crossroads Restaurant & Bar is one of the most popular dining options in town, and the hotel boasts meeting facilities for up to 200 delegates. Other facilities include a guest laundry, on-site parking and an outdoor pool.
All Seasons Tamworth Towers

Rendezvous Hospitality Group (RHG) will launch The Marque Hotel brand in New Zealand with the re-branding of the planned Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch, which will now be The Marque Hotel Christchurch, due to open early in 2010. Iqbal Jumabhoy, CEO, RHG, said: “As we already have a well established and very large RHG hotel in New Zealand with the Rendezvous Hotel Auckland, we have decided to launch The Marque Hotel brand in the Christchurch market.”
The Marque Hotel Christchurch

propertynews

REFURBISHMENTS GoLd coasT

Sold: Four Points by Sheraton Sydney

Sea World unveils deluxe rooms
New rooms: Sea World

Sea World Resort has unveiled the first of its new deluxe room range. The multi-million dollar renovation will see 120 rooms in the resort’s premier Park Wing undergo a full makeover with all rooms ready just in time for Christmas holidays. Positioned next to the theme park, the new wing will offer a mixture of king, double, queen and family suite configurations making it ideal for all guests who seek luxury during their stay. General Manager, Ernst Pfister said the de-

cision to upgrade again was always on the cards. “Sea World Resort is arguably one of the most popular tourist destinations in Queensland. However we know that to remain on top of our game we need to continually improve and exceed our guest’s expectations,” he said. “I know our guests will be thrilled with the new rooms, as are we. They are really special and we can’t wait to show them off.” Designed by leading refurbishment specialists, Carmody Group, the new deluxe rooms are the perfect mix of luxury and practicality. According to Director, Peter Carmody, inspiration came from the pristine Queensland sky and ocean to offer a fresh and invigorating design that captures the essence of Sea World and the Gold Coast. “The new deluxe rooms redefine the resort’s style through contemporary aesthetics – blending natural light and water to create relaxing internal décor,” he said.
HOTEL SALES sYdneY

GREEN ACCREDITATION KinGs canYon

APT’s Kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge has been granted EcoTourism Australia accreditation which recognises economic, environment and socially sustainable practices in tourism. APT Operations Manager, Myles McClure who oversaw the development of the lodge three years ago said the certification, which began in 1996, provides travel agents and consumers alike with an assurance that a nature tourism or ecotourism product will be delivered with a commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability.
kings Canyon Wilderness Lodge

GPT sells Four Points
The GPT Group (GPT) has continued its noncore asset sale program, with the exchange of contracts for the sale of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel in Sydney. The Hotel has been sold for AUD$185 million to an offshore investor and according to GPT, the sale proceeds will be applied to the Group’s borrowings. GPT Chief Executive Officer, Michael Cameron, said: “Four Points by Sheraton is a solid asset in the Sydney hotel market. It has performed well for GPT and the sale represents a good result in the current investment market. In line with our strategy announced in August, the divestment of the Hotel/Tourism assets allows us to focus on our core portfolios in the Australian retail, office and industrial/ business park sectors and further strengthens GPT’s balance sheet to enable us to secure compelling opportunities in these sectors.” Cameron said GPT will complete the current capital expenditure program of up to AUD$5 million and completion of the sale is expected before year end. He also said the sale process for the remaining hotel and tourism assets - Brampton Island Resort and Ayers Rock Resort - continues to progress.

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AN ACCOR HOSPITALITY PROMOTION

franChising

accor

NOVOTEL LANDS
This monTh, HM LooKs aT WhY KenLYnn PRoPeRTies ausTRaLia seLecTed accoR as The bRand foR TheiR neW bRisbane aiRPoRT hoTeL.

Novotel Brisbane Airport

aT bRisbane aiRPoRT

hen developers Kenlynn Properties Australia were ready to launch their new hotel at Brisbane Airport, they decided they needed the assistance of the international hotel brand that has attracted, according to a recent Roy Morgan poll, more Australian guests than any other. The Novotel brand is not only one of the most powerful global hotel brands in the world, but with Accor managing hotels at almost every major Australian airport, an Accor franchise seemed the perfect way to ensure the success of their newest project. The brand new Novotel Brisbane Airport is now set for a mid-December opening and will be the first global airport hotel in the city. Located just off Airport Drive, the 157-room, 4.5-star hotel can be accessed by road or AirTrain utilising a bus transfer loop running between the domestic and international terminals and the hotel. It is also just a short walk from the DFO hub which houses over 120 discounted brands in fashion, homewares and more and the commercial precinct which is home to more than 300 businesses. Scott Flynn, a spokesperson for the owners said they chose a franchise with Accor because they knew Accor had the expertise to make an airport hotel successful. “Novotel hotels are located near some of the world’s most important airports so we were confident the brand would suit our new project,” Flynn said. “We felt the Novotel brand was the perfect fit for the style of this new hotel and would help to attract both domestic and international guests, as the brand has such a strong global presence. “While there might be about 4 million international and almost 15 million domestic passengers each year passing through Brisbane Airport, we wanted to ensure we attracted as many of these people as possible to stay with us and we felt that Accor could provide the global marketing, brand awareness and distribution channels to ensure we fill our rooms,” he said. “Being a franchise hotel enables us to maintain our individual personality while providing access to the Accor expertise that will support our efforts on a global level.” Designed to cater to a diverse range of short-term travellers, the hotel includes six dedicated meeting rooms and an executive board room, a restaurant and stylish bar with separate lounge area, 24-hour

W

room service, and a rooftop lap pool, gymnasium and sauna. All meeting rooms have natural light, state of the art audio visual equipment, broadband and WiFi. The lobby level includes a complimentary web corner with MAC computers enabling guests to access the internet and print their boarding passes prior to departure from the hotel. Designed by Brisbane-based firm Noel Robinson Architects, the hotel includes a six-storey atrium and a dramatic, glass-ended cantilevered rooftop pool and recreation space. To capitalise on Queensland’s year-round subtropical climate, it has been designed to harness natural light and outdoor living spaces to achieve high energy efficiency. The interior design will comprise a blend of traditional elegance and contemporary design, with local timber veneers and stone, while the rooms will offer guests a mix of natural materials, warm colours and the latest in technology. Dino Mezzatesta, Accor’s General Manager Franchise Hotels said Novotel Brisbane Airport was a strategic addition to Accor’s network. “Airport hotels have high visibility and typically perform very well and with the focus on further upgrading the Novotel brand, this new hotel is a very exciting addition to our network,” he said.“Brisbane Airport is an increasingly important hub in Australia, with new airlines offering direct flights and the Novotel branding will help to attract a global audience to the hotel. “Accor franchising is a great way to offer start-up hotels instant branding, access to the knowledge and expertise of the entire Accor team, and a ready base of customers via Accor’s loyalty programs, existing customer network and extensive global distribution channels. For this new airport hotel it will help to ensure business soars from the very first day.” With Brisbane Airport boasting a curfew-free status, it is likely it will attract even great numbers of international and domestic carriers in future years, which will make Brisbane a hub for increasing passenger movements. Novotel Brisbane Airport will become part of a global network of 400 Novotel hotels across more than 56 countries, including over 80 hotels in the Asia Pacific region. For information on franchising go to www.accorfranchise.com.au or contact Dino Mezzatesa on (02) 9280 9832 or email dino.mezzatesta@accor.com
hotel & accommodation management 23

generalManaGeR

MARGARET RIVER’S masTeR ResoRT
This monTh, HM sPeaKs To sean WaTT, GeneRaL manaGeR of miRVac’s QuaY WesT ResoRT bunKeR baY, LocaTed in The heaRT of WesTeRn ausTRaLia’s maRGaReT RiVeR Wine ReGion.
WORDS JAMES WILKINSON IN BUNKER BAY

HM: Sean, how is Quay West Resort Bunker Bay performing at present and what are you expecting for the next 12-18 months? SEAN WATT: The financial year 2009/10 is tracking relatively well, with July, August and September already achieving a 10-15% higher occupancy than the corresponding period in 2008/09. We have good business on the books for Christmas and the New Year, which is a favourite time for the Margaret River Region and we enjoy a fairly healthy return guest ratio. HM: Which market segments are you expecting to be the strongest in 2010? SW: Domestic leisure continues to be our strongest market, with continued growth/interest from the east coast which has been assisted by accessible and cost friendly air travel. We are also seeing a pick up on conferencing and of course the wedding market is great for us because we have such a romantic location. HM: How is the Margaret River market performing and how is the industry banding together to maintain strong visitor arrivals? SW: I believe that the Margaret River Region has worked extremely well with the various tourism bodies and that we are certainly becoming a well recognised tourist destination offering a wide variety of attractions all year round to attract a wide audience.
24 hotel & accommodation management

HM: What interest are you seeing in the region from outside Western Australia and do you believe the Australian East Coast states will be key markets for the hotel over the next twelve months? SW: Definitely continued growth and interest from the east coast which has been assisted by accessible and cost friendly air travel and big-name events in internationally acclaimed wineries. HM: What are the main challenges facing the hotel at present? SW: Whilst remoteness is a drawcard to many, especially those who feel they want a complete escape, it does still offer a challenge to some and what we need to do is convince some visitors to drive from Perth to Bunker Bay. But once they have arrived, they appreciate the tranquillity of Bunker Bay and the surrounds. Also, staffing will continue to be a challenge irrespective of the state of the economy. I say this because the majority of the front line hospitality staff are young and in the early stages of their working life and they are primarily here for a relatively short period and then move on to their next adventure. HM: What makes the hotel so unique in your opinion? SW: The simplicity of the location just emphasises the beauty of the area – from beaches to vineyards, restaurants and art galleries. Everything is accessible with ease, from the luxury accommodations to the superb facilities, being the restaurant, bar, swimming pool, tennis courts and Mii Spa.

The pool at Quay West Resort Bunker Bay

generalManaGeR

SNAPSHOT Quay West Resort Bunker Bay
bunker bay, Wa, australia Owner: mirvac hotels and Resorts Operator: mirvac hotels and Resorts General Manager: sean Watt Rooms and suites: 150 fully equipped villas of studio, 1-, 2- and 3-bedrooms F&B outlets: other side of the moon Restaurant, The snug Lounge, Poolside bar and Kiosk Conferencing: 6 conference and event spaces catering for up to 400 guests Recreation facilities: 25m wet-edge heated pool, gymnasium, tennis courts, sunbathing decks, mii spa, extensive grounds for jogging and walking, and beach access.

“The financial year ‘09/’10 is tracking relatively well, with July, August and September already achieving a 10-15% higher occupancy than the corresponding period in ‘08/’09.”
SEAN WATT, GM, Quay West Resort Bunker Bay

HM: You have some excellent F&B on offer at the hotel. What are the highlights in your opinion? SW: The variety and freshness of local product available and with the seasonal changes made to our menu highlighting this vast and diverse range of food and beverage on hand. Obviously the renowned quality of our Margaret Rivers wines is a highlight. HM: The hotel is very strong in the MICE segment. What does the hotel offer in the way of MICE facilities? SW: Quay West Resort Bunker Bay offers a diverse selection of function, conference and catering options which range from our small private function rooms – The Shivery, Sugarloaf and The Snug – to our extensive Windmills function rooms which cater for up to 120. We also have our magnificent Bunker Bay Marquee that can easily manage 250 for a spectacular gala dinner. HM: How is the MICE market performing and what are you expecting for the next twelve months? SW: As mentioned, the 2009/10 financial year is currently tracking very well and includes strong conference business on the books. There certainly seems to be renewed confidence with in this market segment and we are optimistic of a robust 2010 and even brighter 2011.

