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THE BUSINESS OF ACCOMMODATION
Vol 16. No.2 Bi-monthly April 2012
What owners want Howard Kemball's
exclusive new column on all aspects of hotel operations
How signing former world number one tennis star PAT RAFTER as its ambassador has been a master stroke for Australia’s Mantra Group
Getting into beds Hong Kong hotels Carlson’s Hubert Joly Crown Towers Melbourne Breakfast trends in 2012 The best jobs in the hotel industry And a conversation with John Hudson
Print Post approved PP255003/07998
Obama, James Packer, John Key and Michael Issenberg lead our list of leaders taking centre stage in travel during 2012
Influential leaders Alan Joyce, Barack
Temple Coverlet and Bel Air Cushion in “Siam Citron” Bolster Cushion and Picket Quilted Valance in “Siam Black”
A U S T R A L I A
S I N C E
1 9 8 4
hotel style & comfort
Another example of exclusive products from HotelHome, Australia’s leading designers, manufacturers and suppliers of high quality fabrics, bed covering and bed accessories to premium Hotels, Architects and Designers.
feather down bed topper
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Bi-Monthly – April 2012
50 The influential list
HM presents the inaugural list of ten leaders in the tourism industry to watch in 2012.
32 Conferences A wrap-up
of the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) from Berlin, Germany.
60 Design Claus Sendlinger
and an expert panel uncover the latest hotel room trends worldwide.
34 Key News Operations,
68 Rooms division Signature 70 Technology Channel
workplace relations, profiles and more, presented by the Accommodation Association of Australia.
hotel beds and mattress toppers.
42 General manager
Mantra South Bank Brisbane’s Leah Feldmann.
71 Food and beverage
44 Property profiles Bondi’s
Swiss Grand Resort and Spa, and Crown Towers Melbourne.
Hotels, and not just guests, are watching the calories this year.
46 Global report Four of the
leading hotels in Hong Kong.
06 Inside word
Editor's letter. The
58 Buyer's guideTen
products capturing our attention this month.
08 News Great jobs in the
industry, hotels on Twitter, airlines, new projects, Pat Rafter and more.
72 Human resources
People on the move.
74 Concierge corner News
16 The agenda Bruce Garrett,
and profiles from Les Clefs d’Or.
General Manager of The George Hotel, looks at the latest in Christchurch, one year on.
18 Development Interviews,
news, profiles and a focus on new hotels in Brisbane.
26 What owners want
A conversation with former Thakral Managing Director, John Hudson.
27 Howard's way Howard 28 Leadership Carlson’s
Kemball’s new column on all aspects of hotel management.
global CEO and Chairman, Hubert Joly talks about the Rezidor merger.
On the cover.
15. Mantra's ace An
interview with Mantra Group's CEO Bob East and ambassador, Pat Rafter.
30 Associations Exclusive
columns from AAA, NZHC and TAA.
We’re celebrating, but not overdoing it
James Wilkinson firstname.lastname@example.org
National Sales Manager
Adam Daff email@example.com
It's easy to get carried away with birthday celebrations… be it too much wine or cake, there’s something about a birthday that says ‘overdoing it’. But here at HM, we didn’t want to go overboard about our 15th anniversary of publication and announce it on all 76 pages of this issue. Instead we wanted to say a small thank you (p48) – to our advertisers and our readers – for supporting since we first launched in 1997. It’s been a long and at times, exciting ride for both the magazine and the hotel industry at large. And when we looked at how to mark our 15 years, one thing we didn’t want to do was a full retrospective where we had to talk about the natural disasters, acts of terrorism, strikes and plagues that have so greatly affected this industry. We wanted to keep everything positive, like the accommodation industry is at present. Forward bookings are strong, international travel across the planet keeps going forward and RevPAR is on the rise. The basic fact is there won’t be another Sydney, London, Hong Kong, New York, Paris or Berlin in the near future. There simply won’t and as a result, travellers will keep visiting… hopefully in their thousands. Don’t just trust our words; see what the world’s leading Hoteliers are forecasting in an interview with Carlson’s Hubert Joly (p28) and in our wrap-up of the recent IHIF conference in Berlin (p32). These are just two of the many great features, in this new-look, completely 'refurbished' edition of HM. I trust you’ll enjoy the makeover and the expanded content and I look forward to hearing your feedback. Yours in hospitality,
Trish Babu, Steph Busby, Roderick Eime, Bruce Garrett, Michael Georgeson, Howard Kemball, Jennie Langley, Peter McBrearty, Richard Munro, Rodger Powell, Noel Teskey
Ben Akhurst firstname.lastname@example.org
Jacqui Cooper email@example.com
Circulation and Subscriptions Manager
Chris Blacklock firstname.lastname@example.org
1800 651 422 Subscribe to HM magazine - 6 issues for AUD $88 (inc. GST) email@example.com
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In association with
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6 HM The Business of Accommodation
Pat Rafter ‘steals’ Pat at Mantra Mooloolaba on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast
Mantra Hotels and Resorts’ association with former Australian world number one tennis star Pat Rafter has seen cut-outs of the Davis Cup captain placed in the company’s properties right across the country. But Pat’s been more popular than even Mantra could have imagined. Not only did the company record an average occupancy of 97% at its Melbourne properties during this year’s Australian Open, the cut-outs of Rafter have disappeared from hotel lobbies on a number of occasions – with some people driving up to properties, pulling up out the front and running away with the lifelike figure. It’s all in good humour, with Mantra Group CEO Bob East saying the association with Rafter has exceeded all expectations. “Pat Rafter is both extremely well-respected and well-liked by Australians and to have him associated with Mantra speaks volumes – our customers have responded with great interest and we are proud to work with him,” he told HM. See p15 for our Cover Story.
aLSo IN thIS ISSUe
Great jobs in the hotel world, brand changes in Auckland, properties on Twitter, James Packer's Sydney plans, why Brisbane’s a development hotspot, Carlson’s global CEO Hubert Joly and Howard Kemball on what owners want.
PHOTOGRAPHED FOR HM BY ANDREW JARVIE
8 HM The Business of Accommodation
Packer’s Sydney dreaM
James Packer’s proposed billion dollar Crown Casino development at Barangaroo in Sydney could become a reality after the Premier of New South Wales said he would be a “mug” if he didn’t consider it. Speaking to ABC radio in Sydney, O’Farrell said: “Any Premier would be a mug if people are saying we want to invest a billion dollars in NSW not to at least hear those proponents out”. Packer’s plans for a billion dollar development on land currently earmarked as parkland on the Barangaroo site was the talk of the Australian accommodation industry in late February, generating both support and opposition to the plan that would feature a 350-room luxury hotel and casino. While O’Farrell was quick to throw his support behind the proposed development, saying it would bring jobs and increased visitors to Sydney, he was cautious about the project because of the numerous regulatory approvals that would need to be overcome, such as a casino licence. Echo Entertainment, owners of The Star in Pyrmont, currently have the sole casino licence for Sydney, which is under an exclusive arrangement until 2019. However, with Crown Limited having just increased its stake in Echo Entertainment to 10% in late February, if Packer were to win control of that company, which would include The Star, he could
New Sydney casino development wins support from the Premier, but a former Prime Minister says it shouldn’t be built where it’s planned. By JaMeS WIlkINSoN
Sofitel landS in auckland
Auckland’s former Westin is set to become Accor’s flagship hotel in New Zealand.
James Packer’s proposed Crown Hotel and Casino in Sydney
Re-brand: Sofitel auckland Viaduct Harbour
potentially offer gaming at the new casino under an extended licence. But the new project isn’t winning support from all circles, with Sydney Mayor Clover Moore and former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating both speaking out against the Packer plan, while Lend Lease Group’s Head of Development, David Hutton, said it would be premature to comment on operators of a hotel before a site for such a building had been agreed upon – which as it stands is still over the water on Sydney Harbour.
The movers and shakers everyone’s talking about.
Neeraj Chadha has been appointed the Director of Australia for Marriott International as well as General Manager of the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort and Spa. He formerly spent several years with Hilton International where he was Regional General Manager in India. Trent Fraser has taken the reins as the Chief Executive Officer of Choice Hotels Australasia from David Bayes, who is focusing on his Non Executive Director roles at a number of companies. Iqbal Jumbahoy has been named Managing Director and CEO of SilverNeedle Hospitality. He was formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Rendezvous Hospitality Group, based in Singapore. Neil Scanlan has replaced Dino Mezzatesta as the General Manager of Franchising Hotels at Accor Australia. Mezzatesta is now heading up the team responsible for the integration of the Mirvac portfolio. Tony South has been appointed the Chairman of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA). He was formerly InterContinental Hotels Group’s Chief Development Officer for Asia-Pacific. For more people movements, see page 72.
The former Westin Auckland Lighter Quay, a hotel that was surrounded in controversy during 2011, has finally become a Sofitel, a long-held desire of owners’ representative Graham Wilkinson. Accor gained management of the property – now known as Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour – in late September 2011, two months after Wilkinson won approval from a majority of the property’s owners to pass across management control to him from Starwood. Subsequently, Starwood then terminated the management agreement with the remaining owners and the property was operating under the name Hotel Viaduct Harbour for a number of weeks before the Accor deal was signed and subsequently, the property traded under the MGallery brand until mid-March. Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour is Wilkinson’s second luxury Accor property in New Zealand alongside Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa, and that property’s General Manager Wouter de Graaf has been appointed to oversee both five-star hotels. “The Sofitel (Auckland) will offer exceptional quality accommodation and service, matching the hotel’s prestigious location,” de Graaf said. “We anticipate the Sofitel having a similar effect on Auckland’s hotel and tourism scene as the Sofitel did when it launched in Queenstown.” De Graaf said Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour – Accor’s 10th property and its 33rd in the country – would become the flagship hotel for chain in New Zealand.
10 HM The Business of Accommodation
Hoteliers expect profitable 2012
An overwhelming majority of Hoteliers across Asia Pacific believe 2012 will be more profitable than 2011, according to TripAdvisor’s 2012 Industry Index released at ITB in Berlin, Germany. The Industry Index, a survey that was completed by 9000 accommodation owners and managers worldwide, revealed that 71% of Hoteliers in Asia-Pacific believe their properties will be more profitable in 2012, while 48% believe the economy will improve in 2012. Interestingly, 73% of Hoteliers plan to monitor traveller mentions of their properties on social media this year, 60% of owners and managers plan to offer free in-room internet access in 2012, while 27% plan to purchase or build new properties this year. “The results of the TripAdvisor Industry Index clearly show that the hotel industry looks very positive into the year 2012,” said TripAdvisor's Dirk Loesch. “Thus, more and more hoteliers plan to increase their marketing activities in the area of social media and mobile.” Compared to the global statistics, Asia-Pacific may have some catching up to do on the technology side. A massive 91% of French Hoteliers plan to offer free internet access in 2012, alongside 89% of Americans, 83% of Spaniards, 82% of British Hoteliers, 73% of Italian Hoteliers and 70% of Germans. It’s also set to be a big year of social media monitoring, with 94% of Spanish, 85% of German, 81% of American, 74% of French, 71% of Italian and 64% of British Hoteliers planning to monitor traveller mentions of their properties on social media. Confidence is high in the American market, with 65% saying they believe the economy will improve in 2012.
Hoteliers are optimistic about 2012, according to the latest Trip advisor survey
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31 MAY 2012
New Zealand Hotel Industry CONFERENCE
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MIRVAC HOTELS AND RESORTS
Maroochydore gets auckland flights
From July 1, Maroochydore will be directly linked to auckland
Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is getting direct flights from Auckland from July 1 in a significant boost to tourism in the region. Air New Zealand is launching the seasonal service to Maroochydore – which be operated by Airbus A230s on Tuesdays and Sundays until 18 September – in partnership with its trans-Tasman alliance partner Virgin Australia.
Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Rob Fyfe said the new flights, the first ever international services from the airport, would cut significant travel time for Kiwis visiting the popular Sunshine Coast region. “Every year almost a hundred thousand New Zealand leisure travellers arrive in Brisbane and make the 100km plus drive north to the popular Sunshine Coast
beach resorts such as Noosa, Coolum, Mooloolaba and Maroochydore,” he said. “This new service will cut down their travelling time by eliminating the commute from Brisbane Airport which can be more than two hours. “While we’re trialling this new service on a seasonal basis between July and mid September it may be possible to extend the season if
there’s enough demand.” Mantra Group CEO Bob East said the new flights would be a boon for hotel operators across the Sunshine Coast. “The relationship with New Zealand travellers will now be even stronger with this increased flight capacity and to have a link to the all important US market for this region is an exciting prospect,” he said.
hunt receives tourism honour
Anthology’s Grant Hunt (pictured) has taken out one of the Australian tourism industry’s highest honours – Outstanding Contribution by an Individual – at the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards. In presenting the awards, it was noted that Hunt has earned a national reputation as an innovator with visionary thinking and leadership, particularly in the areas of responsible and sustainable tourism. It was felt that Hunt was truly deserving of this honour following his more than 20 years of service to the industry. Special recognition was made of the role he has played as a leader in sustainable tourism development working closely with local communities and developing important initiatives to support the environment.
12 HM The Business of Accommodation
adelaide hotel achieves zero waste
InterContinental Adelaide has achieved a ‘zero landfill’ standing a year ahead of schedule with figures released demonstrating the hotel has recycled 100% of its waste in the past three months with absolutely no waste going into landfill. The hotel has surpassed all targets set by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) as part of its Corporate Responsibility Program. InterContinental Adelaide General Manager, James Allen, said the hotel was setting a new benchmark in waste management. “We set our targets to have 100% recycling of waste and zero landfill by the end of 2012 and we have achieved it a year earlier than expected,” Allen said.
“IHG has instructed all 4,400 hotels around the globe to re-look at their ‘green’ strategies and respective carbon footprints. InterContinental Adelaide has taken this direction extremely seriously and I am hugely proud of everybody involved.” In 2006, IHG calculated that the carbon footprint of a single guest room was the equivalent of an average sized home. It was from this startling discovery that the IHG “Green Engage” program was born. Allen said purchasing decisions, supply chain and procurement priorities were all integral to the achievement of sending no waste to landfill.