A villa at Quay West Resort Bunker Bay

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hotel & accommodation management 25

propertyPRofiLe

Travelodge Wellington

TOGA STARS IN

WeLLinGTon
The dooRs To WeLLinGTon’s ‘neWesT’ oPened in June 2009, bRinGinG anoTheR sTRonG inTeRnaTionaL bRand To The neW ZeaLand caPiTaL. HM checKs-in.
WORDS JAMES WILKINSON IN WELLINGTON

hile Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown have been hot on the development radar, Wellington has struggled with new supply, thanks to a lack of approved or planned projects leading right up to Rugby World Cup 2011. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Toga Hospitality’s 132-room Travelodge Wellington opened to much fanfare in June 2009, despite the ‘new’ property being a refurbishment and rebranding from an ageing Copthorne Plimmer Towers. Toga Hospitality CEO Rachel Argaman said she was encouraged by bookings and occupancy at Travelodge Wellington over the last six months, given the substantial investment in time and money the company has injected into the property. “We’ve seen occupancy increase steadily month-on-month and are already welcoming repeat customers,” she told HM. “Wellington is a very competitive market to be operating in, but we have seen some strengthening in the market in the past month or so. “Whilst we are all challenged by current economic climate it brings like all challenges, opportunities to improve our business… so, we are focused on guest service, growing repeat business and paying close attention to our costs,” she said. A strong finish to 2009, coupled with the company’s increased focus on the bottom line, has Argaman confident of a strong 2010. “For the next 12-18 months we are aiming to continue the growth in occupancy and growth in room rate,” she said. “In 2010, we are expecting to see strong growth in the corporate and government markets and will continue to drive leisure bookings through our consumer marketing campaigns. Alongside Toga’s direct campaigns, she said the company would also be working with Positively Wellington Tourism. “We will all be working with Positively Wellington over the more leisure months of late-December and early-January and then look forward to seeing continued growth in the strength of the market in the New Year,” she said.
Rooms start from NZD$99 per night

W

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hotel & accommodation management

propertyPRofiLe

“In 2010, we are expecting to see strong growth in the corporate and government markets and will continue to drive leisure bookings through our consumer marketing campaigns.”
RACHEL ARGAMAN, CEO, Toga Hospitality

SNAPSHOT Travelodge Wellington
2-6 Gilmer Terrace, Wellington, new Zealand Owner: Toga hospitality and eureka funds management Operator: Toga hospitality General Manager: shaarn Letele Opened: June 2009 Rooms & suites: 132 rooms F&B outlets: steps Restaurant, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Conferencing: Three dedicated conference rooms

Argaman said there were a number of factors why the hotel had proven popular in recent months, including the extensive refurbishment and its prime position in the middle of the city. “We have the newest hotel offering in Wellington and our corner rooms have amazing views over the city,” she said. “The hotel was completely refurbished over an eight month period and the 132 rooms were revamped with new fixtures and fittings. The three conference rooms also have a fresh new look and the hotel’s foyer and restaurant have been transformed. “Travelodge Wellington is also in a prime location in the centre of Wellington’s financial and shopping hub, yet close to key attractions such as Wellington Zoo, the Wellington Cable Car and Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.

“These factors make it ideal for both leisure and business travellers,” she said. Argaman said those factors also meant Travelodge Wellington was perfectly suited to the MICE market (both domestically and internationally from Australia), a segment that has also been showing positive signs for the next twelve months. “The MICE market looks to be very promising for 2010,” she said. “We have a number of pieces of business already locked in for 2010 and will be focusing on this market through the year.” Thanks to the cheapest trans-Tasman airfares in the last ten years, conference and incentive planners are looking to New Zealand destinations such as Wellington for conferences under 100 people and the city’s ‘newest’ hotel is in the perfect position to capture a strong share of the ever-growing MICE market.

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hotel & accommodation management 27

roomKeY

MAXIMISING OPPORTUNITIES in a chaLLenGinG cLimaTe
in an eXcLusiVe coLumn foR HM, ihG’s coo foR ausTRaLiasia, BRUCE MCKENZIE LooKs aT maXimisinG oPPoRTuniTies in a chaLLenGinG economic cLimaTe.
When ex-Malaysian Airlines CEO Idris Jala quipped there’s nothing like a good recession to get your business into shape, he’d already brought the business through one extraordinary change process – only to face the need for further reorganisation and cost cutting in light of the GFC. Despite their dire situation however, Jala – a celebrated change agent – publicly recognised the need to keep immediate needs in perspective of longer-term goals for the 70-odd year old company. While the MAS situation is an extreme one compared with that of most of the major operators in our own sector, it exemplifies the dilemma we’ve all found ourselves in over the last 18 months. If nothing else, 2009 has been a year of embracing the realities of managing short term needs while keeping sight of longer term objectives. Even though there’s no doubt things are picking up for us in Australasia faster than most other parts of the world, there are likely to be examples of operators and owners who will suffer as a result of focussing solely on short-term responses to the challenging economic conditions. In seeking to avoid this trap, we’ve focussed on protecting the balance between delivering returns today and continuing to build our business capability ensuring we have a stronger market position next week. Recent events have demonstrated how tempting it is to forego that balance in favour of an immediate competitive advantage, which ultimately damages business prospects over the longer term. Of course, we’ve had the luxury of being better able to maintain balance in the first place. Strong operating systems and expertise coupled with powerful brands, marketing channels and location network are insulation against the storm that surrounds every low point in the economic cycle. Our ultimate objective over the last couple of years has been to use the current economic climate to our advantage. The restructuring of our Asia Pacific operations into two separate business units has meant we’ve dedicated more resources to Australasia and Southern Asia, while the Greater China team focuses on the 118 properties under their care and the 100 more in the immediate pipeline. It’s also meant we can cut costs constructively and in a sustainable manner, while still improving the customer experience and the engagement of our hotel and corporate teams. As a result, we’ve been able to live up to our promise to customers, continue to provide highly competitive career opportunities for our staff, and deliver strong returns for our owners. There is no doubt business is picking up across the board. The next few months will be telling, and will very likely demonstrate which operators have managed to maintain the balance required to remain competitive as the cycle lifts.
28 hotel & accommodation management

BRUCE MCkENZIE Chief Operating Officer - Australasia InterContinental Hotels Group

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brandPRofiLe

W New York - Times Square

THE

WoW
FACTOR
IN DECEMBER 1998, STARWOOD’S W HOTELS BRAND CREATED A NEW EXPERIENCE FOR SOPHISTICATED TRAVELLERS, OFFERING HIP BARS, HOT RESTAURANTS AND THE MOST EXCITING ACCOMMODATION SEEN FOR DECADES. HM FINDS OUT HOW OVER TEN YEARS ON, W REMAINS THE COOLEST BRAND THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN.
WORDS JAMES WILKINSON IN NEW YORK

“W is more than a hotel brand… It’s an iconic lifestyle brand and what sets us apart is how we offer more than just a hotel stay, (because) we offer unique and innovative experiences.”
EVA ZEIGLER, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels, Starwood

uring the 1990s, hotels were stuck in a transitional portal of being large, grand and over-luxurious or small, stale and underdeveloped. What was missing was a hip, contemporary and sophisticated hotel chain - one where guests could sip martinis at the bar while listening to eclectic music spun by the world’s best DJs. People wanted hotels to stay at where they could be in ‘the scene’. Sure there were the luxurious 5-star hotels where guests could drink Dom Perignon and eat caviar in the lobby, but what was missing was a collection of hotels under one banner where no matter wherever in the world you were - be it New York, Sydney, London, Hong Kong or Paris - you were guaranteed to be staying somewhere hip, happening and fun. So, when Starwood opened the W New York in December 1998 - complete with a happening bar, loungeroom-style lobby, funky music and eclectic furniture - it’s no surprise that hotels were firmly placed in the realm of cool for the first time in decades. In fact, soon after Starwood first opened the W New York, hotel chains across the world scrambled to try and keep up, by revitalizing their bars, restaurants and guest rooms. Some have come close, but none have been able to emulate what W has done on a global scale. “W was a category buster when Starwood opened W New York in 1998 and it quickly redefined the hotel experience,” Starwood’s Global Brand Leader for W Hotels, Eva Zeigler, exclusively told HM in New York.

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hotel & accommodation management

W New York

W Hoboken

NEW YORK’S FINEST from one hotel in 1998 to six today, new York is more than just a home for W hotels – the city has the brand’s biggest presence and remains its largest market. James Wilkinson finds out the wow factor at five of them. W NEW YORK (opened 1998) The brand’s original property, W new York is highlighted by Randy Gerber’s Whiskey blue bar located to the side of the hotel lobby (Gerber’s original), and the 720-sq foot extreme Wow suite atop the building.

W NEW YORK - THE COURT (1999) a converted apartment building, W The court is a hotel with an incredible amount of character and is perhaps the most quaint of all the city’s W hotels. Love the location at 130 east 39th street. W NEW YORK - UNION SQUARE (2000) arguably the best location for a hotel in new York, the W union square is one of the brand’s most popular hotels in the city for good reason. fantastic service, large rooms and a hip bar downstairs highlight this superlative hotel.

W NEW YORK - TIMES SQUARE (2001) in new York’s most famous square, the W Times square rises high above the neon lights that dominate the streetscape down below. it’s the ultimate location for first timers to the big apple. W HOBOKEN (2009) W hoboken is located across the hudson River in new Jersey and features incredible views of manhattan. The hotel is highlighted by its amazing bliss day spa, popular Zylo steakhouse and hip chandelier Room bar.

“Since then, W has grown to become an American phenomenon and is currently transforming into a global powerhouse. “W was the first to transform the lobby into what we call the Living Room experience - a place where guests and locals come to mix and mingle - and other W firsts include branded beds, retail stores, signature scents, branded CDs and designer minibar amenities,”she said. Australia, of course, has had its taste of W when the W Sydney opened in 2000 on the harbour in Woolloomooloo. It may be the BLUE Sydney now, but the W’s legacy remains and the hotel can be credited for making Australian hotel bars cool once more. On several occasions in the early 2000s, Water Bar was so popular at times that only hotel guests were guaranteed access – another benefit of staying at a hotel that W also pioneered and remains in force to this day. Sydney was also the first city outside the United States to feature the W brand and many industry leaders would say the brand recognition remains so strong in the harbour city that marketing budgets would be able to be kept to a minimum in the event of a new hotel opening. Zeigler said while there are no immediate plans for a return to Sydney, the city remains firmly on the brand’s radar, a message echoed to HM several times by Starwood’s regional head Sean Hunt. “W is always seeking exciting new locations around the world… places where our loyalists want to visit,”Zeigler said.“While no plans are currently in the works for a property in Australia, we never rule a location out. “However, this is a very exciting time in W’s history as we are on track to double our footprint by 2011. We’re expanding to some of the most sought-after markets in the world including Paris, London, Shanghai and St. Petersburg,” she said. After a rapid expansion from 1998 to 2004, the United States growth of the brand slowed down and Starwood started to focus on signing properties across the globe. While several W Hotels opened in Canada, the Maldives and South Korea - the international reach did not truly kick into top gear until mid-2008 when Starwood was signing properties practically by the month. That date also marked the opening of W Hong Kong, what has become a flagship hotel for Starwood in Asia and at the time, quite possibly the best W to open anywhere in the world since W New York in 1998. Since Hong Kong, a plethora of hotels have opened on an equally grand basis, across both Europe and the United States. “In 2009, we opened several flagship hotels globally including W Barcelona, W South Beach (Florida) and W Washington D.C. and will soon open W Hollywood and W London – Leicester Square,” she said. “New York City, as the birthplace of W, will continue to be flagships for the brand, especially the new W New York - Downtown, which is also set to open in 2010,” Zeigler said. There’s more to come, especially in some emerging and exciting markets for Starwood, including Athens, Greece (2011), St Petersburg, Russia (2010), Marrakech, Morocco (2011), Amman, Jordan (2012), Bangkok, Thailand (2011), Guangzhou, China (2010), Shanghai (2014). Several W properties under the Retreats and Resorts banner are also in

the pipeline, according to Zeigler. “In Spring 2010, W Retreat and Spa – Vieques Island will open (in Costa Rica),” she said. “It’s a breathtaking property that was designed by David Rockwell and Patricia Uriquola and will feature a restaurant by Alain Ducasse. “In 2010, we will be opening Retreats and Spas in Koh Samui and Bali. Then, in 2012, we will debut our first ever ski resort, W Verbier,”she said. In not just emerging markets, but by adding major in-demand cities such as Paris (2011), London (2010), Shanghai and St. Petersburg is proof of W’s positioning in the market and the fact that the brand is ultimately lacking a major competitor in its segment. The only chains that come close to W at present are Thompson Hotels in the United States (which is set to add a Seoul hotel over the next 18 months), Eight Hotels Australia (specifically with the Diamant brand), Viceroy (which opens a uber-hip Snowmass hotel this month) and Le Meridien, following Starwood’s major revamp of the brand earlier this year (which is ironically also under Zeigler’s direction). And, until the first Edition hotel - the collaboration between Bill Marriott and Ian Schrager is opened, no other top five chain will come anywhere near a W concept. Zeigler said what Starwood have developed with W is create a brand that more is based around more than just accommodation. “W is more than a hotel brand… it is an iconic lifestyle brand,” she said. “What sets us apart is how we offer more than just a hotel stay, (because) we offer unique and innovative experiences. “Our leading-edge design sets the stage for an integrated lifestyle experience, including destination bar and restaurant, signature spa experience, Whatever/Whenever service promise, and W Hotels The Store, our take on the traditional hotel gift shop,” she said. Zeigler said offering the complete lifestyle experience, with a hip twist, is one of the main reasons why W is in such strong demand and has proven successful over the last decade. But, given W’s leadership in its segment, Zeigler knows the brand has to remain at the forefront of the industry and she has been left with the responsibility doing just that. What’s next? From what Zeigler says, it sounds like Starwood is creating its own magazine house-slash-fashion brand. “In another W first, we have just appointed of our first ever Global Music Director Michaelangelo L’Acqua,”she said.“His job is to strengthen our presence in the music community and create brand partnerships for us. “We will also soon be appointing a Global Fashion Director to help us do the same in the fashion arena,” Zeigler said. For a hotel chain to take these financial risks and go to the lengths of creating the ultimate hip guest experience, it truly is no wonder that W remains the coolest hotel brand in the world – a title it will mostly likely retain for another decade and beyond. HM flew to New York with United Airlines, which flies twice daily to the Big Apple via Los Angeles or San Francisco. The author recommends flying in United Business, which features new flat-beds, entertainment on demand and premium beverages on all Australian flights. Visit www.unitedairlines.com.au
hotel & accommodation management 31

daysPas

SPA
WORDS

Villa Thalgo at The Sebel Resort and Spa Hawkesbury Valley

VaLLeY
nesTLed noT faR fRom The GReaT diVidinG RanGe is one of miRVac’s mosT beauTifuL RuRaL PRoPeRTies and a sTunninG eXamPLe of hoW a daY sPa faciLiTY can cReaTe business.
ADAM DAFF IN WINDSOR

bury was also surrounded by some of the n 2010 the NSW town of Windsor will Picturesque: The Sebel Resort and Spa other fastest growing local government areas. celebrate the bicentennial of its namHawkesbury Valley What was once covered in orange oring by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, an chards and small farms is now home to event that will not be lost on the staff at one several software and hardware IT compaof Mirvac’s most relaxed rural properties. nies, pharmaceutical firms, government The Sebel Resort and Spa Hawkesbury industries and food retailers such as Coles Valley is a stunning example of what awaits and Woolworths have also moved corpoSydney city folk who would venture west rate offices to the area. towards the Great Dividing Range. The Hawkesbury has retained a relaxThe Sebel Hawkesbury Valley is at the ing rural feel, however, and The Sebel is a gateway to the Hawkesbury Valley, 45 reflection of that, most particularly through minutes west of Sydney, and was origiits day spa – Villa Thalgo. nally named after the events that led to Villa Thalgo is one of the biggest day the Rum Rebellion, Australia’s attempt to spa facilities in Australia, almost a hogive the ruling government a dose of what tel within a hotel – offering extraordinary the Americans handed the British at the service in large waiting rooms surrounded Battle of Lexington. by gardens full of flowers of every colour “This property was called Rum Corps and range of treatments. Barracks, when it was privately owned, and Villa Thalgo and its Manager, Danielle then changed to Radisson Rum Corps RePalmer, were awarded Day Spa of the Year sorts. It changed ownership in 2000 when at the 2009 HM Awards, for excellence in it was branded a Sebel,” said Kun Rahadhotels and accommodation last August. Of ian Marketing Manager for the The Sebel the 40 awards given on the night, the Spa Resort and Spa Hawkesbury Valley and The category was one of the most popular. Sebel Kirketon Park Hunter Valley. “The HM Awards were extremely imTo say the Windsor area has grown in portant as it adds not only a testimonial of the past decade, would be a sincere underour achievements in the year (both financial and repeat business) but statement and this Mirvac property is in a strong position to capitalise. it validates it by our industry peers with receiving this award from a Local government figures show that in the decade between censuses highly respected industry magazine,” said Palmer. 1991 and 2001 - the estimated resident population of the Hawkesbury grew “The HM Awards was the first accolade the spa has received since by over 20%. This growth was among the highest in NSW, but the Hawkes32 hotel & accommodation management

i

time to pamper your guests

create a luxury experience in the hotel bathroom

THE NEW GENERATION IN GUEST AMENITIES
PO Box 553, Newport Beach NSW 2106 Tel: 02 9979 1500 Fax: 02 9979 2555 info@swisstrade.com.au www.swisstrade.com.au

daysPas

it has opened and we are very honoured. “But in 2009 we had several other firsts; including exceeding our budget by 29% and implementing an online printable voucher system. Our online sales in 2009 amounted to 15% of total sales, compared to 6% in 2008.” Rahadian added the industry recognition for Villa Thalgo was another example of how vital day spas can be to the marketing of a hotel. “The day spa is an integral part of the hotel as it gives an exclusivity and value-add factor to the property. Whether they are booking a conference, leisure getaway or organising a wedding, the spa will add an additional influence to the buying decision process,” he said. “It is an important factor for a resort hotel’s appeal to have a world class day spa on site. This is not a surprise to us, however, as seasoned travelers and spa enthusiasts expect a resort hotel to have spa facility onsite.” With its destination focus, events, particularly weddings, are as important to this hotel as any other – and the spa remains essential part of the hotel’s offering for events and conferencing. “The hotel has eight formal and five informal meeting rooms and can accommodate up to four weddings at a given time in one night. Moreover, we’re proud that 90 per cent of the meeting rooms have natural light,” Rahadian said. “A lot of the larger organisations use the day spa as part of the team incentive, as a re-

energizing process for their staff and another idea for a team building activity around the resort for their staff. Many stay on and utilise the facilities or buy gifts for their loved ones.” Other facilities at the resort include a golf course, nine and 18 holes, two tennis courts, a volleyball court, an indoor heated pool and for the adventuring type – access to a hot air balloon ride. For weddings this property has private group relaxation rooms as well as make-up rooms and pre-and post wedding spa treatment packages for brides. The spa was purpose built in 1998 with consultants from Thalgo Paris assisting with design and Palmer was thankful for this partnership with a well-established, treatmentbased professional skin care company. “A brand like Thalgo gives us an instant identity of quality and association with a well known proven product which has been in Australia for a good number of years,”she said. At Villa Thalgo Palmer said there was an emphasis on “seamless service, a warm personal touch, high repeat customer service, extensive facilities and tailor-made treatments”. And her secret? “Great staff are always difficult to find. However, with the correct training and motivation we will have minimal turnover. We are fortunate that our team is highly motivated and passionate in what they do.”

Villa Thalgo at The Sebel Resort and Spa Hawkesbury Valley (and above)

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hotel & accommodation management

TRAVELLERS TRUST STAR RATINGS
When selecting accommodation travellers trust the unbiased and independent quality assurance that STAR Ratings offer. Who says? Travellers do. AAA Tourism commissioned independent research to get an understanding of how travellers perceive STAR Ratings as opposed to self ratings. The results were promising for STAR Rated properties.
Over 87% of respondents consider STAR Ratings to be useful, with the majority (75%) regarding them very useful to extremely useful. Just over a half (53%) are aware of self rated dots (as seen on some websites), with less than 30% of total respondents considering self ratings useful. Research Now 2009. STAR Ratings really do drive customers to your door and can help your business keep that ‘No Vacancy’ sign well lit up! For more information about STAR Rating Membership contact AAA Tourism (03) 8601 2274 or visit aaatourism.com.au

hoteltechnoLoGY

WORDS

JAMES WELLS

FLATouT
fLaT PaneL TeLeVision is boominG in The commeRciaL caTeGoRY as iT is in The ReTaiL caTeGoRY and iT is noT suRPRisinG To find The ToP bRands aRe WinninG a LaRGe PRoPoRTion of The business.
InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto with Philips TVs

s

amsung Electronics Australia has experienced strong sales this year following the decision to create a dedicated business to business team and strategy in line with the global business structure. “Whereas previously we had limited resources for this market, Samsung Electronics Australia now has a close knit team with a number of BDMs with marked territories and a dedicated product manager with a sales and marketing focus,”said Samsung Electronics Australia Pro AV manager, Claudio Cardile. “This team now services the B2B specialist resellers who are involved with hotels, commercial audio video installations and digital signage. This had a big impact on our ability to service this market and we now have the manpower to train specialist resellers and service hoteliers far more effectively.” According to Cardile, the two key areas for Samsung are hospitality TVs and commercial display incorporating digital signage. “The focus for Samsung has been to offer choice in terms of models and solutions. Over the last 12 months we have experienced exponential growth and a significant uptake in sales volume and market share.” “In terms of trends this year, we have seen a migration from 26inch LCD hotel televisions to 32-inches without a doubt. There are three key reasons for this – firstly luxury facilities are crucial for hotel room star ratings, secondly there has been a shift in the price point where 32-inch panels are now within the confines of a lot of budgets and capital expenditure even though upgrades are planned well in advance. The third reason is the expectation of luxuries from hotel guests – there is an underlying assumption that the hotel room will offer at least what people are experiencing in their home,” he said. Samsung has recently installed 284 new 32-inch hotel LCD TVs into Crowne Plaza Terrigal, 380 new 32-inch hotel LCD TVs into the Grace Hotel and 240 new 32-inch hotel LCD TVs into the Brisbane Hilton. Samsung is also currently undertaking a fit out of 524 new 40inch televisions in an Australian 5 star hotel.
hotel & accommodation management