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Great jobs in the hotel world.
The keeper of the keys
Maintaining a fleet of vintage luxury automobiles sounds like a fantasy for any mechanic, but it’s all in a day's work for The Peninsula Hotels’ Keeper of the Keys, MaRTIN oxley.
Interview by James Wilkinson. Photo by annie leibovitz
I absolutely love it. I get the chance to travel all around the world and play with cars. And The Peninsula Hong Kong is where I get to do 80% of my work. I joined The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels Limited over 15 years ago. I manage
Martin oxley and his pride and joy, the 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Over the last few years technology has come on leaps and bounds. What HG Wells
both daily and weekly vehicle inspections by our driver teams, with daily spot checks by me.
I usually hate using the word ‘synergy’ as in the last few years it has become the buzzword and over-used. That said, the synergies
portrayed as the future of our world is not only here but on its 3rd or 4th generation upgrade. Those who do not continually strive to meet guest expectations will quickly fall behind. This is where our two companies are probably the closest. Looking at ways to improve the experience, seamless service and making you feel once entered, albeit a hotel or a limousine, that you are cocooned in a familiar, homelike environment.
The [pride of the fleet]is the immaculately restored 1934 Vintage Rolls-Royce Phantom II, which is just six years younger than the
the 73-vehicle fleet at Peninsula-owned and managed properties globally, comprising not only the immaculate Rolls-Royces, BMW’s and Peninsula Mini Cooper S Clubman, but also the day-to-day working vehicles belonging to the company’s sister operations in Hong Kong.
I’m accountable to ensure each day the vehicles are in perfect working order and immaculate presentation. This is done by
between Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and The Peninsula group are clearly seen. To my knowledge, neither company has ever claimed to be the best. We leave that to the discretion of our guests and owners. What we both do is strive to be the best in everything we do.
The Peninsula is always looking at ways to improve the guest experience, much like Rolls-Royce. We take the best and look at how
to make it better.
hotel itself, having made its debut on the stand of Messrs Barker and Co (coach builders by Appointment to HM The King and HRH The Prince of Wales) at the London Motor Show in October 1934. The car is one of only two built with the Sedanca De Ville bodywork by Barker, and is typical of the time in England between the two World Wars, when formal themes were balanced by extraordinary flair and flamboyance.
What hotels said on twitter last month.
@cocktail_sunset we’d love to welcome you to our hotel, check out @TripAdvisor for the latest reviews. Can we can assist with a reservation? @FSSydney (Four Seasons Hotel Sydney) Thanks for following. Please tell us why you follow and how we can improve. #HWtweets. @HiltonWorldwide #Sofitel #Brisbane Central has been accredited with #Accor’s #Optimum #Service #Standards for #Indian Visitation. @accorhotelsaPaC Looking for a romantic getaway for two? Enter @MarriottResorts #ResorttoRomance contest to win a romantic vacation! @MarriottHotels Peppers Clearwater Resort #Christchurch - home of the NZ #Golf Open. Very resilient & lovely resort. @MantraGroup
14 HM The Business of Accommodation
A MAntrA prOMOtIOn
Mantra Group Ceo Bob east and tennis star Pat Rafter
Photograph by andrew Jarvie MaNTRa oN RaFTeR
Why Pat Rafter?
Mantra Group and PaT RaFTeR have formed a winning partnership, with the former world number one tennis star helping raise the company’s profile and importantly, occupancy rates nationwide. In an exclusive interview HM asks both Mantra Group CEO BoB eaST and Rafter how the association is going.
the results – we ran an exceptional average occupancy of 97% across our seven Melbourne properties during this year’s Australian Open which equated to a $200k increase in revenue. The response was immediate however with a 36% increase in website traffic to our Mantra website following the announcement of Pat’s appointment as our Ambassador back in July.
What’s next for Mantra and Pat Rafter?
RaFTeR oN MaNTRa
I can’t endorse a brand or a product I don’t use myself. That philosophy has always worked for me and after a surfing holiday at Kingscliff and staying at the Mantra Resort I knew I could quite comfortably work with these guys. I love the fact that they are an Australian based operation and really championing the Aussie holiday experience.
Your involvement with Mantra also highlights their CBD hotel network.
We pride ourselves on our down to earth approach and we certainly hope our guests pick up on that whether they are staying for business or leisure. When we looked at working with someone who embodied that same approach, Pat Rafter was the ideal choice. He is both well liked and well respected – not an easy combination to achieve – innately Australian, and despite all his success remains genuine and unaffected.
How has the response been from your guests?
Yes the TV ads were filmed at Mantra 2 Bond Street in Sydney – I’m not about to give up my day job and take up acting though! Obviously I’ve since stayed at many of the Mantra properties in Melbourne – most recently during the Australian Open - and in Adelaide for the Masters tournament. Depending on where the Davis Cup takes us this year that’s likely to continue.
Where is your next getaway with Mantra?
Well I think the number of photos taken with the Pat Rafter cut-outs in our Mantra lobbies is a great indication of his popularity – not to mention the number of attempted abductions! Seriously though we are overwhelmed with the response from our guests. The proof is in
We’ve achieved great brand awareness through our association with Pat which will continue, but in 2012 we want to highlight more about the Mantra product offerings – notably our very successful network of CBD properties located in all capital cities. The ‘Room for Everyone’ message that underpins the Mantra brand highlights that corporate/leisure mix and we’ll be looking to build on that message.
Well I can never get enough of North Queensland so Port Douglas is certainly on my radar. I’ve heard great things about the Mantra Resort in Lorne as well so maybe that’s a good spot for the next surfing holiday. I anticipate a lot of travel to Sydney and Melbourne this year as well so I will be spending a fair bit of time with Mantra in the cities and on the coast. n
The reopening of the remaining hotels has been delayed, with most not now expecting to open until mid-2013. This year the opening of the Rendezvous Hotel is imminent, having been delayed from the original March 1 date by further engineering checks. Next in line is expected to be the Ibis, which is aiming for September. Decisions are yet to be announced about the fate of the All Seasons Cashel Street, All Seasons Papanui Road, Copthorne Central and Holiday Inn on Avon. The delay in getting hotel inventory back on-line is certainly hampering the local tourism industry with flow-on effects to the whole South Island. The longer this situation continues the more chance there is that some tourism operators are forced out of business. Project Re:Start City Mall in Christchurch When the hotels start to reopen, we will see a new set of problems emerge. I see a return to the staffing shortage we experienced a few years ago. This is going to be particularly critical here in Christchurch where the return of hotels will see a large number of new employees required within a fairly short period. There are 36,000 additional workers expected to be required during the rebuild process with one third of these forecast to be needed outside of the construction industry in areas such as hospitality and retail. Many of the city’s hospitality workers have relocated and it may be difficult to attract enough suitable staff back. Realistic room rates are another issue, not just in Christchurch, but for the whole country. It was good to see in a recent Hotels.com survey that average room rates in New Zealand have increased in the past year on the back of the Rugby World Cup and the current shortage in Christchurch following the earthquakes. However despite Christchurch experiencing a 32% increase, this has only brought the city’s average rates on par with those of Wellington and Auckland. These increases basically put prices on par with those achieved six years earlier without even allowing for inflation. It should be noted that this is still NZD$80 lower than Sydney, over NZD$100 lower than London and Paris and NZD$200 lower than New York. I’m not for a moment suggesting we should be on par with those destinations, merely attempting to highlight that New Zealand's hotel rates offer very good value compared to most international destinations. It constantly amazes me that for the equivalent of The General Manager of The George Hotel and Christchurch what some professions charge for around one hour chair of the New Zealand Hotel Council, BRuCe GaRReTT, looks of time, we provide the private use of at around 30 at the latest from the capital of Canterbury, one year on from the square metres of quality hotel rooms situated on prime real estate along with top-of-the-range beds, TVs, devastating earthquake. bathrooms, cable TV, air-conditioning and so on for up to 24 hours. Hotels often have high-end artwork on display along with designer fittings and provide complimentary services such as hristchurch is continuing to experience delays newspapers, mountain bikes, guest laundry, airport shuttles and gyms. They come in getting its major infrastructure back up with 24-hour staffing to clean, carry bags, take messages, book activities, check and running. The situation is quite complex, flights, chase lost bags, answer queries and provide business services and security. with the various parties – property owners, Hotels have on-site restaurants and bars, often 24-hour room service, Wi Fi capabilbusiness operators, insurance companies, engineers, ity and new release movies. geotechnical experts, local and central government all Professional services firms charge between NZD$200 and NZD$400 an hour for their needing to come to some sort of agreement regarding top people, we (or at least my wife) have no problem paying NZD$100 for 40 minutes at the way forward for each individual site. the hairdresser, NZD$200 for dinner out or NZD$70 for a 30 minute taxi ride. Yet most A year ago, one month after the quake of February NZ corporate clients seem to baulk at paying NZD$200 for a 5-star hotel room. 22nd 2011, most imagined that we would be well on the The local industry is, however, its own worst enemy. We have continued to discount way to being back up and running, not still discussing prices to the point where they are unsustainable in the hopes that one day the supply what our options were. Admittedly the quakes in June and demand situation may improve and we can start to increase our rates. However we and December caused further setbacks but the industry is all know that once prices have dropped they are difficult to increase and we have an upbecoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of direchill battle ahead of us to re-educate the consumer that hotel rooms are worth far more tion on a firm decision on the location major facilities, than they are accustomed to paying. in particular a new convention centre. Until a location Here in Christchurch, and for much of New Zealand, our insurance premiums has been announced, hotel and hospitality developers are have increased by between 300% and 400% with earthquake excesses increasing around reluctant to commit to new projects. 10,000%. Most hotels have seen their excess increase from a minimum of a few thousand There have been some positive steps forward, with the dollars to between NZD$1 million and NZD$5 million. The premium increase alone re-start mall being a classic example and Lonely Planet represents around NZD$5 per hotel room and with the increased excess we should be has been impressed with the 'can do' attitude of those self-insuring to cover this as well. Increased building standards and environmental regetting on with what needs to be done. There has been quirements will also add significantly to the cost of developing new facilities which must some amazing ingenuity with businesses operating from be recovered through our charging models. temporary facilities while others have created 'gap filler' Here’s hoping that with the rebuild in Christchurch, more realistic pricing is put in projects to bring some life to some of the vacant lots creplace that enables hotels to get a fair return on their investment. n ated by demolitions.
thoughts from christchurch
16 HM The Business of Accommodation
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Accor’s Chief Development and Investment Officer for AsiaPacific, GauRaV BHuSHaN, gives HM the low-down on key growth markets across the region.
Interview by James Wilkinson
Gaurav, which Accor brands are in the highest demand across Asia-Pacific at present and why? It
accor’s asian growth
ticular. However, other gateway cities such as Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur are also cities we would like a greater presence in, particularly with our Sofitel brand.
Why is the Asia-Pacific region still having such strong growth for Accor at present? Over half of
InterContinental Hotels Group’s Vice President of Development for Asia and Australasia, PHIl kaSSelIS, kicks off HM’s new ‘love my brand’ column with IHG’s newest brand in the Australasian region, Holiday Inn Express.
Holiday Inn express is an incredibly smart brand. For developers, we’ve created a model specifically for this market with lower construction costs and high returns, based on a brand proposition that translates into reduced running costs. It’s a brand aimed at the world’s most consistently growing and stable business sector for hotels, the midscale business traveller. Holiday Inn Express is a solid midscale brand, delivering many of the same hallmarks that were pioneered during the global USD$1 billion refresh of Holiday Inn – albeit without services this growing segment of travellers are happy to not have to pay for. Holiday Inn Express hotels are always in the heart of primary locations, such as CBDs, suburban commercial hubs and airports, and close to services and a variety of restaurants. Key to its success, and something that will set it apart here, is that every Holiday Inn Express hotel offers free breakfast and free WiFi internet. It’s the fastest-growing midscale hotel brand in the world; we’ve more than 470 in the pipeline on top of an existing international network of more than 2, 100 hotels equating to close to 200,000 rooms. And we’re very close to contributing to that expansion in this part of the world.
really depends on the country but generally speaking across the region, Ibis in the economy segment and Pullman in the upscale segment are growing the fastest particularly across Asia. Both have been well - accepted by the market. Ibis has been around for a while and with over a 100 properties in the region, is a clear leader in its segment. The Pullman concept and identity has been very well accepted and in a short span of time it has become the fastest growing upscale brand in the region.
Which cities will be key development destinations for Accor over the next five years? We have tried
Accor’s global pipeline is in the Asia-Pacific region. The region has some of the largest economies in the world and also the most populous countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and so on. In emerging countries like China, India and Indonesia, there is a rapidly growing middle class which is the primary driver of this growth in demand for hotels.
Which market segments are you expecting to be the strongest for growth over the next five years?
to build a balanced pipeline of new hotels across the region. It is fair to say that we are active across almost all markets in the region. However, our key markets are Australia, New Zealand, China, India, Indonesia and Thailand. The majority of our current and future network is in these countries.
Which cities would Accor like to have a greater presence in? We are very focused on getting a greater
presence in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo in par-
Demand for hotels in pretty much all segments is reasonably strong across the region. However, we think demand for economy hotels in Asia will be very strong in the coming years with the changing demographics. In China, which is now the second largest travel market in the world, the demand for upscale and luxury hotels also continues to be very strong. We are actively developing our Sofitel, Pullman and Grand Mercure brands in China.
hotel windsor’s expansion
“We’re now taking bookings for meetings, conferences and events through to early 2014,” she said. “With the planning approval process for the re-development now finalised, we’re able to offer certainty to our guests and the good news is that for the next two years The Hotel Windsor will remain a preferred venue for important events and celebrations in Melbourne.” While Heritage Victoria signed off on the project in January, work on the redevelopment, which includes the construction of new rooms and a refurbishment of the existing building’s interior, won’t start until 2014 at the earliest. Robinson said in the meantime, a number of improvements – including the painting of rooms and the lobby, due over the coming months, and a facelift for the Cricketer’s Bar – would ensure the property remained competitive in the Melbourne market.