The hero products in the Samsung hotel television range are the B550K1H series which are available in 32-inch, 40-inch and 46inch sizes and features full high definition panels and fire resistant casing. The 52-inch model which has not been introduced to the Australian market is anticipated for release in the second quarter of 2010 in a larger format. Other products in the range include the entry-point 450 series which has four HD ready models – 22-inch, 26-inch, 32-inch and 37inch, while the 457 series features a 40-inch model with an OLED clock built into the face of the unit. All Samsung televisions feature pre-programmed video on demand systems, pre-set volume control, lock out function and external bathroom speaker outlets. According to Cardile, Samsung is also planning a strong year in digital signage in 2010. “Digital signage has become more active in terms of execution and deployment. It has always been lingering up until now, but this year it has been massive and next year it will be even more so. “For hotels, the trend towards digital signage is for information boards in reception and foyer areas. Samsung is one of the few brands that can cover installation of televisions in hotel rooms right through to digital signage with complete solutions straight out of the box.” Samsung has two software platforms for digital signage solutions – Magic Info Pro and Magic Info I. “The difference with Samsung digital signage solutions is hotels can purchase the panel with an embedded PC whereby the player and the server software come inclusive within the package, whereas with some other brands the software is an additional fee.” Samsung also offers a digital signage solution across every single series of large format display commercial panels and even touch screen solutions. Samsung offers in its commercial range the entry level MX series high brightness and slim bezel DX, UX and UT series as well as the TSN touch screen models. The DR series (direct

36

hoteltechnoLoGY

Features Philips: The Sebel Albert Park Melbourne

“In terms of trends this year, we have seen a migration from 26-inch LCD hotel televisions to 32-inches
CLAUDIO CARDILE, Samsung Electronics Australia Pro AV manager

Hilton Brisbane featuring Samsung

sunlight readable panels) features a 46-inch outdoor model with IP65 waterproof and dustproof rating which will be complemented by a new 70-inch outdoor model which is about to be released. According to Panasonic Australia Business Systems Group Director, Mark DeereJones, the range of Panasonic televisions available to the hotel industry is the broadest in the marketplace with panels ranging from 32-inches through to 103-inches. Complementing the existing, 32-inch, 37-inch, 42-inch, 50-inch, 60-inch and 103-inch panels is the new 85-inch panel emphasising the ability for plasma to be commercially viable at larger sizes, particularly above 40-inches.The 85-inch will be available from this month and represents Panasonic Australia’s continued strategy of large panels in the commercial market.“A lot of hotels will view the 85-inch as an entertainment product as well as an installation within corporate board rooms for presentations and clarity of video conferencing.” Deere-Jones points to the departure of brands such as Hitachi and Pioneer from the flat panel market as one of the reasons that hoteliers should work with companies who are manufacturers of their own products and can support them with a dedicated commercial team of installers and after sales specialists. “People clearly have the expectation. If I am used to a 42-inch or 50-inch at home, I expect that as a minimum when I leave home.” Deere-Jones therefore sees an opportunity for hotels to meet the needs of their guests by upgrading in-room technology. “There is a huge number of CRTs out there. The challenge for the hotel as they are upgrading is how far do they want to go? What sort of information and entertainment hub do they have and what do they want to create? It also depends on your star rating and how they want to differentiate from their competitors with inputs such as PC connectivity or even iPod connectivity.” Panasonic is also considering digital signage as the next frontier in terms of plasma displays within the hotel environment.“At long last, we think as we come out of the GFC, people are looking at digital signage as an alternative medium for information distribution,” Deere-Jones said. “For hoteliers, visual devices are not just about the in-room experience. Digital signage can deliver everything from check-in information and conference agendas while butcher’s paper is being replaced in meeting rooms by projectors and integrated cabling for integration with laptops, while interactive whiteboards are now also very common within larger hotels. Deere-Jones believes the consumer brand does provide a strong pull-through for the commercial division of the company, but he also
hotel & accommodation management 37

Setting A

Setting A

hoteltechnoLoGY

SCREEN

LEADERS

Samsung B550K1H Hotel TV Series • 1920 x 1080 full high definition • crystal design • fire resistant casing

IHG’s Crowne Plaza Terrigal hotel features Samsung TVs

Philips 52PFL5604H – 52-inch LCD television • Pixel Plus full high definition 1920 x 1080 resolution • Pc-input allows guests to use the television as a Pc monitor • usb input for multimedia playback

Sharp LC-40LE700X – 40-inch LED LCD television • sharp’s first Lcd TV with Led backlighting system • Low power consumption with 139 watts • Piano black design

Sony GXDL65H1 65-inch LCD ruggedized panel • iP54 rating – dust and splash proof with completely sealed terminal • economical power consumption & 3 year warranty • internal cooling system eliminating the need for ventilation holes

acknowledges the importance of service to obtain a satisfied customer. “We are fortunate to have some very good integration partners. The end user customer wants a total solution and they do not want different vendors doing different bits of the project as no one takes total responsibility such as cabling, brackets and the integration with the backend, particularly with servers in relation to digital signage and content management. The latest product added to the Sharp Corporation of Australia portfolio of products is the new Aquos LCD TV featuring LED backlight. The LC-40LE700X features a piano black design and the company’s most advanced technology to date. The 40-inch model boasts a selection of connections including three HDMI ports, two AV-in ports, two Component ports, S-Video in as well as an AV, Optical Audio and headphone out terminals. The X-Gen panel with advanced pixel control features a contrast ratio of 2,000,000:1 and four millisecond response time. The new Aquos also delivers an energy efficient, eco-friendly performance with an impressive reduction in energy consumption compared with conventional LCD TVs. The LED technology delivers greater energy savings with a low power consumption of 139W, producing less heat generation and is able to boast a backlight life of 100,000 hours and a six-star energy rating. Philips Australia has released a new 52inch LCD TV for the hotel category to complement its existing products in the category. According to Philips Hospitality Sales Manager for Australia and New Zealand, Travis Anderson, this product provides guests with many of the features they would expect from a hotel television. “As high definition entertainment takes off in homes around the world, many travelers now expect the same high quality when they stay in a hotel, as such Philips’

52PFL5640H Full HD 1080p digital TV is offering the same viewing experience to business and leisure travelers with access to HDTV out of the home,” Anderson said. The full high definition 52PFL5640H features 1920 x 1080p resolution and Philips’ proprietary Pixel Plus technology for better detail, enhanced depth and clarity as well as 28.9 billion colours for natural images and a 50000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. The television offers a range of connectivity options including USB for multimedia playback, three HDMI inputs and a PC input so guests can use the screen as a PC monitor. Sony Australia offers in-room televisions as well as digital signage solutions for hoteliers across a range of sizes including 32-inch, 40-inch, 42-inch, 47-inch, 52-inch and 65-inch LCD TVs. Sony is currently in the middle of a project with an unnamed hotel to upgrade their televisions and install foyer signage and panels within banquet rooms. Like other industry experts, Sony believes that 32-inch panels have now become the sweet-spot for a number of hospitality installations. “The 32-inch is popular but this is not necessarily demand from the end user. A lot of manufacturers are no longer producing smaller screens as they are not as economical the way prices are falling. I would love to see more rooms with 40-inch screens in them,” said Sony Australia product manager – public display, Les Boros. “The commercial market is a lot more price sensitive than the consumer market. When you are a business owner and purchasing for your business, you are not always looking at the best you can get for a strict budget. Sony has never been the best priced, but that’s because we have a good quality product.” In the digital signage market, Sony offers three distinct offerings including an all-in-one solution which is built into the panel and does not require any software for under $5,000.

40

hotel & accommodation management

LG Interactive Hotel TV
Full HD TV at the place where you shine
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hoteltechnoLoGY

THE ESSENSE OF

Technology
Essense Hospitality Solutions has launched onevision – representing the cutting edge of the next generation iPTV category. “our unique technology offerings mean more features for your guests and more profit for you the hotelier,” said essense hospitality solutions manager, Lee berry. “We offer a true multimedia experience – TV channels, high definition blockbuster movies, an exclusive music library and radio stations.” onevision allows guests links to Twitter, facebook, myspace and Linkedin. “The guest can ‘tweet’ about the movie or TV show they are watching or enter an update at the touch of a button, whilst watching the TV,” berry said. “This service promotes the hotels and its services as well as providing the Generation Y guest with the ability to stay connected to their online world. The interface is completely customisable in its look and feel and can be tailored according to a hotel’s exact requirements. “Guests can access items that have traditionally been printed such as the hotel a-Z, Room service menus and spa Treatment Lists; they can view their room bill and automatically check out – you can even have an electronic or audio copy of the bible. “one of the biggest advantages of onevision is that all of these menus, lists and items can be made interactive. a guest selecting an item from the room service menu can see a picture (or video) of the item or selecting a spa treatment a short video showcasing the treatment and its benefits. “onevision holds the customer information within the multimedia appliance, and is not reliant upon the Pms which makes the personalisation of the guest experience easy to implement. “With the addition of a webcam and microphone the TV can be used as a communication device for skype / other VoiP or even to talk to reception (guests should ensure they are not just out of the shower.” “This is very simple to set up and run and has only one power cable,”said Boros. “In the hospitality sector, I know a lot of hotels prefer to have people directing crowds, but in busy periods, digital signage is an absolute necessity.” Complementing its low end solution is a mid range semi enterprise solution which can service a series of screen up to 200, while the high end Ziris software based system can utilise a range of Sony panels or an existing network of panels. “Ziris allows you to not only cater for enterprise solutions, but also installations that do not have to change their hardware. If a hotel has a number of screens that they do not want to change, the software can work on a server and utilise the existing infrastructure.” Sony has recently used various installations around and throughout the Sydney Opera House to demonstrate the capabilities of the brand’s digital signage products. Sony is completing another major installation over the coming months at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre with over 140 panels and network players throughout the facility to assist with patron information and to advertise events.

The future of in-room entertainment – today
Our vision is to provide your guests with cutting edge, feature rich digital content. Our vision is for you to maximise your revenue; by delivering advertising and information directly to the in-room television, allowing your guests to quickly and easily book a service or purchase a product from the comfort of their room. Our vision is your vision - ONEvision IPTV solutions from essense – the future of in-room entertainment today.

For more information please visit: www.essense.com.au or contact essense on 02 8354 1510

hotel & accommodation management 43

roomsDivision

BEDROOM

Sofitel’s MyBed

caPeRs
hey are the most important part of the hotel room and often the most overlooked. They are where drink is taken (who sits on chairs in hotel rooms?), deals are consecrated and relationships consummated. Oh yes, and where weary travellers and business folk recharge before girding their loins and heading out into the fray for a hard day’s sightseeing, or fact finding, once more. So what do hotel managers look for in a bed? For a G-rated interview, Sealy’s National Commercial Accounts Manager Antony Raiteri is remarkably PG13. “The fact is that beds in hotels need high levels of durability and that durability factor is based on the antics that guests get up to in hotels,’’ Raiteri told HM. “The fact is that people do things on beds in hotel rooms they would not do in their own homes.’’ Murray Rowbotham, Business Development Manager for Brisbane’s 2.5-year-old Emporium Hotel, which only uses Sealy mattresses, said that the bed was the main feature of the room. “They may not turn on the TV, they may not crack the mini bar, but everyone at some stage is going to go to bed,’’ Rowbotham said. “Our whole idea is to create an atmosphere where they feel relaxed when they are in the room. At the end of the day they are purchasing
44 hotel & accommodation management

fRom The WesTin’s TRademaRK heaVenLY bed To sofiTeL’s mYbed and seaLY’s numeRous hiGh-end hoTeL PLacemenTs, HM deLVes inTo The WoRLd of ToPPeRs and ThRead counTs foR The disceRninG GuesT.
JONATHAN PORTER

WORDS

T

a good night’s sleep and so the bed is probably the most important feature in the room. “We have a lot of honeymooners and people stay for all sorts of reasons, the feedback regarding the comfort of the bed, linen and pillow menu is always positive.” Emporium provides its guests with Sealy Posturepedic Dynasty Beds, he said. “The bed itself has a very tight spring coil system which provides guests with a comfortable yet sturdy platform which is, most importantly, very good for the back,” he said. “The bed is further enhanced by a woollen underlay which is placed on top of the bed and under the linen. “The luxurious linen and duvet cover are 100% cotton with a very tight knit of a 250 thread count. “To further personalise the sleeping experience Emporium offers its guests a beautiful range of pillows from the Exquisite Sleeps Menu located on the bed. “When a pillow is requested, housekeeping delivers the pillow to the guest’s room with red ribbon in a bow and a message to wish them a good night’s rest. “The bedding has proved so popular that not long after opening we

roomsDivision

found it necessary to place a Luxurious Bedding Menu on to the Emporium Hotel’s website for guests to order direct with hotel,”Rowbotham said. Raiteri said Sealy was used by InterContinental Hotels, Marriott, Hyatt, Stella Group, Mirvac, Crown Towers in Melbourne, Starwood and Four Points by Sheraton amongst others. “We have the majority of the 4- and 5-star brands nationally and when guests check out of these hotels they are telling staff they had a great night’s sleep and hotels take a lot of notice of that kind of feedback,” Raiteri said. “Good news travels fast in the industry and when someone who has a proven track record does something properly that is a success it permeates through the rest of the industry,” he said. If you can’t give a guest a good night’s sleep it’s too easy for them to walk down the road and go somewhere else, Raiteri said. “So you have only got one chance to make a first impression and the bed is that chance to make that impression,” he said. “If they don’t get that then they will lose the chance to get return business from that client whether it’s the business traveller or the tourist traveller.’’ Raiteri said the quality of a room’s bed was a very good barometer of the success of the guest’s stay. “If they don’t get that right it will show on the bottom line in hotel chains,” he said.“They are in the business of selling sleep. If they fail at that they are in trouble.” Raiteri said Sealy designed their beds to be used as chairs. “We know that people won’t sit on the chair in the room,” he said. “They sit on the bed to answer the phone. They sit on the bed to put their shoes on. We build that into the integrity of the product to make sure the edge support of the product is very high quality.” So how often do beds need to be replaced? “A replacement cycle in a hotel can vary depending on the occupancy rate,” Raiteri said. “It also depends on how well they are maintained. We use five to seven years as a benchmark but I have seen some commercial beds go in excess of seven years. “Sealy uses a no turn, no flip technology, but it still needs to be rotated from end to end from time to time so it allows the bed to wear evenly… it is very similar to rotating the tyres on your car.” He said legs and casters need tightening from time to time. “They don’t come loose very often but in certain circumstances they can wear free so they need to be tightened,” he said. Raiteri said Sealy was also Australian made, with the springs from honest carbon BlueScope Steel shaped in the company’s Brisbane plant. “Others are claiming to be Australian made but the actual components come from overseas,” he said. “We export from Australia to the South Pacific and we have sent product into Asia as well. “We have been in Australia making Sealy under licence since the 1960s and we have been making beds for over 60 years,” he said. Sealy, which employs over 500 people nationally, also has the nation’s largest test facility. “Every product must pass minimum performance criteria before we allow it to wear the Sealy brand,” Raiteri said. And he said all of the hotels Sealy supplies to run bed purchase programs. “So guests can buy the bed they slept on the night before, which is a great vote of confidence,” he said. Accommodation giant Accor, meanwhile, says it is not just about the perfect mattress, but the little extras which are essential for a superior night’s sleep. One of the key components was the mattress topper, said Accor‘s Peter Hook. “It’s an extra layer of luxury,” Hook said. Sofitel’s signature MyBed has a goose down mattress topper that you gradually settle into. It seems to take about five minutes to float down and make contact with the mattress, by which time, naturally, you are sound asleep.

MyBed has been incorporated as a Sofitel signature feature across the brand’s range of worldwide hotels, including the Pacific region Sofitel properties in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Fiji and Queenstown. Sofitel’s Rebecca Freestun said surveys had shown that hotel guests, regardless of the brand they choose, were still relatively unsatisfied when it came to the bed they slept in at their hotel away from home. “This is why Sofitel has decided to refocus on the essence of its business – sleep – while also enabling it to honour Sofitel’s commitment to bringing its unique ‘art de vivre à la Française’ (French art of living) to its hotels around the world,” she said. MyBed marks a break with ubiquitous style trends right from the first glance - no more low, thin futon-like mattresses. “This is a grand return to a bed that would make our grandmothers proud: raised high, immaculate and plumped up with welcoming feathers,” she said. “Creating MyBed meant identifying the latest technology, review-

Emporium Hotel Brisbane features Sealy beds

“We have the majority of the 4- and 5-star brands nationally and when guests check out of these hotels they are telling staff they had a great night’s sleep and hotels take a lot of notice of that kind of feedback,”
ANTONY RAITERI, National Commercial Accounts Manager, Sealy

ing surveys and studies by top specialists and testing scores of materials. More than simply a new bed, MyBed ushers in a whole new concept in rest, with a guarantee of plush softness that has never before been experienced,” Freestun said. To design MyBed, Sofitel “retro-engineered” each detail in a traditional bed. The first decision was to get rid of both the bedspread and blankets, replacing them with a down-filled comforter which is infinitely more hygienic, as it has been specially treated to resist dust and stains. “Sofitel also wanted MyBed to have a generous size, both very long and very wide – with the idea that people are in fact bigger than in the past – and also very high, making it easier to get in and out of bed,”she said. “Sofitel set out to choose the best possible mattress and box spring. Created exclusively for Sofitel, both are extra-thick, because that is one of the secrets of quality sleep. Between the mattress and the comforter, Sofitel also addressed an all-important component, a down featherbed, taking softness to another dimension. And, for the ultimate in comfort, Sofitel decided that MyBed would have four over-sized pillows,” Freestun said. But Hook said a 5-star sleep experience doesn’t necessarily have to be in a 5-star hotel.
hotel & accommodation management 45

roomsDivision

Mixing work and pleasure at Pullman Hotels

“All of Accor’s brands offer quality bedding, but there are extras added for the upscale hotel brands which enhance the bedding and comfort,” Hook said. “The Sofitel MyBed is the ultimate in hotel bedding luxury, but business travellers are assured of a good night’s sleep at Pullman hotels with the brand’s specially designed bedding,” he said. Likewise, Novotel and Mercure guests staying for leisure or business were provided with the same restful sleep they enjoy in their own home, he said. “Even the economy style brands, All Seasons and Ibis, which have a philosophy of providing affordable comfort and service, ensure bedding requirements are met with the highest of standards,” he said. Hook said Accor uses Dunlop’s Sleepmaker range because they have a selection that covers all brand standards and requirements. “They also adhere to Australian Standards including being 100% cotton and fire retardant treated,” he said. “Research shows that above and beyond room service and flurry bathrobes, the thing that matters most to hotel guests is a good night’s sleep. “Guests that stay at Accor hotels can be travelling for work or pleasure so it is important that the sleep they get is the best possible,”he said. Westin have also developed their own bed and were the first to do so, with the Westin Heavenly Bed, said Starwood spokesperson Laura Kelly. “The importance of beds to hotel guests are found in the Westin Heavenly bed survey,” she said. “There is now a huge range in the Westin Heavenly bed products from linen, pillows, through to dog beds. You can purchase a Westin Heavenly Bed at any Westin Hotel.” The new Westin online store features an Interactive Retail Concierge to assist with purchases, tips on making the Heavenly Bed, product suggestions based on recent purchases, and easy one-click shopping. Visitors can purchase the iconic 10-layer Heavenly—including box spring, 13-inch pillow-top mattress, sheets, blankets, and variety of pillows—all in one click. In addition to the new products joining the Heavenly family, shoppers can also find the brand’s beloved classic Heavenly products including signature White Tea candles and oil diffusers, the Heavenly Rollaway Bed, and Brazilian combed cotton towels and bath sheets.
46 hotel & accommodation management

“Westin jump-started the hotel-retail phenomenon in 2000 following tremendous guest feedback to the launch of the now-iconic Heavenly Bed,” Kelly said. “More than 35 guests called within the first week, asking how they could bring the fluffy, all-white bed home; the Heavenly Bed has been Westin’s hottest seller ever since. Westin has sold more than 30,000 Heavenly Beds online and through its partnership with Nordstrom; in fact, beds account for 95% of online sales,” she said. Jackie Porter, Resident Manager at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Hotel said beds were crucial for guest comfort and the perfect night’s sleep. “After Marriott rolled out our new ‘Revive’ bedding package globally in 2005 the Guest Satisfaction Surveys increased dramatically in relation to the beds and guests sleeping experience,’’ Porter said. The Surfers Paradise Marriott and the Brisbane Marriott use Dunlop and Sealy beds. Marriott spokeswoman Laura Spiers said the group continued to receive phenomenal feedback on the ‘Revive’ bedding worldwide, so much so that they set up www.Shopmarriott.com to sell the bedding items. “In Australia the bedding can be purchased in most hotels (however, there may be a waiting period at some hotels),” she said. One-on-one training is important to ensure the beds are perfect for the guests. “The beds look so inviting that the staff/associates want to jump back into the bed as they look so comfortable,” said Kathleen Counsel, Executive Housekeeper at the Brisbane Marriott Hotel. “The bed is the focus point when a guest walks in so we want to ensure they are perfect. That is why our training places so much importance on this,” said Counsel. “We also have a program called Make Ready Team – this is when our teams go into our rooms and strip back a minimum of four times a year completely steam cleaning every detail of the bed including mattress, base and bed-head, carpets and furnishings to ensure complete cleanliness, hygiene and to ensure that they are as allergy free as possible,”she said. The doonas and special Marriott toppers are dry cleaned and protected, and staff perform random audits to ensure bedding and rooms adhere to the hotel’s rigorous standards.

guest comfort & return business
A Sealy® Posturepedic® bed is what your customers expect! Give your guests the comfort and support they choose for their home. Seal your future business.

An investment in

is your guests choice
Sealy -the bedding brand preferred by more Australian consumers* -provides the comfort they love and support they trust.
*Quantum Research March 2006

When you buy bedding, give your customers the quality and feel they prefer Sealy Posturepedic is your investment in return business and happy guests.
For more information on the Sealy Posturepedic range of low maintenance commercial bedding call us today. Our Commercial Division can help you find the perfect solution for your property.

Commercial has the solution

Call us today at Sealy!

NSW: (02) 9604 0044, VIC /TAS: (03) 9553 0855, QLD / NT: (07) 3331 5200, WA: (08) 9277 2977, SA: (08) 8252 4555

View the Sealy range at www.sealy.com.au

globalRePoRt

banGKoK’s HIP SIDE
accoR’s m GaLLeRY bRand is conTinuinG To GRoW RaPidLY aRound The WoRLd and a sTaRRinG PRoPeRTY is The Vie hoTeL banGKoK, Led bY GeneRaL manaGeR RemKo KRoesen.
WORDS JAMES WILKINSON IN BANGKOK

f

ollowing the anti-Government protests in April, Bangkok continues to be a tough market for the hotel industry, with international tourism confidence well down from where it was twelve months earlier. Compounding the problem for the Thai capital has been the global financial crisis, along with the imminent opening of more 5-star hotels in the country’s largest city. However, things are starting to look up and new properties, such as the VIE Hotel, which opened in January 2009, are in a position to pick up a substantial amount of business thanks to location and high quality of accommodation on offer. VIE Hotel Bangkok General Manager Remko Kroesen, a man well known to the Australian accommodation industry thanks to his 15 years in the country, said while the market remains challenging, there are positive signs for the twelve months ahead.