Melbourne’s Hotel Windsor (pictured) has confirmed the property’s AUD$260 million extension is due to start at the beginning of 2014, following the finalisation of plans for the redevelopment. Hotel Windsor’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Beverly Robinson, said until the project starts, it would be business as usual at the 129-year-old property.
18 HM The Business of Accommodation
KEy DATEs For 2012
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Presenting the 2012 HM Awards
The HM Awards are being held for the 10th time in 2012 and HM magazine is proud to announce nominations are set to open on May 1. Once more the focus is on recognising excellence in accommodation across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. This year, the gala dinner will be held at Sydney Town Hall on Friday September 7 and close to 50 Awards will be handed out across categories for properties, departments and people. For sponsorship enquiries, contact: Adam Daff T: +61 (0)2 8586 6207 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nominate properties online from May 1, 2012 at:
The sTar’s evenTs cenTre To oPen In 2013
New look: Sydney’s The Star
The Star has revealed it's new, AUD$100 million 4000-capacity multi-purpose events centre is set to open in Sydney in February 2013.
Designed by Sceno Plus, who have also created The Colosseum at Caesars Palace and The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas,
the 1077m2 column-free venue is set to house the latest technology and production facilities, including a retractable seating system. Internationally renowned architects Fitzpatrick and Partners have designed the building’s unique glass structure which is shaped like a jewel with many facets and inspired by reflective city lights. “We already have the 2,000-seat Lyric Theatre for musicals and major theatre productions and now we will have a specialised venue for other major performances and conferences, all within our newly redeveloped property, The Star,” said The Star's Hotels and Food and Beverage General Manager, Drew Schlesinger. “Pair our entertainment facilities with our world renowned chefs and restaurants, variety of five-star accommodation options, nightlife venues, shopping area and gaming facilities, and we believe we have achieved a one-of-akind entertainment destination with multiple reasons for people to visit,” he said. The Star made the announcement at the 20th Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) and the events centre is the final piece of the AUD$870 million redevelopment of the former Star City complex.
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Holiday Inn Perth Burswood is set to become a Crown Promenade hotel
Burswood to drop IhG brands
Despite InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) being confident it would retain branding at the Burswood Entertainment Complex in Perth, Crown Limited has confirmed the two hotels on site will be re-branded from July. InterContinental Perth Burswood and Holiday Inn Perth Burswood are set to be re-branded Crown Metropol and Crown Promenade respectively, reflecting the upscale brands’ successful positioning in the Melbourne market. Crown Limited announced in mid-December 2011 that it would re-brand the Burswood Entertainment Complex as Crown Perth before the end of 2012 and at the time, a spokesperson
for IHG told HM that the change in name would “have no impact on the management of the two hotels”. But the March 2 announcement of the properties’ re-flagging suggests the James Packer-owned Crown Limited had every intention of rebranding the hotels and the lack of a Crown Towers name on the former InterContinental Hotel also flags Packer’s intention to develop a luxury hotel on the site, something that has been mooted in recent months. “Following the recent announcement that Burswood Entertainment Complex will change its name to Crown Perth later in 2012, InterContinental Perth Burswood and Holiday Inn Perth Burswood hotels will undergo a full re-brand,” Crown said in the statement. “In line with the completion of the hotel refurbishment in July, InterContinental Perth Burswood will change its name to Crown Metropol, and Holiday Inn Perth Burswood will change its name to Crown Promenade.” Packer has been upgrading Burswood to international standards in recent times, particularly on the dining side with the introduction of star chef Neil Perry’s Rockpool Bar and Grill, alongside Nobu Perth, and later this year (September), Bistro Guillaume.
an artists’ impression of the new emporium Hotel at South Bank (left) and the Mosaic Grand Chifley Brisbane (above)
While the Emporium Hotels Group remains tight-lipped about the exact design and room details, Savoff said it would be a “knock out” from a design perspective. “With approximately 180 oversize guest Brisbane is Australia’s next development hot-spot and in a special report, suites, the Emporium (at South Bank) will be HM uncovers what’s being proposed and constructed. nearly twice as large as our first property in By JaMeS WIlkINSoN Fortitude Valley. “The concept is definitely to be another design hotel, featuring unique interiors and the latest in-room technology. risbane’s hotels are performing well – especially in “The new hotel complex will include state-of-the-art conference facilities and a masthe corporate segment – and it's no surprise that sive roof top pool and recreation deck. A day spa and fully equipped gym will also be demand is driving interest from both developers available for guests, as well as a choice of several themed restaurants and bars,” Savoff said. and hotel chains like. Alongside the new Emporium, Mantra Group is set to add a number of hotels to its As it stands, 10 hotels are either under construction, rapidly growing collection this year, including at least one in Brisbane. set to expand or have been proposed for the Queensland Mantra Group CEO Bob East told HM “a very sexy new product in Fortitude Valley in capital, firmly making the city Australia’s hottest for Brisbane” would join the network this year, but would not disclose which property it was. potential hotel growth. Also in Fortitude Valley, the 96-room Dunmore Hotel is set to open this year, then According to Emporium Hotels Group’s General in 2013, the 48-room Mosaic Grand Chifley Brisbane. The Chifley is part of Leighton Manager Peter Savoff, with a solid outlook it’s no surprise Properties’ AUD$150 million mixed-use Mosaic development, which also features a Hoteliers and investors are lining up to add inventory to landmark residential tower and over 3,000 square metres of retail and commercial space the city’s accommodation bank. around a green urban courtyard. “Whilst yearly Brisbane hotel occupancies are about Other major projects include: the 246-room Felicity Hotel at 103 Mary Street, due as high as they can get, there is no excuse for not growing for completion by Christmas 2013; Lend Lease’s proposed 250-room hotel at the RNA room rates even further in 2012,” he told HM. “Demand Showgrounds; the 90-storey Billbergia Tower on the Old Vision site that could feature from the higher yielding corporate sector is expected to 800 apartments (approved by Brisbane City Council in November 2011); the Lennon’s remain strong.” Hotel extension that’s proposed to include an extra 150 rooms; Marriott Brisbane’s Earlier this year, Emporium Hotels Group confirmed additional 20 rooms, approved by Council in April 2011; FKP’s development of serviced to HM their intention to develop a new property at South apartments at Railway Terrace in Milton; and the AUD$90 million Novotel on ElizaBank and since the announcement, the project has been beth Street, proposed by Kuwaiti Sheikh, Mubarak Abdullah Al Mubarak Al Sabah. n the talk of the city’s accommodation industry.
An ACCOr prOMOtIOn
ccor’s Mercure brand is currently undergoing a seismic shift, with the introduction of an innovative new room concept that can completely transform hotels affordably and with minimum down-time. The global renovation programme is called Dédicaces and was designed with the ambitious target of halving room renovation costs while producing a quality, distinctive end result. The first Australian hotel to get the treatment was Mercure Melbourne in Spring Street, a hotel that had been operating for close to 50 years (under vari-
Stylish: the new look Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens and (below) Mercure Suffren Paris
ous names, including the Sheraton) and desperately needed a complete makeover. With the Mercure brand’s strong commitment to local identity, it was important that the new rooms could be designed to reflect the character of the local destination. The new room design uses imagery from around Melbourne on the large headboard, while bright carpets, cube lounges and space-saving furniture all help to immediately energise the look and feel of rooms. General Manager of the newly re-branded Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens, Phil O’Brien, said he was thrilled with how quickly and easily the new rooms were installed, with a cost per room of around $25,000. “We had our rooms out of action for far less time than would normally be required and delivered with great savings, but most importantly, guest feedback has been unanimously positive,” he said. “The new room design has completely changed the look and feel of the hotel and has allowed us to increase rates so we couldn’t be happier.” To keep costs down, the four essential
Mercure shows that transforming a dated room into contemporary, stylish accommodation doesn’t need to cost a fortune.
components of the room – the headboard, TV and connectivity stand, desk/minibar and bathroom – have all been pre-standardised with the same basic frame. But to maintain individual personality, a wide variety of rooms can be created within this framework. Mercure Brisbane will be the next hotel to get the Dédicaces treatment, and will join an impressive list of Mercure hotels around the world with this bright new design, including Mercure Suffren in Paris, which features dramatic images of the Eiffel Tower on the bed-head, giving the room an instantly Parisian feel. Another Australian Mercure to be completely upgraded is the historic Mercure Canberra, formerly Olims. In this case, the makeover had to reflect the hotel’s rich heritage (the building is classified by the National Trust and is on the Royal Institute of Architect’s Register of Significant 20th Century Architecture), while introducing all the modern comforts that today’s traveller expects. Dédicaces revolutionises the installation process so that rooms can be upgraded more efficiently and with less noise and interruption to guests. A large range of solutions are available to match the differing hotel styles and room shapes, all created with the input of some of the world’s most innovative designers. Neil Scanlan, Accor’s General Manager Franchise hotels Australia says the new Mercure rooms will be a great attraction for franchise properties. “The renovation process a big step forward because it offers hotel owners an affordable solution to refurbishing hotels, which in turn can deliver major occupancy and rate growth,” he said. “We appreciate that owners can’t afford to have rooms off-line for long periods or have major disruption to existing guests, so this is one of the most cost-effective and efficient programmes introduced into the hotel industry.” Franchisees also benefit from significant cost savings on furniture, fittings, bedding and more thanks to Accor’s strong procurement arrangements, which can manage and organise a hotel’s entire equipment supply needs. Scanlan says the Mercure brand is Accor’s most dominant brand in Australia, with 33 hotels across the country. n To find out how a Mercure franchise can help your hotel perform better or how to introduce the new Mercure rooms at your own hotel, contact Neil at email@example.com or go to www.accorfranchise.com.au or www.mercure.com
Quest seeks more apartment investors
Quest Serviced Apartments has launched a new dedicated business division, Quest Properties, to help facilitate its on-going expansion plans. Quest is seeking to increase the number of Australians directly investing in the properties it manages, to make it easier to attract developers to build new sites. “For the past ten years, Quest has grown at a rate of eight new businesses per year and we expect this rate of growth to accelerate considerably over the next decade,” said Quest Serviced Apartments Chairman, Paul Constantinou. “To enable this to happen, we need property developers who are prepared to build our properties, and in turn, they need investors who will purchase the end product,” he said. Constantinou said the establishment of Quest Properties would enable this to occur more effectively. “Currently, our investors collectively own over 5,000 individual Quest apartments. These have been sourced through a variety of channels, ranging from real estate agents and financial planners to the developers themselves. It has been unstructured and very disparate,” he said. “This has led to a lot of confusion about the nature of serviced apartment investments and how our own Quest product fits in.
Cradle Mountain Lodge joins Peppers
Investment opportunity: Quest Maitland
“Quest investments are really in a class of their own. They look and feel like a residential investment, without the typical frustrations like vacancies, repair and maintenance obligations, body corporate charges and real estate agent/ management fees. “The establishment of Quest Properties allows us to wrestle back control and set the record straight on a lot of the misinformation out there in the market place,” he said. Constantinou said Quest Properties offers a fixed 6.5% income return plus capital growth, no management fees and maintenance is managed by Quest. The first new release of Quest Properties investments includes four existing Quest properties: Quest Maitland, Quest Albury, Quest Launceston and Quest Mooney Valley, while opportunities to invest in green field properties would come online in the future.
Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain Lodge has joined the Peppers Retreats and Resorts portfolio following the property’s sale to new owners Moss Capital. The former Accor MGallery-labelled property is now known as Peppers Cradle Mountain Lodge (pictured) and the signing has been welcomed by Mantra Group’s CEO, Bob East. “It is fitting that one of Australia’s greatest examples of boutique accommodation should now be associated with Peppers, a brand synonymous with providing luxury boutique accommodation experiences to guests for over 25 years,” he said. “We are very strategic with our acquisitions to the Peppers brand and ensure that all properties are of the highest standard which Cradle Mountain Lodge more than satisfies.” Moss Capital’s Head of Tourism and Leisure, Marianne Ossovani, said co-founders Bill Moss and Glenn Willis were delighted to partner with Mantra Group on this premier Australian tourism asset. “Partnering Peppers with Cradle Mountain Lodge is a natural association – we believe the Peppers brand captures the essence of boutique retreat accommodation and it is a welcome addition to the established name and reputation that the Lodge already enjoys,” Ossovani said.
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24 HM The Business of Accommodation
Wednesday 17 October 2012 Swissôtel Sydney
Hotels into the Future
AHICE, is a conference firmly focused on the management and operation of accommodation hotels throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific region. At this one day conference learn about surviving and thriving in challenging times; using new social media and other technology to maximise business and improve guest service; understanding what drives revenue to maximise profitability; how to recapture your domestic market; where will future growth come from? In 2012 we will be hearing more from experts in food and beverage, franchising, marketing and ROI from outside the hotel industry.
Visit www.ahice.com.au or call 1300 789 845 for more information Sponsorship enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 8586 6207
Hosted By Supported By
Accommodation brands that have attended AHICE
What owners want.
the hotel’s profits in the form of free internet, upgrades, access to clubs, free laundry, free parking and so on, and do they create loyalty? I doubt it.”
a conversation with...
In a new section for HM, HoWaRd keMBall interviews some of Australasia’s leading hotel owners. Up first, Thakral Holdings’ former Managing Director JoHN HudSoN, who has just stepped down after a decade in the role.
hen John Hudson first got involved with hotels, it was with CRI, the developer the ANA (now Shangri-La) Hotel in Sydney. “ANA just had to have a Sydney presence – it nearly sent the airline bust! It cost about AUD $750 million (that’s more than AUD $1 million per room in 1992) and sold for just over AUD $200 million,” he said. So what happened next? “I joined Walker Corporation and Lang Walker said to me ‘can you believe this, I appoint an operator and they want me to provide the petty cash, knives and forks and so on… this is crazy’ and didn’t invest,” he said His point is? “Lang is now a billionaire and one of Australia’s wealthiest men, ANA are no longer in hotels and only just survived. Lesson learned,” Hudson said. “Having said that,” John continues, “if you invest at the right time in the cycle and take a hands-on approach the returns can be very good and currently exceed those from other property classes. “Thakral’s returns over the 10 years to 31 December 2012 were 8.6% pa, significantly above that of the ASX 200 Property Index which showed a 10 year return of just 0.8% pa and exceeded that of the All Ordinaries which returned 6.3%.” With his extensive experience, I asked John for some advice for a newcomer to the hotel business.