VIE Hotel Bangkok (and above)

“Today, we are out-performing many more established hotels in Bangkok, though competition in the city is intense and it will become even more competitive with a never ending line of new, quality hotels set to open.”
REMKO KROESEN, General Manager, VIE Hotel Bangkok

“Bangkok is currently an extremely tough market with corporate and conference business still significantly down compared to previous years,” he told HM. “Global economic recovery is going to be crucial to Bangkok and Thailand’s tourism recovery, though the city has made serious gains in the past six months with leisure travel from shorter-haul destinations such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and to a certain extent China. “After the instability of earlier this year, TAT (Tourism Authority of Thailand) has been successful with its promotional campaigns and, of course, Thailand has never been more affordable for markets such as Europe and Australia, whose currencies have grown dramatically against the Thai baht. “All in all, despite the challenges, Bangkok remains in a strong position to win tourism trade,” he said. Kroesen said the hotel itself was now performing well, following the issues that compounded the hotel in the first four months of the year. “Opening any hotel at a time when external factors are as serious as the global economic crisis will always prove a challenge, but having said that, our performance has been improving throughout 2009, as both the hotel and its location become better known. “Today, we are out-performing many more established hotels in Bangkok, though competition in the city is intense and it will become even more competitive with a never ending line of new, quality hotels set to open. “Still,VIE has certainly established itself pretty quickly and will remain a serious competitor to other branded properties in the city,”he said. VIE Hotel Bangkok is a member of Accor’s fast-growing MGallery brand and Kroesen said that association is helping the hotel pick-up
48 hotel & accommodation management

business that otherwise would have been non-existent, had the hotel remained a stand-alone property. “Behind the hotel name is Accor’s strong sales, marketing, distribution and operational structure,” he said. “There is a genuine desire by travellers to have a more intimate experience of the destination and MGallery allows the hotel to come to the fore. “The MGallery label also gives us such flexibility to manoeuvre quickly and offer tailor made services and products to our markets, which more standardised brands can’t do,” Kroesen said. The 254-room VIE Hotel Bangkok opened at the beginning of 2009 as the first designer boutique in the MGallery network and it remains one of the finest in the collection. With a central location just off Sukhumvit Road, the VIE Hotel is winning over both business and leisure travellers. The property is within close proximity to Bangkok’s major shopping district, while also being just one BTS station away from the new Suvarnabhumi Airport train link. Kroesen said they are just a few of the reasons why the VIE Hotel is winning over the Australian market in particular. “Over 2009, Australia has become one of our principal markets, with the high Australian dollar allowing travellers to secure 5-star service and facilities at rates almost 30% lower (in terms of Australian dollars) than when the hotel opened at the start of 2009,” he said. “From our customer feedback, VIE appears to suit the Australian market very well due to its proximity to all major points of interest and the product itself,” Kroesen said. Thai Airways flies to Bangkok from Auckland, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney. Direct services to Brisbane commenced in October, the same time as the airline re-introduced Royal First Class on the Sydney route. For bookings and more information, visit www.thaiairways.com.au

travelfoRuM

UNITED
WORDS JAMES WILKINSON

in hiGh demand
WhiLe 2009 has been a chaLLenGinG YeaR foR aiRLines fLYinG TRans-Pacific, The head of uniTed’s ausTRaLian oPeRaTions is confidenT of a sTRonG 2010.

The new business class on United Airlines

rom two airlines to four and airfares cut in half – 2009 sure has been an interesting year for carriers flying the 14-hour hop across the Pacific Ocean between Australia and the West Coast of the United States. At the beginning of 2009, only Qantas and United were flying between Sydney and Los Angeles and airfares were hovering around the AUD$2000 mark. By mid-year, airfares had dropped to around AUD$900 including taxes and two new entrants, Delta and V Australia, had commenced services. While it’s been a year of great deals, high loads and lower yields, stability and demand is returning to a route that desperately needs it. United Airlines General Manager, Australia and New Zealand, Alison Espley, said the airline is finding demand on both sides of the Pacific, in a sign that the inbound American market could bounce back for 2010. “Demand has been strong from inbound and outbound points of sale,” she told HM. “It’s been a year of high load factors driven by extremely competitive fares which have reduced average yields. “Whilst corporate travel is still down, demand has picked up in the last few months (and) loads have shown significant increases year over year,” she said. Espley is confident that the next twelve months will remain strong for United, particularly thanks to the airline’s competitive prices on offer in the market. “Forward bookings suggest that demand will continue to be strong,” she said.“We have compelling fare offers already in the market for 2010 and together with the strong Australian dollar there has never been a better time to travel to the U.S. “We also believe that corporate travel will continue to improve throughout 2010,” Espley said. The best value cabin on the Sydney-Los Angeles and San Francisco routes during 2009 was business class, with prices less than half of those on sale in 2008. For United, the year has meant a fall in business class airfares, but not a downgrade in quality. United has upgraded

f

its on-board product, with the airline’s new, 180-degree flat beds now available on all flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Sydney. Espley said the feedback from customers had been strong and that has no doubt led to increased demand – which at the end of the day results in increased load factors. “We have been consistently operating our upgraded onboard product for nearly a year and our customers love it,” she said.“The business class offering includes 180 degree lie flat beds, over 150 hours of audio and a 15 inch TV monitor which guests can start watching from the moment they reach their seat. With V Australia launching with flat-beds and Qantas offering fully-flat Skybeds on its A380s, an upgrade in product is something United had to do, but the airline has done it well. The service, food and entertainment is comparable to what the rival airlines offer and direct connections upon arrival to over 50 cities from Los Angeles and San Francisco means the airline offers a seamless flying experience. Espley said the airline would be looking to grow all market segments across every cabin in 2010, particularly the MICE market, which looks at both business and economy classes for incentive travelers and conference delegates.

“Whilst corporate travel is still down, demand has picked up in the last few months (and) loads have shown significant increases year-over-year.”
ALISON ESPLEY, General Manager Australia and New Zealand, United Airlines

“The MICE market is indeed an area of the business which we are looking to grow at United,”she said.“We are actively outreached to this market and will be participating in AIME in March 2010 together with our colleagues from the Las Vegas Tourism. “Group and MICE business has tended to come in later than in previous years, no doubt as a result of the economic uncertainty. Interest remains high and as confidence returns the U.S. will definitely be a great option for this market sector. “With highly competitive economy and business class fares, coupled with the availability of great hotel deals, not to mention the variety of destinations on offer, now is undoubtedly a great time to consider the U.S. for the MICE market,” she said. United flies daily to Los Angeles and San Francisco from Sydney and daily to Los Angeles from Melbourne via Sydney. Visit www.unitedairlines.com.au
hotel & accommodation management 49

theinsiDeR

FRASER SUITES

1

sYdneY
hm sTePs inside fRaseR suiTes sYdneY, WinneR of seRViced aPaRTmenT PRoPeRTY of The YeaR aT The 2009 HM AWARdS.
PHOTOGRAPHY ANDREW JARVIE

FRASER SUITES SYDNEY GENERAL FEATURES
Hotel Owner: frasers hospitality Pte Ltd Hotel Manager: Leah feldmann Interior Design by: RLd Interior fit-out: RLd PMS: hotel information systems (his) POS: micros Audio Visual installation: space age communications Laundry systems by: LG Kitchen equipment: smeG
50 hotel & accommodation management

theinsiDeR HOTEL ROOM
1 Samsung TV 2 Bose surround-sound system* 3 in-room entertainment system by Samsung 4 internet provided by AAPT* 5 furniture by Custom Design 6 door locking system by Seaflock* 7 Telephone system by 3D Networks* 8 alarm clock by Avanti* 9 safe by Chubb* 10 King-size bed by Dunlop 11 sheets by Tropicot 12 Pillows by Tontine 13 minibar by various suppliers* 14 bathroom amenities by Molton Brown* 15 Towels by Combed Cotton* 16 interior design and fit-out by RLD
*NOT IN PICTURE

11

10

12

16

1 3

5
hotel & accommodation management 51

buyersGuiDe

HOT PRoducTs

HM PRofiLes hoT PRoducTs foR hoTeLs.

Winterhalter UC dishwashers
comcater has released a new range of Winterhalter uc under-counter glasswashers. choose the size of machine that’s best for the job and right for the amount of space available: s, m, L or XL. The larger machines can accommodate large pieces, such as trays, tins and platters. This is where using a uc-XL with an extra deep interior pays off. it can wash tins, trays and platters faster, more economically and more hygienically. Tel: +61 (0) 2 9748 3000 www.comcater.com.au

Upgrade Vingcard door locks
upgrading from classic by Vingcard magnetic stripe or combo technology to Rfid technology is easily done by adding the classic Rfid reader. all in all, it is a 3-5 minute operation to make the change, which means no disturbance or inconvenience for guests staying in house. no drilling is required and there is no need to replace the lockcase or handles. Tel: 1300 796 233 (within Australia) www.vingcard.com

Onity AllWeather Lock
The onity all-Weather Lock was designed to withstand extreme environmental conditions and is compatible with any of the onity electronic Locking systems. Resistant to the humidity and salinity of coastal environments, as well as sand, dust, heat, cold, rain and snow, this specially designed lock incorporates a unique finish and can operate in a full range of temperatures. onity all-Weather Locks are designed to meet the challenge of any environment, no matter how hot, cold, or wet it gets. Tel: +61 (0)406 715 253 (Geoff Sherrard) www.onity.com

Frenkel Marathon Towels
The marathon Towel Range is revolutionising the commercial towel. This is due to their unique knitted construction. The loops in the 100% combed cotton pile are totally ‘snag proof’ where loops will not pull out. The unique knitting production process prevents the side hems from fraying or bursting. shrinkage is controlled at a maximum of 8% in both the body and header of the towel. marathon Towels are cost effective and are guaranteed to last twice as long as any other commercial towel. Tel: +61 (0)2 9317 3166 www.frenkeltextiles.com.au