“These ensure that if the owner goes bust, the operator ranks ahead of all creditors (including staff entitlements and the government). Why?”
THe 3% FF&e ReSeRVe
“Enough to maintain the hotel? That is the conventional wisdom and is even set down in law in management - 3% of turnover. My experience at Thakral was that a sum in excess of 6% is required to maintain the hotel assuming no new bathrooms are required. Oh and in most cases the operator retains the funds in a trust account. Yes that’s right the owner doesn’t have access to his own money.”
“When I joined the industry, few 5-star hotels offered clubs and now this is the norm. Amenities consisted of barely disguised petroleum extract and now its Hermes and Bvlgari. A 14-inch box TV was considered fine now 50-inch flat screen is required. Then there's worldwide programs that may make sense in Paris or New York but have little relevance in Australia and so on.”
CoRPoRaTe CoNTRaCTS FoR HoTel RooMS
“This is not a contract in the normal sense of the word where one party agrees to buy something and the other supplies for the agreed price. Hotels agree on a price and then the purchaser decides whether to buy at the price, online if the price is lower, or from one of the myriad of other 'contracts' it has in the town. Corporate contracts merely provide the customer with a guaranteed maximum price.”
“While improving, these give too much say to the operators. Can you imagine giving a 20-plus year contract to a third party who doesn’t have equity in the hotel, that effectively (and in some cases contractually) cedes control of the property? Performance clauses that no one in the industry has seen used.”
“Telephones are no longer a profit centre but a cost. Room service and mini bar are not rivers of gold.” That’s quite a list. So is John saying that hotel operators don’t add value? “No, not at all,” he said. “Brands do add value but the basis or contract needs to be changed, to reflect a more balanced business arrangement. If this occurs – and there seems to be evidence of this – then hotels can move up the charts as investment grade property rather than a fringe investment class. Everyone benefits. “I could go on, but in the end, I have just moved into semi-retirement and must say that my time in the industry was great, the people are first-rate, the industry is improving, hotels are fun and as supply is constrained in most capital cities in Australia the investment returns, for the next five years at least, should be excellent,” he said. n Howard Kemball will host a ‘What Owners Want’ session at the 3rd Annual Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) on October 17 in Sydney.
Former Thakral Holdings Managing director, John Hudson
“These are given away on entering the hotel along with half
26 HM The Business of Accommodation
Why do the operators total marketing costs keep on rising? Let’s be clear here. What I mean by marketing expenses also includes commission costs. Conveniently, under the Uniform System of Accounting for the Lodging Industry (10th Edition), commission costs are parked under ‘rooms’ not ‘marketing’. However, my issue is that commission costs are the result of a marketing decision made by the operator to improve revenue. This is not an issue with the decision itself as such but the acceptance by the operators that all those activities: brand loyalty programs, consortia commissions, overrides, online commissions, search costs and so on are true marketing costs. In other words, increasing commission costs – that are directly related to revenue enhancement – should in fact reduce traditional marketing expenses (including labour costs) which are currently accounted for under the marketing and sales section of the P&L statements. Operators also claim that the more business sourced through their own websites will in fact lower commission or marketing costs because the consumer is booking direct and not through a ‘third party’. From an owner’s point of view, the operator is already a ‘third party’ and should be doing their utmost to reduce overall commission, distribution, sales and marketing costs. It seems though that General Managers can
Marketing costs for hotels are in the spotlight
Howard kemball Host Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE)
not do without all these tools and resources to compete and the Owner of course foots the bill. I am yet to see a systematic, consistent reporting tool from operators that measure both the effectiveness of their marketing spend. RevPAR? Yes of course, but bottom line profit is still the owner’s ultimate need. The issue is: does every marketing decision taken by an operator and their GMs (and DOSMs) consider all the resources expensed – personnel, suppliers, collateral, distribution in order to increase revenue? There’s some food for thought. Howard Kemball a hotel management consultant, helping owners and investors improve their return on investment from their hotel businesses, investments and assets. He can be contacted at email@example.com
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Hubert Joly on the industry leaders' panel at IHIF in Berlin
28 HM The Business of Accommodation
“One of the most important things about this announcement is that it will allow us to implement a number of revenue generation initiatives from which we aim to generate more than USD$400 million in additional revenue and a RevPAR Index increase of more than 9 points by 2015,” he said. For staff, Joly says, the new company will open up a range of new career opportunities for employees of both Carlson Hotels and the Rezidor Hotel Group. “From an industry perspective, the name change eliminates any ambiguity,” he said. “The Rezidor Hotel Group and Carlson Hotels will now easily be perceived by business partners around the world as one global hotel company. This is also significant for our employees. “The expanded partnership between the two companies opens up a wealth of exciting new career and development opportunities for employees at both companies. “One of our goals is to be the number one travel and hospitality company to work for, and our employees are very proud to now be part of one of the world’s largest and most dynamic hotel groups,” he said. Joly said one of the main foundations which Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is built upon is its people and he’s proud to have some of the industry’s finest employees working for the company. “Every great business needs great people,” he said. It always seemed only a matter of time, but what “We employ more than 80,000 people worldwide who does Carlson's merger with the Rezidor Hotel are dedicated to customer service. Group mean for the industry? HM speaks to “Our ambitious growth plans and our employees are Carlson’s CEO HuBeRT Joly to find out. at the heart of delivering exceptional guest service and greater value, which in turn generates more attractive fiBy James Wilkinson in Nassau, nancial returns for our owners and stakeholders. It’s truly The Bahamas and Berlin, Germany an exciting time for us, our guests and our shareholders.” It’s also an exciting time for Carlson Rezidor in Asia-Pacific, Joly says, as the company continues to record solid growth arlson’s CEO Hubert Joly says the company’s merger with the particularly from a development perspective. Rezidor Hotel Group will result in a “more consistent align“I am very proud of the achievements of our team in Asia-Pacific,” he ment” of its portfolio of brands and the “continued growth” of said. “We now have 76 hotels in operation and 78 in the contracted pipeproperties around the world. line in Asia-Pacific (and) our objective is to have more than 150 hotels Speaking exclusively to HM, Joly says it’s an exciting time for the operating across Asia-Pacific by 2015.” newly combined company, now named the Carlson Rezidor Hotel The company’s roll-out of the Radisson Blu brand has helped drive Group, as it aims to generate almost half a billion US dollars revenue and growth across the Asia-Pacific region and 2012 is set to be a big year for a RevPAR Index increase by almost 10 points by 2015. the Minneapolis, United States-based group. “Carlson and Rezidor have grown together over the past 17 years, “2011 was also an important year with the roll out of Radisson Blu in however, our increased collaboration over the past two years led us to this the region (and) we are scheduled to open 18 hotels in 2012,” Joly said. next natural step of going to market as one and with firm, cohesive goals “This year, we will also planning some big news around the Park Inn by in place,” he said. Radisson brand.” n “We like to say one plus one equals three. The development brings with it many opportunities that our management team will be focused on including the global development and alignment of our brands, the growth of our revenue generation engines, the pursuit of purchasing synergies and the development of our human resources.” The new Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group boasts a portfolio of more than 1300 hotels – across a range of brands including Radisson Blu, During February and March, HM magazine was given Radisson, Country Inns and Suites By Carlson, Park Inn by Radisson, exclusive access to Carlson’s senior leadership team at Hotel Missoni and Park Plaza – and it’s currently experiencing significant the company’s Global Business Conference in Nassau, growth, especially in Asia-Pacific. VIDEO ONLINE the Bahamas and at the International Hotel Investment “Guests around the world will benefit from a more consistent alignForum (IHIF) in Berlin, Germany. To get the low-down on all things ment of our brands and the continued growth of our portfolio,” Joly said. Carlson, visit www.hotelmanagement.com.au to view videos with “You can see an illustration of this with the global roll out of Radisson CEO, Hubert Joly, alongside: Blu as a world-class upper upscale brand. • Chairman Marilyn Carlson Nelson “Our goal is that all of our stakeholders benefit from this develop• President of the Americas and COO, Thorsten kirschke ment over time. • Global Brand Leader, Gordon Mckinnon “We just talked about the guests… we are also aiming to increase • Asia-Pacific President, Simon Barlow revenue generation and reduce operating costs to the benefit of our • Asia-Pacific Chief Financial Officer, Vasso Zographou owners. As mentioned, we will seek to enhance development opportu• Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney General Manager, Peter Tudehope nities for our employees. And we expect these changes to benefit all of
Radisson Blu Hotel liuzhou
carlson’s worldwide ambitions
People make the difference
It was no surprise reading the 2012 Industry Leaders Forum of HM magazine that the majority of leaders recognised the soft side of the business as being an important piece of the overall success of the company. Of course, buildings and technology are paramount, however, nothing can eclipse the effectiveness of your people, or as one successful Hotelier labelled it, 'our human capital'. Brands of course featured heavily and rightly so, but the biggest investment by any of our companies are surely our people, servicing our guests. The 'talent crunch' as another leader described it, is very evident with our industry competing for labour and skills on so many levels, with so many industries, not just mining. We recently secured our first government grant, partnered by industry for our AAA Academy to train employees under the National Workforce Development Fund. Franklyn Scholar who administers our academy and is a successful national RTO (Registered Training Organisation) will ensure that the 50 employees undertaking the Diploma of Management (Accommodation Services) will help fill the gap of new managers for our sector. The Association’s biggest cost by comparison is also our people. Our team is relatively small but very effective in assisting your business to success. I have this confirmed to me on a daily basis by our members’ feedback. Of course, we always welcome criticism too, this is how we can ensure that we deliver what you as an industry want, an industry with broad representation across the country and also by product.
Melbourne: a key city for hotels
Richard Munro Chief Executive Officer Accommodation Association of Australia
At the time of writing this article, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Julia Gillard, had just won the challenge for leadership mounted by the former Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd. We hope that this will now bring some stability to government and some certainty for business. Big on the agenda this year with the Government are the reviews of the Fair Work Act and the Modern Award – both fundamental to running a hospitality business. Our submissions can be read online at the Association or the relevant government websites. I would like to thank the members who contacted the Association and submitted ideas for both reviews. Our newest partner, People Culture + Strategies, are a formidable force in the industrial relations (IR) landscape and I am looking forward to working with Kathryn Dent on achieving the best possible outcomes for our industry from the IR perspective. I also am pleased to welcome our first major beverage partner for the Association: Coca Cola Amatil, which is are going through some big changes with the divestment of their beer portfolio to focus on the soft drink component of their business. As this change develops we’ll update members on their new portfolio.
hoteliers score at rwC
The recently released NZHC Annual Operating Survey 2011 data provided solid proof of an unusual year where a major international sporting event, natural disasters and changes in the way people book travel all had an impact on New Zealand hotels. Any one of these events would have had a marked effect, but to have a Rugby World Cup (RWC), a series of earthquakes and a significant shift in the way people booked travel take place in the one year was unprecedented. By the numbers: • Total NZHC average occupancy was 70.7% up from 69.4% in 2010. Those outside the industry may have expected a larger occupancy increase for 2011 off the back of RWC. The event did deliver good numbers into the country, however the displacement of normal business during that time meant one piece of business was simply replaced by another culminating in a relatively neutral result; • Christchurch achieved the highest annual occupancy of 85%, off a reduced inventory base of 853 rooms compared to 3717 rooms before the February 2011 earthquake; • Excluding Christchurch, Auckland achieved the highest annual occupancy rate of 77.1%, followed by Wellington (73.6%) and Rotorua (64.6%); • The Central Park region (Taupo, Tongariro, Napier and Gisborne) had the highest average room rate of NZD $160.10, followed by Auckland NZD $157.60 and Wellington NZD $150.10. Room rates were driven by strong RWC demand during games days and solid corporate and conference business pre and post RWC; • The average room rate for 5-star hotels was NZD $217.50 up NZD $39.33 compared to 2010 (NZD $178.70), coming predominantly from the Auckland properties that also enjoyed strong and prolonged RWC business during the six weeks of the event; • The largest consumers of hotel accommodation in 2011 were New Zealanders (54%) of all rooms sold), followed by the Australian market (16%); and • On average, 42% of bookings were short-term (made up to seven days prior to arrival), 33% were medium-term (8-30 days prior to arrival) and 25% were long-term (more than 30 days prior to arrival). For 2012, Hoteliers are cautiously optimistic but have identified difficult trading patterns emerging with the traditional western markets remaining soft, wholesale tour business not performing and conference bookings lagging behind previous years. The 2011 results were heartening for many in the industry however 2012 is unlikely to be a growth year. Hotels will continue to evolve their operations to accommodate the new challenges being presented to them. For NZHC 2012 will be a year of change with a proposal in place to integrate with the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) with a view to creating one likeminded, well resourced, highly regarded industry organisation. This is an exciting initiative for NZHC and TIA and both parties look forward to working together to ensure a strong voice for a sector that contributes so much to the New Zealand economy.
Jennie langley Independent Chair New Zealand Hotel Council
30 HM The Business of Accommodation
Influence is the key
Influence. The accommodation industry, as a major part of the tourism industry needs to build greater influence. Never has this been more important than today when we face a future with a sustained high Australian Dollar, constrained availability of capital, fundamental shifts in the global and local economies, dwindling availability and increasing costs of labour, and strong competition from overseas destinations and products for our traditional customers. These, combined with new customer needs and expectations, from our emerging and potential markets create an almost perfect storm in which we must have more influence over the policy settings that affect our operating environment. Nowhere has our lack of influence been more visible than in recent decisions by governments to pour more cash into our unsustainable motor vehicle manufacturing industry. Despite the myriad challenges overcome by the resilient tourism industry, despite the enormous growth opportunities presented to Australia through the emergence of new Asian tourist markets, and despite employing half a million people across Australia, the amount of additional Government support for our industry pales in comparison to the seemingly endless life support offered to car manufacturers. For many years, as an industry, we have decried a lack of recognition of the scope and scale of tourism and
Rodger Powell Managing Director Tourism Accommodation Australia
hospitality (hospitality employs more than half of all tourism industry workers) by Governments. This is no longer true. Governments know the importance of our sector. Yet we are unable to garner the support that the likes of car manufacturing, mining and others do. Why is this? I believe we have failed to raise recognition and support for our industry in the media and in the community. The leaders of mining, media and manufacturing companies are household names. Their interactions with Government are on TV and in the newspapers daily. In the two stage economy hospitality (with the exception of some capital city businesses) is definitely in stage two and we need to be more visible to influence change. The recent change in direction by the Government on gaming-related issues demonstrates that sectors of our industry can successfully co-ordinate efforts, combine funds, influence the community and ultimately politicians and get an outcome that suits the interests of their stakeholders and achieves community support. Love or hate the issue, the gaming lobby has had some significant success. If we want outcomes for our industry we have to improve, fund and exercise our influence on a very laserfocused agenda. We have to make our voice as effective as miners and manufacturers. The alternative is more of the same.
O F F I C I A L LY A C C R E D I T E D ACCOMMODATION
Australia’s Auto Clubs have independently rated accommodation with a national STARS scheme since 1963 and 85% of Australian travellers have used the STARS when choosing a place to stay. Now as a result of rigorous research with consumers and advisory panels, along with consultation with properties, the STAR Rating Scheme has been overhauled to provide travellers with more relevant standards and evaluation criteria. In the past the rating system was based on the facilities offered, but now a STAR Rating reflects the quality, cleanliness, condition and range of facilities and services offered to guests. Ratings are now measured and evaluated against over 200 criteria. We’ve found that 94% of Australian travellers rate cleanliness as the most important aspect of a STAR Rating and 90% want a STAR Rating to measure quality.
So that’s what a STAR Rating now means. We’ve also developed extensive new training programs for our official STAR Rating Assessors to make sure they have the expertise to objectively apply the new standards and guidelines. Without an official accreditation scheme like STARS, travellers would be forced to rely on properties rating themselves or on unofficial ratings from other travellers. Now STARS allows travellers to plan their trips more confidently by evaluating the overall quality of the accommodation and giving it a rating they can trust. For more information visit us on starratings.com.au
Global CEOs say thanks to a solid final quarter of 2011 and strong forward bookings through late 2012, it’s set to be a positive year for hotels in most regions.
By James Wilkinson at IHIF in Berlin, Germany
he world’s leading Hoteliers are confident of 2012 being a strong year for the hotel industry despite the financial uncertainty clouding Europe. Speaking on the industry leaders’ panel at the International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) in Berlin, Germany, the Hoteliers – including Accor’s Chairman and CEO Denis Hennequin, Carlson’s Chairman and CEO Hubert Joly, Choice Hotels’ President and CEO Steve Joyce, IHG’s Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Richard Solomons and Starwood’s President and CEO Frits van Paasschen – were all confident of the year being a strong performer, particularly on the back of a positive fourth quarter to finish off 2011. “The emerging markets are powering along (and) performance is strong around the world,” van Paasschen said. “As an industry I think we are on the cusp of a golden age.” Solomons said IHG was also recording strong growth from emerging markets – particularly China – while business travel has also been a key to the company’s success. “Business travel has come back significantly in the last couple of years,” he said.
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32 HM The Business of Accommodation
The Ceos panel at IHIF (l-R): Host, CBRe's Simon M Johnson; accor's denis Hennequin; Carlson's Hubert Joly; Choice's Steve Joyce; IHG's Richard Solomons; and Starwood's Frits van Paasschen
While he didn’t go as far as van Paasschen’s 'golden age' forecast, Solomons is still quite positive about the direction the hotel industry is heading in. “If you look at the tailwinds for the industry, they are very strong,” he said. “There are opportunities all over the place. “Even if it gets tougher, if you have the right brand on your hotel, you’ll be fine,” Solomons said. Financial issues in Europe haven’t dampened Joyce’s view. “In Europe, things are a little slower, but it’s still positive, while Asia remains strong,” the Choice Hotels CEO said. “Barring something unforeseen, 2012 looks solid.” Carlson’s Joly is also positive about Europe, a market that continues to grow significantly for Carlson Rezidor, particularly with development. “If you look back at 2011, it was a very good year,” he said. “It is (still) an environment where there are a lot of opportunities. “While the world is struggling, it’s 'so far so good' for the hotel industry,” he said. Joly said business travel would be a key for the company in 2012, and especially so when financial conditions get tougher. “To get business done, you can’t do it over the phone… you need interaction,” he said. Accor’s Hennequin added: “I’m cautiously optimistic. Corporate is in a very strong situa-
Positive outlook: IHG's Solomons
tion (while) Europe is still a very strong proposition for travellers from emerging markets. He said brand growth in those emerging markets – such as India, China and Brazil – was the key to success. “Emerging markets are national before they’re international,” he said. Still on China, Solomons said IHG was still planning on launching a Chinese brand because “that’s where we see the growth”. This year’s International Hotel Investment Forum attracted 1500 delegates from 60 countries, making it the most international yet according to organisers Questex. n
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HM flew to Berlin with British airways. BA flies to Berlin from Sydney via London and the author recommends flying in Club World (Business Class), which features flat-bed seats, hundreds of hours’ entertainment on demand, a great selection of wine and some of the best meals in the sky. Visit www.ba.com
Queensland’s Gold Coast (pictured Mantra Sun City) New Queensland Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey
association welcomes new Queensland Government
The accommodation industry is looking forward to working with the new Premier of Queensland, Campbell Newman, and his new Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and Commonwealth Games, Jann Stuckey. The Accommodation Association of Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Munro, said Newman has demonstrated he has a deep understanding of the industry and tourism more broadly. “It’s been well documented that, as an integral part of tourism, the accommodation industry in Queensland has been suffering, particularly in iconic destinations such as the Whitsundays and Cairns,” Munro said. “That’s why it was important that Premier Newman listed tourism as one of four pillars of the Queensland economy during the recent election campaign. Our industry also welcomes new Minister Stuckey to what will be one of the most important portfolios in the new government. The fact that she has held the tourism portfolio for a number of years means she, too, has an intimate knowledge of the challenges that are confronting our industry. The accommodation industry congratulates Premier Newman, Minister Stuckey and rest of the LNP Government for their election success.” Stuckey has a diverse background – she is a registered nurse who was born in Adelaide. She
moved to the Gold Coast in 1987 and was elected to the Gold Coast seat of Currumbin in 2004. Immediately before that, Stuckey ran a successful communications consultancy business which specialised in professional development, speaker coaching and conflict resolution. Despite the recent downturn, the Association is confident that with a collaborative approach, the industry can thrive once again. “There is a lot to be excited about as far as tourism in Queensland is concerned,” Munro said. “Preparations are underway for the Gold Coast hosting the Commonwealth Games in 2018, while the resources industry is fuelling growth in business travel. It’s also significant that the Commonwealth Games is specifically recognised among the Minster’s portfolio responsibilities. Preparations for and staging the event have the potential to bring enormous benefits to Queensland’s second-largest city if the process is well coordinated. “On the bigger picture for tourism in Queensland, if the incoming Newman Government can get the mix of tourism marketing and the business environment for tourism operators right, then there is every chance that leisure travel in Queensland will start to pick up again, with the benefits to flow to the accommodation industry.”
key attraction: the Museum of old and New art (MoNa) in Hobart
tasmania focuses on china
Tasmanian Premier Lara Giddings has been commended by the accommodation industry for the renewed focus the State Government is placing on Chinese visitors. The Accommodation Association of Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Richard Munro, said lifting returns in this market is crucial to turning around the industry in Tasmania.
34 HM The Business of Accommodation
“Through her (recent) speech, Premier Giddings has demonstrated she has a strong interest in growing tourism in Tasmania,” Munro said. “With accommodation businesses being such an integral part of tourism, it’s imperative that Tasmania taps into the key emerging market of China.
“And, as the Premier says, that means more accommodation businesses tailoring their offering to visitors from China.” Attracting more visitors to Tasmania from China and Asia, more broadly, has the potential to directly correlate to a much-needed boost for accommodation businesses. “Despite the efforts of the Government including Tourism Tasmania, accommodation occupancy continues to lag behind other states and territories, which illustrates why Tasmania is right to focus on China,” Munro said. The most recent figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that the room occupancy rate in Tasmania for the September 2011 quarter was 47.1%, down 2.5% on the corresponding period in 2010 and more than 13 percentage points in arrears of the nextlowest figure – 60.6% for South Australia. Collectively, members of the Accommodation Association account for more than 1000 rooms in Tasmania.
One of our biggest objectives this year is to bring more value to our merchants. Speaking as the leading corporate card provider, we know that Australia has a strong base of business travellers which The Accommodation Association’s CEO RICHaRd MuNRo is beneficial to the accommodasits down with GeoFF BeGG, Vice Principal and General american tion industry; however, the strong express’ Manager of American Express Global Merchant Services. Australian Dollar means fewer Geoff Begg tourists. It’s going to be more important than ever for accommodation providers to accurately target those guests and bring them into their businesses. That’s one of the things American Express can do, which is Why does American Express see it as important to help Association members identify and effectively market to those customers through support the Australian accommodation sector and Business Insights consulting or targeted marketing campaigns. specifically the Accommodation Association of Australia? American Express has always worked closely with the lodging industry due in large part to our strong presMuch to the annoyance of many American Express cardholders, some smaller ence in travel and entertainment, and corporate spending. merchants still do not accept the AMEX card. Do you have any insight as to why and Beyond that though, I think there are a lot of similarities what are you doing as a company to change this? I wish I could say that was the first between the aims of Association members and American time someone has raised that with me. Again, this all comes down to value. American Express. The example that springs to mind most readily Express card members tend to spend more and be more loyal to the businesses where is our shared desire to exceed our customers’ expectations they spend their money. We want to connect those high-value card members with your for service. To that end, we want to do all we can to help members, and we do charge a premium for that. accommodation providers deliver a great product to their That said, I think it’s a common misconception that the cost of accepting American customers and build their business. An important part of Express is far too great for, particularly smaller businesses. The benefit is that we charge that is to make sure that the appropriate legal, policy, and an all-in cost to merchants; one that includes payment processing, plus the benefits we training frameworks are in place to guide the industry; can offer merchants in terms of marketing to our card members. I think that if your and no one is better at providing that than the Accommembers take a look at all of the additional charges associated with accepting other modation Association. forms of payments, they’ll find that the difference between that and American Express is not that great, particularly when the quality of customer we’re providing is factored in to the equation. Are there any specific emerging issues that American Express sees for the accommodation sector in Australia? I think the largest question facing all busiFinally, what advice would you give to accommodation operators in Australia?
members) and customers; we call this our 'closed loop'. Through American Express Business Insights, we are able to use this closed loop data we are able to provide detailed spending behaviour analyses pulling on information from millions of card members around the world. For example, we can provide hotel operators with a segment profile of who their customers are, where they’re coming from, what else they’re buying, and how these customers engage with their competitors. We can dive even further to give aggregated demographic information and other spending characteristics, which will help accommodation providers more accurately reach the type of customers they’re after. This is all done with aggregated, anonymous analysis, adhering to our strict privacy standards.
What are American Express’ priorities over the coming year?
nesses, but particularly the accommodation sector is, given the economic climate, how can you differentiate yourself enough to attract and retain customers? There’s no secret to how to do that: provide a pleasurable experience for all your guests at every point of contact. From check-in to payment, customers want things to run seamlessly and without surprises. Conceptually, that sounds easy, but we all know that it can be hard to hit that mark every single time.
American Express is a large global company that is primarily known for the provision of credit cards, but your company does a lot more, can you elaborate on any specific accommodation service? Unlike the
banks or other credit card networks, American Express has direct relationships with both merchants (your
That’s an easy one: warmly welcome the American Express card. A plurality of American Express card members report that American Express is their preferred card when paying for lodging; and that number increases as the price of the stay increases. When our card members incur surcharge (higher fees for using their American Express card compared to other cards), many of them will plan on spending less with that particular hotel over the next twelve months. Particularly in a tight economic environment, I think it’s important for business not to discourage these high-paying customers. Beyond that; no one knows their businesses more intimately than your members do. What I can say is that American Express views itself as a partner to the industry and we hope that your members view us the same way. n
'One of our biggest objectives this year is to bring more value to our merchants'
Key News catches up with SeaN HuNT, Starwood’s Regional Vice President and Managing Director of one of the Association’s newest member properties, Sheraton on the Park, to talk about performance, major events and growth opportunities. By STePHaNIe BuSBy.
Sheraton F on the Park
ew hotels in the world occupy such a prime position as Sheraton on the Park, located directly opposite Sydney’s Hyde Park. Superb facilities and a central location give the property an enviable advantage. The property dates from the mid-1990s and with a grand staircase and 511 standard rooms, each featuring luxurious black marble and granite bathrooms, the property is a paramount example of quality design, service and hospitality. Heading the property is Starwood’s Regional Vice President and Managing Director, Sean Hunt who Key News sat down with recently.
What makes Sheraton on the Park unique in your opinion? Sheraton’s positioning is centered on warm,
comforting connections and it all starts with a workplace that’s second to none, an investment in training and an environment that allows Sheraton associates to confidently connect with their guests. Initiatives such as a Lobby Ambassador, Sheraton Club Concierge, Meetings Concierge and facilities such as the Link@ Sheraton, a place where our guests can connect with their loved ones, grab a coffee, work or chat. Sheraton on the Park continues to offer a superior product, with constant refurbishments and enhancements ensuring we maintain our focus on being a leader in the marketplace. In 2011 we completed the refurbishment of the suites – the Terrace Spa and the Deluxe Terrace Suites – evidence that the hotel is focused on finding ways to delight its valued guests. Offering a backdrop over Hyde Park and the latest in technology and style, these suites have welcomed many high profile guests, enjoying a sanctuary high above the city. So combining personal consistent service and a great product makes Sheraton on the Park unique.
36 HM The Business of Accommodation
Clockwise from left: a deluxe Terrace Suite bedroom, The Gallery Tea lounge and a view from elizabeth Street of the Sheraton on the Park
walking around the hotel’s 22 floors, I try to meet as many guests as possible.