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hotel & accommodation management

inbrief
ADELAIDE chris ehmann, General manager of hilton adelaide, has announced that cheong Liew, The Grange restaurant’s celebrated chef has informed hilton of his intention to retire from full-time restaurant operations to focus on other opportunities. as a result, The Grange restaurant will be closing at the end of december 2009. ehmann said the decision to close the restaurant, because of cheong’s retirement, after 14 years was a difficult one: “The Grange with cheong at the helm has been one of adelaide’s most awarded and popular restaurants. cheong is one of australia’s best chefs and we are sad to be losing his creativity and expertise,” he said. The Grange will finish regular trading on saturday december 19 2009 and cheong will be hosting a special new Year’s eve event at the restaurant. MELBOURNE Grand hyatt melbourne has unveiled its culinary offerings for the upcoming festive season. festive lunch menus will be available from december 7-24 in collins Kitchen, where guests can sample the innovative authentic cuisines that include dishes from the sushi, Grill, Wood oven and Patisserie kitchens while celebrating with friends, family or colleagues. The sharing menus are perfect for groups, with a set price, and a choice of two menus, priced at aud$68 and aud$88 per person. dishes include sydney rock oysters with vodka and cranberry granita, air dried Wagyu with rocked salad and shaved truffle, rolled turkey breast stuffed with panetone and italian sausage, honey glazed ham, and a selection of decadent desserts including traditional christmas pudding. banquets and other events are also being held on christmas day and new Year’s eve across the hotel. SYDNEY celebrated sydney restaurateur Tony bilson has launched cuisine noW, a celebration of contemporary cuisine by seven australian and french master chef/restaurateurs, and of the theatre and finesse of gastronomy. beginning on January 11, 2010 for two weeks, this heady, marvelous michelin star entertainment offers unprecedented public access to culinary maestros. cuisine noW is running in the summer holiday period concurrently with the sydney festival, adding a new dimension to January’s entertainment calendar. it has three tiers involving leading city hotels, the Radisson Plaza hotel sydney and the shangri-La hotel sydney, and the polished new events space, doltone house darling island Wharf in Pyrmont. The australian gastronomic performers are Tony bilson (bilson’s Restaurant) cheong Liew (formerly of The Grange, hilton adelaide), Philippe mouchel (The brasserie, south bank, melbourne) and Tetsuya Wakuda (Tetsuya’s sydney). from europe are nicolas le bec (Restaurant nicolas Le bec, Lyon,) michel Roux, (The Waterside inn, bray, england) and Reine sammut (auberge La fenière, Lourmarin, france).
FOODSERVICE sYdneY

food&beveRaGe

Novotel’s organic push
The organic food sector is Nici Andronicus of Organicus, kylie kwong, and Lorraine now the fastest growing area Mercuri, GM of Novotel Darling Harbour in food trade, with sustained rates of growth between 10% and 30% around the world. The organic industry is emerging from a niche into a valuable multi-billion dollar market and while many restaurants are now getting on board this trend, not many hoteliers have embraced the organic ideal because of the higher cost associated with organic food. But one hotel brand, Novotel, is increasingly using organic food, in keeping with its ‘Designed for Natural Living’ Kylie Kwong, whose restaurant Billy Kwong brand promise. is carbon-neutral and uses only organic foods, Novotel hotels across Australia have was a special ambassador for the launch and launched a new, healthier breakfast offering commended Novotel on their efforts to prothat includes an innovative selection of organmote organic foods. ic, gluten-free and low-GI menu items, with a “Our aim is to leave as small and light an focus on the best possible fresh, healthy proenvironmental footprint as possible, to give duce and organic menu items are increasingly back to the community wherever we can and making their way onto menus for lunch and to think globally and act locally,”Kwong says. dinner as well. The Australian Standard for organic products As a minimum standard all Novotel breakwill help to ensure consumers of truth in labelfast buffets must now include organic options ling for organic products and will identify only such as organic banana bread, organic fruit comorganic produce that meets strict guidelines. potes, organic toasted muesli and organic jams. Former pentathlete, Nici Andronicus, whose Karen Sainsbury, General Manager of company produces the Organicus line of orNovotel Manly Pacific and Director of Novotel’s ganic products including mueslis, banana bread F&B Committee says she believes the trend toand jams which she supplies to Novotel, highwards organic produce is only going to increase. lighted the importance of using organic foods “Our guests are well aware of the environto ensure the future health of both the people mental impact their traveling has and are seekeating it and the planet. ing ways to reduce their environmental foot“Organic food is not only healthy for the print, but more importantly they are also seeking people consuming it but more importantly is a return to a healthier, simpler lifestyle in terms the best choice for the future health of our planof their food choices,” she says. “Our guests are et,”she says. telling us they want the option of organic food The Australian organic industry is worth and so we are listening to their demands and foover $600 million in retail and if we add the cusing more and more on organic food. related flow on-industries such as the compost “With the Novotel’s shift towards a natural industry that is worth over $400 million it is easy living focus we now offer clean, fresh organic to see that this industry is worth over a billion foods that meet the expectations of today’s condollars to the Australian economy. sumer, who is attuned to the health benefits Market information from the USA, Europe of pesticide-free food and is seeking to reduce and Australia is showing an increase in sales their food miles. of fresh and staple organic produce. Global “We are increasingly seeking local suppliers demand for organic foods is expected to grow for our produce and focusing on smaller, organby 46% over the coming five years despite the ic producers who can supply us with the best world economic crisis, according to an outlook seasonal produce,”she says. from the United Nations Trade and DevelopIn recognition of Novotel’s commitment to ment Agency (UNCTAD). organic produce, the hotel brand was chosen World sales from certified organic products as the launch pad for the new Trust Organic are expected to reach US$67 billion in 2012, up campaign recently and the launch of new Ausfrom US$46 billion in 2007 and about US$23 tralian Standards for the organic and biodybillion in 2002. namic food industry.
hotel & accommodation management 53

hotel sChools

A HOSTEC PROMOTION

Hostec students, dressed by Farage at the 2009 HM Awards

HOSTEC: beTTeR PeoPLe dRiVinG beTTeR ResuLTs
oVeR The PasT TWeLVe YeaRs hosTec has eVoLVed To become a maRKeT LeadinG PRoVideR of hiGh QuaLiTY educaTion, TRaininG and RecRuiTmenT seRVices To The TouRism, hosPiTaLiTY and seRVice indusTRies.
oday, Hostec connects with these industries globally providing services to assist world-leading organisations with their executive recruitment and learning and development needs. Hostec founders Ian Wilson and Raman Nambiar, have always been strongly committed to the industry and the development of its people. It has always been their belief that by providing a 360 degree people solution, they are in turn helping to build the profile of the industry and its people. The Hostec business model has grown to accommodate the needs of what is a fast paced and dynamic industry. The company, from its early roots of vocational training and recruitment solutions has evolved to offer a unique higher education platform for students looking to pursue a serious career in hospitality. The launch of Hostec’s International Academy two years ago has been an absolute success and Hostec is now recognised as the fastest growing hospitality educator in the country. One of the Academy’s unique points of difference with the launch of their Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane campuses has been to base the Academies in four and five star hotel brands (InterContinental Melbourne, Sydney Marriott Hotel, Crowne Plaza Coogee, Sebel Citigate
54 hotel & accommodation management

T

Brisbane & Sydney Tower Restaurant) giving students a true insight into the inner workings of the hospitality industry. Hostec students take part in a dedicated Industry Engagement program, giving them invaluable real life work experience and the employer the opportunity to nurture future talent for their organisation. Hostec continues to maintain a strong profile in the vocational training arena, offering a broad range of mandatory programs allowing people to upskill and gain employment in our industries hotels, pubs, clubs and restaurants. The company also offers tailored training programs for individual organisations looking for leadership and development and cultural programs for the continued improvement of their workforces. The Hostec business model focuses on the connection between helping the industry identify, develop, and retain the best people in the business. It is also committed to attracting and developing new recruits and helping them to understand and experience the amazing scope of opportunity available to them with a career in the tourism and hospitality industry. Better People for your Business means Better People for our Industry. Visit www.hostec.com.au

A LE CORDON BLEU AUSTRALIA PROMOTION

hotel sChools

EDUCATION eXceLLence
Le coRdon bLeu ausTRaLia offeRs inTensiVe inTeRnaTionaL PRoGRams foR sTudenTs To Gain TheiR bacheLoR and masTeR deGRees in inTeRnaTionaL hoTeL and ResTauRanT manaGemenT and VocaTionaL couRses in The cuLinaRY aRTs.
e Cordon Bleu Australia is part of the world-renowned school in Paris which was founded in 1895. Today, Le Cordon Bleu has a presence in some 20 countries with more than 30 international schools attended by 20,000 students annually. HOSPITALITY MANAGEMENT All awards offer the perfect mix of academic and practical training to ensure their graduates achieve success in their chosen career. Combining all the essential elements of traditional business degrees, the Le Cordon Bleu business degrees are cemented with specialised knowledge and skills required to reach the top professionally in the hospitality and tourism arenas. Graduates are armed with the specific tools, confidence and preparation to succeed in a variety of middle and upper management roles within these challenging and growing industries. The three year Bachelor degree also incorporates one year worth of Professional Experience where students are given the opportunity to go into the workforce and put their training into practice in the real world. The two six month blocks of Professional Experience can be done around Australia, New Zealand or the rest of the world depending on the students ambitions and positions available. CULINARY ARTS Le Cordon Bleu Sydney Culinary Arts Institute offers intensive training programs in both Cuisine and Pâtisserie for those aspiring to become a chef. The culinary arts programs conducted at the Sydney Culinary Arts
Higher education: students at Le Cordon Bleu Australia

L

Institute bring together all the critical elements of mastering the principles, theory and techniques of classical French cuisine. The Culinary programs offer the flexibility of four intakes a year January, April, July and October. The Le Cordon Bleu Classic Cycle teaches students in approximately nine months as students advance through Basic, Intermediate and Superior levels in Cuisine or Pâtisserie. These are progressively structured courses that provide Le Cordon Bleu students with the skills they need to apply French culinary techniques to any cuisine. Also incorporated within the Classic Cycle are the Australian Government qualifications. After completing the Classic Cycle a six-month work placement is completed to gain the Certificate III in Commercial Cookery. The Advanced Diploma of Hospitality builds on from the successful completion of the Le Cordon Bleu Diplome program. Over one year of academic studies this program offers the fundamentals of front line management, allowing students to enter into the industry and apply their practical and theoretical knowledge as a Chef. Unprecedented industry demand for skilled practitioners in the hospitality industry has now been satisfied with these key management qualifications. So, if you have interest in being involved in the booming hospitality industry and envisage your self as a General Manger of an International Hotel, or if you would like to become a world renowned chef, please let us tell you how Le Cordon Bleu can make these goals a reality. For more information on Le Cordon Bleu Australia, call +61 (0)8 8346 3700 and visit www.lecordonbleu.com.au

Le cordon bleu australia

hotel & accommodation management 55

humanResouRces
HOTEL SCHOOLS sYdneY

Hostec Academies expand across Australia
Two years after opening its doors in Sydney in 2007, Hostec is has announced that its fast-growing Academy will launch two new campuses in Brisbane and Melbourne. Hostec Director Ian Wilson says: “Through our relationship with Eureka and the Crowne Plaza Coogee Bay, we are opening our first Melbourne campus in the Rialto restaurant at The InterContinental. Similarly, through our relationship with Mirvac, we are celebrating the opening of our first Queensland campus at the Sebel Citigate Brisbane.” Hostec started in 2007 with 23 international commercial cookery students from Nepal and Thailand. Today it has a total of 800 students from 35 countries enrolled across four campuses. Wilson says, “The key to our success has been industry placement. All of our students must spend at least nine months working in the industry during their course meaning that they graduate with real, hands-on experience. “Due to the nature of our campuses and our hands-on approach to learning, it is important that we align ourselves with campuses that offer the right learning environment, as well as the leading hotel brands that benchmark the industry,”Wilson says. “We work side by side with our international hotel partners to place students throughout their operations. Within 12 weeks of course commencement, 30 per cent of our students are working in within the industry and to date, all of our graduates have gained paid employment.” Due to overwhelming demand, Hostec has introduced an Advanced Diploma add on to its enormously popular Certificate III in Hospitality and Diploma of Hospitality. “In our quest to be the industry’s partner of choice, we are constantly looking at ways to enhance our courses, develop our students and provide the industry with better people,” Wilson says.“As an industry leader we have recently gained recognition from several Australian Universities that will allow our students to seamlessly continue to degree level.” For more information on the Hostec Academies, visit www.hostec.com.au

Stars of the show: Hostec Academy students at the 2009 HM Awards, dressed in Farage

HOTEL SCHOOLS meLbouRne

Hyatt launches national hospitality school
In a special ceremony with Federal Tourism Minister Martin Ferguson, Australia’s Hyatt hotels have launched the Pacific School of Hospitality (PSOH). Showing a continued dedication to employee training and customer service, participating Hyatt hotels in Australia including Grand Hyatt Melbourne, Hyatt Hotel Canberra, Hyatt Regency Coolum, Hyatt Regency Perth, Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove, Park Hyatt Melbourne and Park Hyatt Sydney have launched the PSOH, which provides associates working in these hotels with continuous workplace learning. The curriculum of PSOH includes training and development courses and
56 hotel & accommodation management

also allows hotel staff to complete a Certificate III or IV in Hospitality while working at participating Hyatt hotels. Most hospitality employers in the country recognize the training certificate. The program is a joint initiative of Hyatt hotels in Australia, award winning HR and training specialists Mint Group and both Federal and State Governments. Mint Group Director, Tony Fritsche, said: “We welcome the opportunity to have input on such a valuable training tool. Training in the current economy makes good business sense. The Hyatt hotels participating in this new programme will not only be improving the skills of their staff, but also invest-

ing in something that promotes career development, retention and productivity.” Area Director of Human Resources for Hyatt hotels in Australia, Andrew Nodding, said: “The development and implementation of the PSOH has been a total hotel initiative, with a team of training specialists working tirelessly to prepare specialized training material.” “Through the new programme, hotel associates will receive a wealth of experience and knowledge enabling them to perform their job with confidence and skill. Each associate will have a personalised learning syllabus customised to suit their individual requirements,” Nodding said.