Does your occupancy receive much of a boost from major events such as New Year’s Eve, the Sydney Festival and Chinese New Year? Sheraton on the Park finished
the year 2011 with an average occupancy of 93%. Sydney is a compressed market and major events catapult the destination, as the ‘place to be’. During major events, the city does experience strong demand and more compression - it’s a nice problem to have. There are other Australian cities that appear to have more intense ‘event calendars’ in place, however Sydney is getting better at this – the key is to keep the events calendar consistent, to attract new and returning visitors.
Starwood is looking for growth opportunities. Is your region part of this strategy? We are constantly looking
The property has undergone some substantial changes recently, which has placed the hotel at the top of the RevPAR set in Sydney. What do you attribute this success to? Along with the Starwood regional team, I
remain focused on driving the guest experience whilst ensuring we further developed a revenue/profitability driven business and a solid team culture. I am passionate about operational excellence with a huge focus on giving associates the opportunity to communicate their feedback with us as a team and for us to act on these suggestions and feedback. Over the years, there have been turbulent times. Our approach is always to ensure there is a ‘Plan B’. Monitoring the external and internal factors and ensuring you change tact when the times require. As a team I always ensure we collaborate on decisions and take calculated risks. If things go wrong don’t ponder and whatever you do, don’t blame and when successful, share the glory with everyone. Ensuring we have the right people in the right seats is paramount and we have a number of Executive Development Programs in place, designed to meet the needs of our Senior Managers. The recipe for success is simple – happy associates and happy guests equals happy owners. And whether standing in the hotel lobby, restaurant or
for opportunities to expand our presence and are in an enviable position to once again leverage our great brands, our innovative edge of our truly global organization. In 2011, 36 new hotels opened across Asia-Pacific, and over 138 are in the pipeline. Already in 2012, we have reinforced our commitment to pipeline growth in the Pacific with the debut of the Luxury Collection brand in Australia with the recent opening of two new resort conversions: Lilianfels - A Luxury Collection Resort, Blue Mountains; and Echoes A Luxury Collection Resort, Blue Mountains. We are working on continuing this growth and the key markets we are focusing on in Australia include Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. We not only want to grow our footprint, but, also further expand on introducing new brands to the market. Starwood is well poised to take advantage of secular trends. The financial crisis did not derail the unstoppable forces of globalisation, capital flows, emerging middle classes and the demand for infrastructure. For the first time in history, more than half the world is middle class and there is still significant distribution of wealth in emerging markets. The number of people around the world entering a level of wealth to be able to afford luxury has enormous exponential growth. As the largest operator in the upper-upscale and luxury hotels market, Starwood is best positioned to benefit from a bounce back of these segments. The appointment of Andrew Taylor in 2011 as Director of Acquisitions and Development for Starwood Hotels and Resorts for the Pacific Region reinforces our intent to increase our footprint and continue the momentum and strategy to expand our brands and operation in the region.
What’s new in 2012 for Starwood? We recently announced new benefits that make
our award-winning loyalty program Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) the richest elite program in the industry. The more SPG members stay, the more choices are available and the more personalised the benefits become with standouts like lifetime status, first of its kind 24 hour check in and a dedicated Starwood ambassador who provides one-on-one service to uniquely tailor the guest experience. These new benefits will give us more opportunities to cultivate ‘loyalty beyond reason’ with the world’s most frequent travellers. n
2. Look for products with information available on their environmental and social impacts across their lifecycle. Lifecycle assessments (LCAs) provide important and useful information. 3. Consider rating labels such as energy or water ratings or ‘stars’. 4. Environmental and ecolabels can make purchasing decisions easier however, they need to be critically assessed. What to look out for in an ecolabel: • Independent third party certification; • Comprehensive and based on lifecycle considerations; • Standards developed with participation from a range of stakeholders, based on sound scientific evidence and available for review; • Transparency of information provided; • Ongoing auditing and recertification requirements; and • Compare products of similar function. Eco-labels should not be used exclusively. If a product or service is able to demonstrate equivalent performance, it should not be excluded from procurement considerations. Also, the legitimacy of an Eco-label should be investigated.
There are a number of ways hotels can further enhance their green credentials
THINGS To CoNSIdeR FoR CleaNING, PeSTICIde aNd PaPeR PRoduCTS
The Accommodation Association in partnership with eaRTHCHeCk provides guidance on how to adequately assess and compare potential products to reduce the environmental impact of your business.
roducts purchased and consumed by tourism businesses can have significant environmental and social impacts that are important to consider during procurement. Along with standard procurement considerations such as cost, health and safety and availability, it is important to consider: • Whether the product is essential; • If the need can be met by resources or products already available; • Whether the use of products can be reduced; and • How the products purchased may impact current waste management strategies i.e. can the product be reused or recycled?
Buyer be green
cost but also consider the many hidden costs. Lifecycle costing comparisons clearly show that green products do not necessarily cost more when operational costs are considered. 3. Finally, consider the transparency and credibility of available information and data. An environmentally or socially preferable product is a product which has an overall minimum environmental or social impact throughout its lifecycle.
Cleaning Cleaning chemicals and pesticides can have detrimental effects on the environment and health and safety of employees, guests and the community. Cleaning products vary considerably in their composition, function, availability and effectiveness. Ecolabelled products can help to distinguish some cleaning chemicals. The Green Seal standard recommends cleaning chemicals be available for purchase that contain minimal phosphorous. In addition, the standard specifies some ingredients which should be prohibited: • Heavy metals including, lead, hexavalent; • 2-butoxyethanol; • Alkylphenol ethoxylates; and • Phthalates Pesticides and herbicides The first issue to consider when assessing pesticide and herbicide use is whether they are actually needed: • Can the area be hand weeded instead of using an herbicide?; and • Are there passive design options which might negate the need for pesticide use? Paper products Paper products are common to most tourism operations and although they can represent a relatively small cost, the embodied environmental impacts can be significant. Key issues to consider when purchasing paper products include: • Whether the paper comes from sustainable forestry practices (such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified); • Chemicals used during manufacture (for example chlorine bleaching); • Recycled content; and • Recyclability Further information on this subject and full range of factsheets on improving your sustainability are available on the Accommodation Association website www.aaoa.com.au
HoW do I FINd PRoduCT INFoRMaTIoN?
WHeRe To STaRT?
1. Think of sustainable procurement as incremental and start by choosing a small selection of products you regularly purchase that have clear environmental or social impacts that are readily known and understood. 2. When making purchasing decisions it is very important to take a holistic view and not just focus on the initial capital
38 HM The Business of Accommodation
To find out the main environmental and social issues which are relevant to your products and services and the creditability of information about your product, you may need to: 1. Research the company and its products to get an insight into what important aspects need to be considered and how well the company is addressing codes of practice, standards, environmental or social responsibility policy, relevant certifications and/or Environmental Management Systems or guidelines by which they abide.
The Accommodation Association’s Manager of National Operations, MICHael GeoRGeSoN, provides a guide on what operators need to know when it comes to disability discrimination.
• Provide a person with a disability with accommodation on less favourable terms and conditions. For example, giving a person with a disability the least attractive room or not allowing a person to keep his or her guide dog in a room; • Provide the goods, services and facilities in an unfair manner. For example, making insulting remarks while serving a person with a disability or serving a person with a disability after everyone else has been served; and • Refuse access to premises or facilities otherwise available to the general public.
n a recent incident an Australian Paralympian was refused entry with her guide dog to three venues in Sydney’s south west including one motel. Though specific legislation prohibiting such discrimination has been in place for several years, operators continue to fall foul of the law and put themselves at risk of litigation. The Federal Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA) provides protection for everyone in Australia against discrimination based on disability. The DDA makes it illegal to discriminate against someone with a disability across most areas of life including employment, access to premises, provision of services and accommodation. The DDA is broad in its efforts to protect not only the disabled but also those who assist and support them as well as the means by which support may be provided. It covers a disability which people have, have previously had, may develop or are believed to have (for example if someone is believed to have AIDS). The legislation also covers people with a disability who may be discriminated against because they are accompanied by an assistant, a trained animal or they use equipment or an aid, such as a wheelchair or a hearing aid. The DDA also protects people who have some form of personal connection with a person with a disability like relatives, friends, carers and co-workers if they are discriminated against because of that connection or relationship.
WHaT aBouT aCCeSS ISSueS?
A person with a disability has a right to have access to areas available to the general public. This applies to existing places as well as places under construction. To comply with the DDA existing places may need to be modified to be accessible (except where this would involve “unjustifiable hardship”). As a general rule accommodation providers may not have to make alterations to an existing structure unless substantial improvements are being made. The DDA does not require the provision of access to be made if this will cause major difficulties or excessive costs to a business. This would be considered “unjustifiable hardship”. But before deciding that providing access is unjustified, accommodation providers should thoroughly consider how access might be provided and / or consult with experts in this area. To read a Q&A on anti-discrimination legislation visit the Association's website at www.aaoa.com.au disclaimer: Please note that the above does not constitute a full or legal analysis of the subject. Qualified legal representatives may provide a fuller and clearer perspective and advice. Neither the Accommodation Association of Australia nor Michael Georgeson accepts any liability for reliance on this content.
WHaT IS exPeCTed FRoM aCCoMModaTIoN PRoVIdeRS?
The DDA makes it illegal for accommodation providers to discriminate against a person because of his or her disability. A person with a disability has a right to obtain accommodation in the same way as people without disabilities. This means accommodation providers cannot: • Refuse to provide a person with a disability with accommodation or service in a restaurant or access to other services;
Hotels need to be aware of the Government rules on guide dogs
The Accommodation Association’s Workplace Relations Advisor TRISH BaBu outlines how to manage the redundancy process.
The Association’s Workplace Relations team has received several queries regarding redundancy, including whether or not to make an employee redundant and if so, how to carry out the redundancy. It is not uncommon for an employer to seek to portray the wrongful termination of an employee as a “redundancy”. When you terminate an employee’s employment for redundancy, you will be exposed to unfair dismissal liability unless you can demonstrate that the termination was a “genuine redundancy” under the Fair Work Act. The differences between termination of employment and redundancy in particular need to be understood. If a redundancy is not carried out appropriately, the employer could, potentially, be up for unfair dismissal or adverse action claims. Although most businesses are aware of what constitutes a ‘genuine’ redundancy under the Fair Work Act, there is still confusion surrounding the circumstances under which redundancies take place and the complex processes involved. A termination is not a genuine redundancy if: • The operational requirements of the business have not changed and the employer still needs the employee’s job to be done by someone; and • The employer has not followed relevant requirements under the applicable modern award, or other industrial instrument to consult with the employees, and/or their representatives, about the redundancy. This essentially means that once an employee is made redundant, the employer must not employ a person to do the job in the same form and capacity. Termination on this ground has nothing to do with poor performance or misconduct. Furthermore, before making a decision to carry out a redundancy, every employer must carefully consider every source of entitlement for employees and obligations for employers. In order to establish a genuine redundancy, employers must ensure that redundancies include five essential steps. For information on the five step process or to read this article in full visit the Accommodation Association’s website www. aaoa.com.au
operators need to be careful when managing redundancies
New safety laws
New Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws and are now in force in New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory. The remaining states are expected to adopt the new laws in the near future. The new laws differ in many aspects from the old respective state (Occupational Heath and Safety) OHS laws. The new requirements relating to workplace consultation, representation, and issue resolution have changed substantially. As part of the new consultation process, the election of one or more Health and Safety Representatives (HSRs) is mandatory if requested by just one worker. The formation of Health and Safety Committees (HSCs) is required if a HSR so requests. The WHS Act sets out specific powers and functions that a HSR can perform. This includes powers to investigate complaints, inquire into anything that appears to be a workplace health and safety risk, and in some circumstances, direct a worker or workers to cease unsafe work. They
Workplace Relations Consultant Noel TeSkey looks at how new Work, Health and Safety Laws are increasing employee rights in the workplace.
may also issue a Provisional Improvement Notice (PIN) in some circumstances. The issue of a PIN means that safety concerns must be remedied. A worker can refuse to carry out work on their own initiative if they have a reasonable concern that they may be exposed to a serious risk. The WHS regulations compel workplaces to have written procedures for resolving workplace health and safety disputes. The procedures are determined with the agreement of workers, and must meet the minimum requirements set out in the regulations. The new laws also significantly increase the maximum penalties for breaches of the Act. The primary duty of care is no longer upon employers, but upon any “person conducting a business or undertaking” (PCBU). A PCBU will be required to ensure safety, to the extent reasonably practicable, for all workers engaged by the PCBU and all workers whose activities in carrying out work are influenced or directed by the PCBU. Under the WHS Act, a worker is broadly defined to mean a person who carries out work
in any capacity for a business or undertaking and includes employees, outworkers, apprentices, trainees, students gaining work experience, volunteers, contractors or subcontractors and their employees. This is a significant change and has the effect of widening the application of the laws to a broader category of persons than the former state laws. A PCBU must, so far as is reasonably practicable, consult with workers who carry out work for their business or undertaking who are, or are likely to be, directly affected by a work health and safety matter. In consultation with the workers, PCBUs should establish the most effective ways to achieve effective and meaningful consultation. There are certain legislative requirements that must be included in the consultation process. These include a requirement on the PCBU to: • Facilitate the election of a health and safety representative or representatives if at least one worker requests it; and • Establish a health and safety committee if so requested by a health and safety representative, if five or more workers make such a request. For detailed information on obligations relating to consultations under the new Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws or to read this article in full visit the Association’s website at www.aaoa.com.au.
40 HM The Business of Accommodation
fair Work spotlight
The Australian Fair Work Act is in the spotlight for accommodation operators. By TRISH BaBu.
demonstrate reasonable grounds prior to a matter going to conciliation. Employers should not feel that the only way to resolve these applications is by making a financial settlement.
Association members have expressed concerns about the apparent increase in willingness of employees to ‘engineer’ adverse actions and the ease with which this can be done, especially with the spread of legal firms willing to act for employees on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis. The Accommodation Association recommended the onus of proof in adverse action claims to be reversed to fall on the applicant. Further, adverse action claims should be limited to those made to official authorities (e.g. anti-discrimination commissions).
deFINITIoN oF a SMall BuSINeSS eMPloyeR
A small business employer for the purposes of protection from unfair dismissal provisions of the Act (Division 2) is a business that employs fewer than 15 employees at the time. The accommodation industry relies on a large pool of casual employees to meet high staffing fluctuations, thereby placing many small accommodation operators outside of the definition of a small business employer. The submission recommended that under the terms of the Act, a small business should be redefined as one which has a fulltime equivalent of 20 employees or less.
unfair dismissals are a key issue when it comes to the Fair Work act
In February this year the Accommodation Association made a submission for the review of the Fair Work Act 2009. The submission highlights the difficulties experienced by our members in the accommodation sector under the operation of the Fair Work legislation. The submission was made in response to the announcement by the Fair Work Act Review Panel and provided industry specific data and evidence. The issues addressed by this submission are summarised below:
Under the National Employment Standards (NES), Section 64 of the Act permits “award and agreement-free” employees to average their ordinary hours over 26 weeks. Averaging of hours under the modern award applied to the accommodation industry, the Hospitality Industry (General) Award (HIA), is more restrictive, allowing averaging over four weeks. Operators of accommodation businesses require more flexibility because of the seasonal nature of the accommodation industry, which result in high workloads during peak periods, and in some cases, the geographical isolation of the property. The Accommodation Association recommended that Section 64 be amended to allow the averaging of hours over a 52-week period.
aVeRaGING oF HouRS
The experience of the Accommodation Association is that almost all dismissals are finalised at conciliation level with financial settlements. Approximately 30% of all members’ enquiries to the Association are related to termination of employment. Of these, about 7% go to conciliation where almost 100% result in a financial settlement. To the detriment of the business, the industry, the economy and often to fellow work colleagues, members of this Association frequently choose to tolerate unproductive and uncooperative employees rather than face the trauma of the unfair dismissal process and inevitable payment of a financial settlement. Our submission recommended that there is the need for unfair dismissal claimants under the Fair Work Act to
Section 144 of the Act requires modern awards to include a term enabling an employee and employer to agree on an arrangement varying certain award provisions to meet the genuine individual needs of the employer and the individual employee. Generally, Association members are reluctant to use the flexibility provisions provided for under the Hospitality Industry (General) Award for fear of failing to meet the ‘better off overall’ requirement. The test of ‘better off overall’ is often considered to be a subjective one. The Association has recommended that the FWO or some other body to provide assessments and approval of individual flexibility arrangements at the request of the employer. The submission also emphasized the weekend and public holidays penalty rates provided for by the modern Hospitality Industry (General) Award are counterproductive for small businesses, especially as the penalties apply equally to small and larger businesses. But penalty rates are dealt with in detail in a separate submission to the modern award review. The Accommodation Association submits that the above recommendations, if implemented, will go a long way towards improving productivity and efficiency in the accommodation sector, as well as the broader tourism industry. By making some amendments to the Fair Work legislation, we believe, there is an opportunity for the government to promote productivity in the workplace and growth for Australia’s future economic prosperity. n
South Bank star
Interview by James Wilkinson in Brisbane
in Australia. Being next door to it all is something we will not take for granted and are working very closely with the BCEC team.
I think South Bank is the best destination in Brisbane for locals as well
as leisure and corporate travellers and the secret is out. South Bank is no longer for day trippers, it is a destination unto itself.
The popularity of (our modern Australian restaurant) Stone is growing day by day. We have a great retention level of locals both leisure and
corporate from within the precinct, however, we’re now seeing an increase of day trippers finding their way to our side of Grey Street. We capture the majority of guests in our hotel for breakfast and dinner with not only our contemporary and flexible menus, but also with our friendly, warm service.
We’re in the best part of Brisbane and we have modern, spacious apartments with all the luxuries of a fully serviced hotel. I love our
suspended lap pool and the fact that you can laze in the pool and watch the world go by through the two-way window. My other favourite is our high tea on the weekends – its absolutely scrumptious. I love being the food critic and trying everything on the menu.
My Bachelor degree is actually in Journalism, however, whilst study-
Brisbane is kicking major goals with the Australian domestic corporate market and one property benefiting is the Mantra South Bank hotel. To find out more about that segment and the Brisbane market in general, HM sits down with Mantra South Bank General Manager, leaH FeldMaNN.
ing I worked casually at a Parkroyal hotel. When I had completed university and a corporate traineeship was offered to me, I jumped at the chance and have never looked back. I genuinely like looking after people and I love developing individuals and teams and achieving success so hospitality seemed to be the perfect fit. I worked with Accor for a number of years and then joined the Saville Hotel Group which was then merged with Mantra Group. I have worked in a number of Mantra properties across Australia and have decided to make Brisbane my home so my role here as General Manager and as Area Manager for Brisbane has been the perfect opportunity for me. n
The Brisbane corporate market is performing very well to date and the
general outlook we are expecting is an increase in corporate travel in the coming year and beyond. There is minimal significant new supply in the CBD market which Brisbane Hoteliers love as it leads to a secured corporate traveller base especially with the booming mining market. January produced mixed results across Brisbane and we had great results across the board - we were very lucky at Mantra South Bank to accommodate the Brisbane International tennis players and their entourages as well as leisure travellers who were looking to mingle with the stars in our hotel lobby. The South Bank cultural precinct is a fabulous leisure location and we are seeing an increase in guests choosing to stay in our precinct rather than in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Brisbane city.
The leisure market still struggles over the holiday periods in the Brisbane CBD as leisure travellers head to the sand and surf, however, this lends itself to some great accommodation deals that are full of value-adds across Brisbane. Both of our Mantra hotels in Brisbane are seeing an increase in the
Star performer: Mantra South Bank Brisbane
domestic tourism market and this is due mainly to our Mantra brand campaigns (thank you Pat Rafter) as well as our individual hotel leisure campaigns. Victoria, New South Wales and Tropical North Queensland remain our best domestic producers.
We are expecting great things from the expansion of the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (BCEC). I was lucky enough to
see the expansion in the raw and then again on the day of the official opening and it is absolutely amazing with some great intelligent spaces and advanced IT options. The expansion represents forward thinking and certainly places the BCEC at the forefront of meetings and events
42 HM The Business of Accommodation
Mantra South Bank Brisbane’s leah Feldmann
'The expansion represents forward thinking and certainly places the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre at the forefront of meetings and events in Australia'
Swiss Grand Resort and Spa, Bondi Beach
markets provide travellers who tend to come to Australia for shorter periods (4-5 days) and Bondi Beach is more often than not high on their itineraries, as it is one of the most widely known and evocative tourist locales, internationally associated with Australia.
Which markets are performing well for the property at present? Domestically speaking, residential and day
By James Wilkinson
conferences are very popular where we offer team building at Bondi Beach with a range of local Bondi operators. Internationally speaking, the Swiss-Grand has also rolled out Accor’s Optimum Standards for the Chinese market and we are offering services such as Chinese-speaking staff members, country-specific mini-bar items and also breakfast items to make these guests feel quite at home, and their stay more enjoyable with us. We have also translated our entire hotel compendium and offer a hotel taxi card so essential communication is never a barrier. The feedback that we have received from high yielding Chinese Government business has been very positive and they have made references for return trips in the near future.
The property is well known amongst the Accor family for being a leader in Indigenous employment. What are some of the initiatives that have been undertaken of late and which staff have been some of your star performers? The Swiss-Grand Resort and Spa as well as Accor
Accor’s palace by the sea, the Swiss-Grand Resort and Spa Bondi Beach, continues to be a popular hotel for international travellers. But which markets are performing well? HM speaks to General Manager RICHaRd HolT to find out.
Richard, how was Bondi last summer – did the adverse Sydney weather have much of an effect on business by the beach? Yes indeed the adverse weather has had quite
a negative impact on particularly domestic (leisure and business) travellers who predominantly make their weekend arrangements throughout the work week. However, the unusual ‘wintery’ summer weather that we experienced during summer didn't have as much of an impact on conferencing business, as events held at the iconic Bondi Beach are still big drawcards in their own right, such as 'Bondi Winter Magic', and other great events that thrive in the colder months.
It’s well known that Bondi is a popular spot for European travellers… is the high Australian Dollar having a significant impact on business from Europe at present? Yes, the strong Australian Dollar has ramifications
as a whole, are actively committed and passionate about providing Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians with employment opportunities with the aim of enhancing their lives, wellbeing and that of their communities. Star performers include Shane Blackmore being successfully endorsed to take part in our Accor Graduate Management Trainee Program (12-month rotational in F&B, FO graduating as a Supervisor) at Accor’s Sydney Olympic Park Hotels. Another success story is found in Cherie Stubbs-Timbery, Food and Beverage Team Leader at The Swiss-Grand Resort and Spa having been awarded Food and Beverage Associate of the Year at the HM Awards in 2011. Accor’s Indigenous Champion for NSW/ACT, Che Lewer is currently employed as Human Resources Manager at The Swiss-Grand Resort and Spa and thus is actively involved in recruiting, engaging and retaining our Indigenous employees in our hotels in NSW/ACT. Traineeships and Indigenous Job Ready programs have been rolled out nationally in order to enhance employment opportunities and career pathways for Indigenous Australians. In 2012, five Indigenous Food and Beverage Job Ready programs have been scheduled in NSW to further enhance employment opportunities within Accor.
Should hotels across Australia do more when it comes to Indigenous employment like Accor does? Accor is actively involved in establishing strong partnerships in the
for business, but not exclusively for European travellers or solely for Bondi Beach. To combat the reduced arrivals from the European regions, we are currently concentrating on a number of developing Asian markets such as India, Korea and China where Bondi Beach, as an international destination, is highly regarded. These
44 HM The Business of Accommodation
community as well as with job networks to enhance Accor’s recruitment and attraction strategies in NSW/ACT. Accor, as a group, has celebrated numerous successes and truly embrace diversity in our hotels and believe that it is not only the right thing to do, but furthermore, the right way to conduct and grow our business, and most importantly our people. So in essence, yes other hotel chains should become more involved with Indigenous employment so as to provide a wider range of career possibilities, training locations and also to increase the number of Indigenous employees that can find employment within the hospitality industry. We should all be working together to reach this common goal. n
Jewels in the crown
Crown offers arguably three of Melbourne’s finest properties. To find out how they are performing, HM spoke to Crown Melbourne’s Group Executive General Manager – Hotels and Retail, PeTeR CRINIS.
By James Wilkinson
Peter, it’s been another busy sporting period for Melbourne. Did all of the events perform to expectations?
Crown Melbourne enjoyed another bumper Australian Open season this year due to the tournament experiencing record attendance numbers and increasing interest from the international market. We also celebrated Chinese New Year during this period and the three hotels had to effectively manage the high demand for this occasion as well.
Over the last couple of years, it’s been a busy period at Crown with renovations, refurbishments and new product offerings. What have been some of the highlights? The Villas at Crown Towers are an exciting new refurbishment. We invested
a renovated Villa at Crown Towers Melbourne
tling down and occupancy starts improving across the market as a whole? And was Crown Towers affected by the massive increase in inventory? Fortu-
over AUD$20 million in this project and each element of the Villas has been customdesigned to meet the demands of even the world’s most discerning guest. Located on the hotel’s top floors, each Villa has the character of a penthouse residence. The Villas are attended by a team of butlers who are on call 24-hours, and are accessible by three private express lifts. The new Crown Towers and Crown Promenade hotel lobbies have been well received by our patrons as well as the Crystal Club located on the third floor of Crown Towers which offers guests an exclusive and private lounge with an expansive outdoor deck. This year we are looking forward to launching our re-developed Crown Spa which, from viewing initial plans will be nothing short of exceptional and also the Conservatory, our interactive dining restaurant, is currently under renovation and will reopen mid-year.
Some would say that lobby bars are out of fashion but in your lobby, you’ve opened the most exciting bar to open in an Australian hotel in some time. Tell us about the decision to open The Waiting Room and how it has been received by guests and locals alike. We wanted to re-introduce the old world glamour and sophistication that
nately there is enough demand in the Melbourne market that the opening of Crown Metropol did not affect our existing hotel inventory. Each Crown property is unique with varying market segments. For example, Crown Promenade Hotel has a high proportion of meeting delegates and groups that use the adjacent Conference Centre and Crown Towers, for our gaming and VIP guests. Many of our leisure guests stay at Crown to enjoy the unparalleled variety of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment options that are available to them and if their preferred hotel is full generally they are more than happy to experience another Crown property.
There was some industry speculation recently that Crown was looking at constructing a fourth hotel in Melbourne. Is this on the agenda? It is unlikely that we
will be developing a fourth hotel in the Melbourne market.
With all of the new hotels opening, how have you maintained such high service levels in the city? We
was once affiliated with hotel bars and with Neil Perry at the helm; we knew we had the perfect equation. The Waiting Room features unique silver mosaic walls, deep sunken couches, mood lighting and vintage crystal glassware that set a dramatic backdrop for Neil Perry’s first standalone bar. It serves a selection of world class cocktails and beverages along with traditional afternoon tea, which has been extremely popular with patrons. We have been delighted with the glowing feedback that has been received from reviewers, in-hotel guests and the wider community.
Development in Melbourne has slowed down following the opening spree in 2010 and 2011, including Crown Metropol of course. With the new inventory firmly established in the market, how long do you believe it will be before rates start set-
pride ourselves on having the best staff in the industry. A great deal of time in spent during the recruitment process in ensuring that we select people who are willing to deliver consistent exceptional customer service and are passionate about the product they are selling. Furthermore, we understand that our front line employees represent our company, and therefore we need to ensure that they are given the adequate training, recognition and responsibility that they deserve. n
Sky high in hong kong
HM checks in to four of Hong Kong’s leading hotels and finds the latest in technology and design, alongside great food and exceptional service.