Ross Willis

onthemove PeoPLe

people

Peppers has bolstered its leadership team in Tropical north Queensland with two key staff appointments. JENNIFER ISAAC has been appointed General manager of Peppers beach club, Port douglas and MICHAEL BROOKS has been appointed General manager of Peppers balé, JB Port douglas, with both bringing outstanding backgrounds in property management to their respective positions. brooks brings a proven track record in managing high-end hospitality product to his position, having been General manager of Palazzo Versace on the Gold coast and also General manager of strata title cruise liner, The World. down south, BELINDA CROUDIS has been promoted from front office manager to hotel manager at luxury Tasmanian hotel Peppers seaport. croudis brings extensive local knowledge to the top job having worked for some of Launceston’s leading hotels in addition to holding senior positions with Rydges and the mantra Group in new Zealand. still within the organization, mantra Group, has announced a number of key appointments in new south Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. experienced hospitality professional LISA KNOWLSON has taken the position of General manager at award winning coffs harbour property breakfree aanuka beach Resort. in other staff movements, JEFFREY BRANCH has been appointed General manager of mantra erskine beach Resort, Lorne, Victoria. most recently branch was managing his own Vanuatu property and has also worked with mirvac as General manager of citigate sebel The entrance, sea Temple Palm cove and sebel Vanuatu. Rendezvous hospitality Group (RhG) has announced its new senior management team which will support the recently appointed ceo, IQBAL JUMABHOY in implementing the new corporate direction of the hotel Group at all levels of business. The senior management team, MM which will be based at corporate headquarters in singapore by early 2010 includes: SEAN FLYNN as executive Vice President of operations. flynn will oversee the operations of all hotels in the Group as well as pre-opening, operational training, and purchasing activities; EDDY TAN as chief financial officer. Tan joined RhG in september 2009 and is responsible for the finance, tax, and treasury PS functions of the Group; WOOLSEY MCKERNON as senior Vice President of Property. mcKernon will be responsible for managing all real estate-related projects within RhG, including owned, leased and managed properties, ensuring that the brand and operational requirements are translated into the physical product; MICHAEL MEADE as senior GJ Vice President of sales and marketing. coming from a similar role with the former Rhi for the past two years, meade will be responsible for driving brand development, sales, distribution and promotion for the Group; PATRICK SHEEHAN as senior Vice President of human Resources. sheehan will oversee the selection and development of the Group’s people, innovative learning and talent management strategies as well as the growth of RhG’s dynamic corporate culture; TIM ETHERIDGE as senior Vice President information Technology. etheridge will oversee the full spectrum of information services delivery across the Group, including data centres, application vendors and distribution technologies; SUDARSHAN DHURU as Regional finance controller. dhuru will oversee controlling, consolidation, management reporting, planning and tax structuring for RhG; PETER TUNG as Vice President Pre-opening. Tung has over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry and has held senior appointments with international 5-star hotels and serviced apartments in china, Vietnam, Thailand, malaysia and singapore; and GEOFFREY JOHNSTONE as Regional Vice President of operations, australia and new Zealand. Johnstone will oversee the operations of all hotels in the region while maintaining his role as General manager of Rendezvous hotel melbourne. french-born DANIEL TOURANCHEAU has been appointed executive chef at market square Restaurant at The sebel Launceston.

Graham Wilson replaces retiring Ray Stone at Accor
Graham Wilson

Ray Stone is retiring as Senior Vice President Sales and Marketing of Accor Asia Pacific after 13 years in senior executive roles for the company. His role will be taken over at the start of 2010 by Graham Wilson, currently Vice President Marketing for Accor Asia Pacific. Stone will continue his involvement with Accor in 2010 as Senior Advisor, where he will be responsible for major partnerships and Accor’s involvement in trade shows. Stone has had an extensive career in the hotel industry. He commenced with Accor in 1996 as General Manager Sales and Marketing for the Pacific region and assumed his current role in 2003. Chairman and COO Asia-Pacific Michael Issenberg said Stone had made a substantial contribution to Accor during his 13 years. “Ray’s contribution has been invaluable in establishing Accor as the pre-eminent hotel company in Asia Pacific,” he said. “We are very pleased that his experience and knowledge will be available to us in 2010, as he takes on a consultancy role as Senior Advisor. He has worked extensively with Graham Wilson over the past decade and this will ensure a smooth and seamless transition. “In his consultancy role he will concentrate on key partnerships as well as Accor’s involvement in trade shows and World of Accor, which he pioneered so successfully for the company. “Graham Wilson brings a wealth of experience and initiative to the position of Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing - Asia Pacific. Graham has been with Accor Asia Pacific since it was founded in 1993, and he is well known for his success initially as Director of Sales and Marketing for the Pacific and more recently as Vice President Marketing for Asia Pacific. “We have a very substantial expansion programme taking place throughout the Asia Pacific region, with particular emphasis on growing the network in China, India, Vietnam and Australia. This has involved introducing new brands, new loyalty programmes and new distribution channels, all designed to build Accor’s position for the long-term. While there remain short-term economic concerns in the region, the overall future of the region’s tourism and hospitality industry looks very encouraging. “I would like to thank Ray for his contribution to the company and wish Graham all the best in his new and pivotal role in further building Accor’s position in the Asia Pacific region,” Issenberg said.
hotel & accommodation management 57

stopPRess
OPENINGS TauPo

inbrief
DAYLESFORD award-winning Victorian property, Peppers springs Retreat & spa, has raised the bar for guests craving healthy and enjoyable choices with the introduction of organic mini bars in its rooms. The hepburn springs property has announced the rollout of the all-organic mini bars as part of its commitment to establishing Peppers springs Retreat & spa as Victoria’s premier health and wellbeing retreat. utilising local organic produce suppliers as much as possible, highlights of the mini bar selection include 100% australian owned Thomas chipman chips made from local potatoes; Loving earth organic and wild crafted foods such as dark chocolate; absolute organic produce including beetroot and sweet potato chips; treats from essential Living foods, a farm-to-table sustainable business based in nearby Yandoit; premium Jasper coffee produced by a 100% carbon neutral melbourne business and premium handcrafted certified organic wines from captain creek Winery. Guests can also purchase an organic mini bar gift set to take home. DUNK ISLAND The recent acquisition of world heritage listed dunk island by hideaway Resorts marks the beginning of a new era for the popular australian island paradise. already a perennial favourite with sun seekers and holidaymakers, dunk island is set to re-establish itself as Queensland’s premier tourism destination thanks to a planned makeover of facilities and services. newly appointed ceo darren cann is overseeing the work that will cement dunk island’s position at the top of holiday maker’s wish list. “it is a very exciting time on dunk island, as we make changes to uphold our position as a market leader. Without giving the game away, we will be involved in local projects and will continually improve and develop the customer experience,” he said. Whatever the changes involve, dunk island will remain the ideal island for a tropical getaway. hideaway Resorts, based in cairns, took over ownership of dunk island, as well as nearby bedarra on september 21, 2009 and remain committed to introducing more facilities and activities in 2010, to create an island utopia in australia. MELBOURNE Quest serviced apartments provides travellers the comfort of staying in a fully equipped, self-contained apartment offering kitchen and laundry facilities, plus the option of a fully stocked pantry waiting for them on arrival, thanks to the Quest Pantry shopping service. This unique service allows Quest guests to place a grocery shopping order prior to arrival so that Quest can do the shopping on each guest’s behalf. The Pantry shopping service allows guests the option of preparing and enjoying a fresh, home cooked meal on arrival rather than spending on in-house catering or having to leave the property to eat out soon after they’ve arrived.

Hilton Lake Taupo opens

hilton

Now open: Hilton Lake Taupo

Hilton Lake Taupo has officially opened its doors for business in the popular Taupo resort district on New Zealand’s North Island. Managed by Hilton Worldwide, the 113room Hilton Lake Taupo is one of the first upscale, full-service international hotel brands to open in Taupo and the second Hilton hotel in New Zealand after Auckland. The hotel is comprised of the Heritage Wing, previously known as the historic Terraces Hotel, built in 1889 and now completely re-furbished, and a new wing of 100 rooms – the Mountain Wing. The Mountain

Wing is positioned alongside the Heritage Wing with panoramic views over Lake Taupo and to the volcanic mountains of Mt Ruapehu, New Zealand’s largest ski field. “Hilton Lake Taupo is truly spectacular and I am pleased we will be managing a hotel in one of New Zealand’s most significant leisure and meetings destinations,” said Hilton Worldwide Asia Pacific president, Martin Rinck. “The new hotel reflects the very high standards that guests from around the world have come to expect from the Hilton experience,” he said.

PEOPLE meLbouRne

Quest Serviced Apartments Chairman, Paul Constantinou, pictured, has been honoured with the Ernst & Young 2009 Australian Entrepreneur of the Year award, recognising his creativity and innovation. Constantinou opened the first Quest property over 20 years ago and the company now consists of more than 125 properties. “To receive the award is a credit to the entire Quest group,” Constantinou said. -LS
AIRLINES meLbouRne

Viva Macau Adds Melbourne
By James Wilkinson

Macau’s popularity as a conference and incentive destination is set to soar, following the announcement by Viva Macau Airlines of new direct flights from Melbourne. The highly anticipated second Australian destination for the Chinese SAR’s low-cost airline will be flown twice-weekly by Viva Macau from December 9 and will complement the existing Sydney services. Viva Macau CEO Reg Macdonald said Melbourne beat Brisbane to the new flights and the new flights would be operated by two-class Boeing 767-300ER aircraft. “After an intensive search across the globe, Viva Macau is adding Melbourne, Australia, to our growing network,” he said.
58 hotel & accommodation management

“Melbourne won out against numerous other points under consideration. We were impressed by Melbourne’s attractiveness as a tourist destination and market with great potential, and by the coordinated and proactive approach of the Melbourne airport and government. “We are very excited about the addition of Macau-Melbourne as a great new route for Viva Macau,” he said. Like the Sydney route, prices between Melbourne and Macau will be the most affordable seen to the Hong Kong region in some time – one-way economy airfares start from $339 and premium class airfares start from $639 (including taxes).

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For all details call Adam Daff on 02 8586 6209 or email adaff@intermedia.com.au before January 15, 2010

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