By James Wilkinson in Hong kong
THe RITZ-CaRlToN, HoNG koNG
When The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong opened on March 29, 2011, a new benchmark was set for what Marriott’s luxury brand could offer in not just Asia, but across the globe. “The opening of this landmark hotel in Hong Kong was the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication to delivering the very best product, facilities and service in this international gateway city,” said The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company President and Chief Operations Officer, Herve Humler. “Partnering with Hong Kong’s premier developer, Sung Hung Kai Properties, we have been able to create something truly spectacular to welcome our guests not just to the highest hotel in the world, but also to one of the very best hotels in the world. We have taken luxury to new heights in every sense.” The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong occupies floors 102 to 118 at the top of the International Commerce Centre (ICC) and inside are 312 guest rooms, a club lounge, range of bars and restaurants, spa, fitness centre and indoor infinity pool. It’s inside, and a small area out, where the hotel excels. With Hong Kong’s temperamental weather ensuring clouds are constantly rolling in across the Harbour, The Ritz-Carlton simply must stand out when it comes to the rooms, F&B outlets and importantly, service. And that’s exactly what happens when you can’t see more than a foot outside your window. The property’s rooms are both luxuriously appointed and technologically advanced. Expect signature Ritz-Carlton bedding, oversized bathrooms, high-speed WiFi, iPod docking stations, LCD televisions and Blu-ray players. The food and beverage offering is highlighted by Ozone, a bar located on the 118th floor which offers classic and new-world cocktails, Asian
46 HM The Business of Accommodation
tapas and an impressive list of wines by the glass that can be enjoyed inside or out on the world’s highest terrace, where spectacular views (cloud permitting) are the star of the show.
W HoNG koNG
Starwood can be credited for taking the boutique hotel concept global through its hip brand W and what’s on offer in Hong Kong might just be the best that the New York-based chain has produced. From the interior design – a collaboration between Aussie Nic Graham from g+a and Glamorous’ Yasimuchi Morita from Japan – to the service, location and rooftop pool, the W Hong Kong offers everything a guest could want from a W Hotel. “W Hong Kong has a very profound and defined brand position as an innovative, contemporary and design-led hotel,” said Australian expatriate General Manager of W Hong Kong, Peter Hildebrand. “The hotel team is passionate about surprising and delighting our guests, so my aim is to further strengthen the hotel’s appeal through stimulating and expanding the team’s creativity and versatility. “We must also work with the right partners to reach out and integrate the energy and vitality of the W brand into the lives of those in this community that share our passion for design, music and fashion. “Hong Kong is one of the most exciting cities in the world and it has always been my personal favourite [and] we will continue to seek out new ways to deliver the W brand experience in order to match the pace of this fast changing city,” he said. Highlighting the W Hong Kong is the Living Room, a bar attached to the lobby that is light-filled and spacious; Kitchen, a restaurant offering contemporary bistro-style cuisine; the rooftop pool that offers views
Clockwise from left: The Ritz-Carlton Hong kong; The langham, Hong kong; Renaissance Harbourview Hong kong; and W Hong kong
over sprawling West Kowloon; the Sweat fitness centre on level 73; and the guestrooms which offer the latest in technology (including super-fast WiFi) and comfort.
THe laNGHaM, HoNG koNG
HM flew to Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. The leading Asian airline flies to Hong Kong several times daily from across Australia and New Zealand and the author recommends flying in Business Class, which has just been given a complete revamp, including spacious new flatbed seats with 15.4inch personal TVs. The food and wine onboard is real highlight, as is the superlative service. For bookings, visit www.cathaypacific.com
Glamour, elegance and refined service are just three of the many terms you could use to describe one of Hong Kong’s grand dames, The Langham. The charm of the hotel is at the forefront when you first walk into the luxurious lobby – from the signature Langham scent to the marble floors, large bouquets of flowers and touches of gold – and that flows through when you walk into the hotel's rooms and suites, which are highlighted by plush beds, flatscreen televisions, oversized bathrooms and couches. While the lobby and rooms impress, the hotel’s Michelin-starred T’ang Court restaurant is the star of the show at The Langham, which has hotel a number of visiting chefs and wineries from across the globe. Coming up this month (April) is one of the hotel’s most exciting events of the year – a dinner in association with Alfred Gratien Champagne that will see the winery’s ambassador, Olivia Boutault, match wines with the restaurant’s star chef Siu Hin-Chi over a seven course degustation. Great cuisine isn’t just restricted to T’ang Court, with The Bostonian, Main Street Deli and Palm Court all serving some of the best food in town. At Palm Court, it’s all about afternoon tea, something Langham properties are synonymous for across the globe. The
afternoon tea here – which is available from 3:00pm5:00pm Monday to Friday, and from 2:15pm-4:15pm and 4:30pm-6:30pm on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays – features three-tiered platters loaded with sandwiches, cakes, scones served alongside tea, coffee, cocktails and champagne.
ReNaISSaNCe HaRBouRVIeW HoNG koNG
It may not be Marriott’s flagship property in Hong Kong – the Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott have had that sewn up for years – but the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel stands out as one of the most underrated hotels in this city. Most rooms offer uninterrupted views over Victoria Harbour, while the Michelin-starred Dynasty Restaurant is a hidden gem especially throughout Chinese New Year when delicacies are specially prepared for the annual holiday. Sister restaurant at the property, Scala, is known for its Italian fare under the watchful eye of Chef Man. The hotel’s Harbour View Suites – one of eight room sizes on offer – are well appointed and offer a large range of satellite TV channels, iPhone docking stations, highspeed WiFi, and luxurious beds by Sealy. There’s live entertainment on offer in the lobby lounge and the bartenders behind the mahogany can shake up a good Martini or Cosmopolitan. The Renaissance Hong Kong Harbour View’s location in Wanchai is also a major plus, especially with the corporate market. n
They say some things never change. “Each issue, our team of talented writers will bring you the latest trends and developments in the hotel industry on the international front, while keeping you up-to-date on local news, reports and statistics.” That was the original mission statement for HM, penned by then owners Anthony Twibill and John Blondin of The National Publishing Group in May 1997. Fifteen years on, that’s still what we strive to achieve in each edition of HM magazine and we are proud that the publication continues to go from strength to strength thanks to the support of our readers and advertisers. From the first edition – published in August 1997 after the creation of the title just three months prior and which featured an interview with Accor’s Chairman at the time, David Baffsky and advertising from a range of companies including Maginet (now under the NTT DoCoMo umbrella) – HM has been a publication about the accommodation industry by the industry. The HM Awards, now in their tenth year, were created on the same premise in 2003 and keeping the industry informed about the latest news is what we are striving to achieve on a weekly basis with www.hotelmanagement.com.au We are advancing with the industry on the technology front through HMTV video interviews on our website and our conference, AHICE (Australasian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition) is now into its third year. To our readers and advertisers, thank you for your support over the last 15 years and we look forward to partnering with you well into the future. Yours sincerely, The HM magazine team
From the inaugural issue that featured a brand new Crown Towers to our latest edition with Pat Rafter and Bob East on the cover, it’s been an exciting journey throughout the 15 years that HM magazine has been published.
the influential list
From Qantas’ CEO Alan Joyce to Crown’s James Packer, US President Barack Obama, Accor’s Michael Issenberg and Wyndham’s Barry Robinson, HM presents the first ever list of ‘Influential Leaders’ for 2012.
By James Wilkinson Ceo, QaNTaS
When Qantas CEO Alan Joyce took the extraordinary action of grounding the entire Qantas mainline fleet on October 30, 2011 due to ongoing industrial disputes with three unions, he was both praised and criticised by government, industry and business leaders alike. On that fateful Saturday, Joyce said he had no choice but to ground the fleet because customers were fleeing the airline and East Coast Australian routes were down by 25% compared to a year before. What the grounding showed was that the Flying Kangaroo is the backbone of the Australian Tourism Industry and without Qantas, domestic and inbound tourism would suffer a massive blow. Ten years prior, Ansett’s grounding on September 12, 2001 was offset somewhat by the then growth of Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia), which quickly ate up capacity alongside Qantas upgrading East Coast and transContinental routes to the then flagship Boeing 747-400s. Virgin Australia quickly grew to become Australia’s second largest airline, a position it hasn’t looked back from. Virgin is now challenging Qantas in the corporate market, one that the latter can’t afford to lose more market share in. Competition is now firmly back in the pointy end for the first time since Ansett’s demise and Joyce not only has to fend off that challenge, but the ongoing issue of making the international operations profitable. In the first step towards that goal, Qantas (QF) and British Airways (BA) have just started their expanded partnership, which has seen QF stop flying from Bangkok and Hong Kong to London and in return BA ceased flying from Bangkok to Sydney. Next, Qantas ceases flying from Singapore to Mumbai and Auckland to Los Angeles as United States routes become more streamlined – once more services will be operating direct from Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to Los Angeles and Dallas Fort Worth – and India is dropped. What’s clear is that Joyce is doing all he can to protect the long-term profitability of Qantas, particularly the international operations which have been putting a significant dent in the airline’s bottom line, and he’ll drop or reconfigure operations to fit a route and / or market. Will it work? Only time will tell, but so far all signs suggest Joyce is the right man to make that happen.
50 HM The Business of Accommodation
Qantas’ Ceo alan Joyce
What’s clear is that Joyce is doing all he can to protect the long-term profitability of Qantas
the influential list.
CHaIRMaN, CRoWN lIMITed
Wind the clock back to 1997, when the Crown Entertainment and Casino Complex opened in Southbank, changing Melbourne’s skyline forever. A complex that was perhaps the most controversial ever seen in the Victorian capital has continued to evolve over the last 15 years and now features several of the city’s best restaurants and three of Australia’s leading hotels. The recent AUD$85 million refurbishment has put Crown Towers Melbourne in the top 10 hotels in Asia, while the striking architecture of Crown Metropol gave the city an iconic building that’s a city leader in its upper-upscale segment. A project that was an ongoing vision of his late father Kerry, James has continued the legacy and seemingly won’t stop building what is one of Asia-Pacific’s greatest empires. His latest dream, a Crown Entertainment Complex in Sydney on the harbour foreshore at Barangaroo (see p10), like the original development in Melbourne, is creating controversy. But it’s a billion-dollar project that can’t be ignored by the New South Wales State Government and the Premier Barry O’Farrell has recognised that. At HM, we don’t back the arrival of more gaming tables or poker machines but we do support projects that are important to the accommodation and tourism industry in Australia and Mr Packer has to be applauded for his desire to develop a hotel that would create jobs for Australians and bring more travellers to Sydney. Well done Mr Packer and good luck.
Crown limited’s Chairman James Packer
united States President Barack obama
uNITed STaTeS PReSIdeNT
sees travel as a spur to create more jobs for Americans and with auto manufacturing still suffering a downturn United States, travel is the shining light. “Every year, tens of millions of tourists from all over the world come and visit America,” Obama said. “And the more folks who visit America, the more Americans we get back to work. We need to help businesses all across the country grow and create jobs, compete and win.” The first step in winning more tourists from the emerging markets? His government has pledged to increase non-immigrant visa processing capacity in China and Brazil by 40% in 2012.
When United States President Barack Obama held a press conference outside Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, on January 19, 2012, tourism was suddenly pushed to the top of the list in the highest office in the world. Few global leaders have put tourism in that position – New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key is an exception – so when Obama announced to the world that the United States wants to be the world’s top travel destination, the global tourism industry had no choice but to stop and listen. President Obama’s target? The outbound markets that the rest of the world wants – China, India and Brazil. Obama
52 HM The Business of Accommodation
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Accor’s success in Thailand, Indonesia and Indochina in the midscale segment is to be marvelled at and their footprint now bodes well for capturing those continually growing outbound markets
CHaIRMaN aNd CHIeF oPeRaTING oFFICeR, aCCoR aSIa-PaCIFIC
Accor globally has some significant development goals and the region leading the way for the Paris-based chain is Asia-Pacific, an area under the watchful eye of well-respected Hotelier Michael Issenberg. Developing both new properties and market share in AsiaPacific is a major focus for Accor and indeed, capturing travellers from the region’s three main emerging markets – China, India and Indonesia – is one of the company’s major goals and they are performing well on both fronts. Where Accor is excelling in the region is growth in South East Asia, an area that some major chains are not able to grow was well in. Accor’s success in Thailand, Indonesia and Indochina in the midscale segment is to be marvelled at and their footprint now bodes well for capturing those continually growing outbound markets. Travellers do want brands they can trust and developing brands in emerging markets will act as a springboard for pulling them in when they travel across the region and the globe. Since his move to Singapore several years ago, Issenberg has helped grow the Accor business leaps and bounds and his leadership has been praised by colleagues and peers alike.
accor’s Coo for australia, Simon McGrath
accor’s Michael Issenberg
CHIeF oPeRaTING oFFICeR, aCCoR auSTRalIa
While Issenberg sets the tone for Asia-Pacific, it would be remiss to talk about leadership at Accor without including Simon McGrath, who has just been promoted from Vice President to Chief Operating Officer for Accor in Australia. Over the last three years in particular, McGrath has shown exceptional leadership in both growing the company and initiating several major programs, including the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for Indigenous employment and rolling out the service standards program for Chinese and Indian travellers. McGrath was also instrumental in the recent acquisition of Mirvac Hotels and Resorts, which will see up to 48 hotels (6,100 rooms) join the network at the end of June. Integrating thousands of staff, almost 50 hotels and five brands into the network is no easy task, but McGrath is leading the company (with former franchise head Dino Mezzatesta’s assistance) with the right foot forward. He told HM one of the greatest parts of the Mirvac deal is the staff that come with the hotels. He knows the high calibre of staff Accor is getting and you can bet McGrath won’t waste this once-in-a-decade opportunity.
54 HM The Business of Accommodation
the influential list.
NeW ZealaNd PRIMe MINISTeR
Governments move ministers around like chess pieces in some countries, so it’s more than impressive that New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key still hasn’t given away his tourism portfolio since he was elected in 2008. Making tourism a priority in his pre-election campaign was a promise he hasn’t let go of and having a leader push tourism on every international trip will only continue to pay dividends for New Zealand tourism on a global scale. Key’s leadership through some tough times has been a driver for the country to help pick up the pieces from earthquakes, tornadoes and oil spills. The Rugby World Cup was a winner on and off the field for New Zealand, but 2012 will be an important one for the nation’s hotels and resorts given there’s no huge event to automatically drive business. Key’s insistence that tourism stays in the top portfolio will now be as important as ever as rate growth across the country’s hotels remains flat. He’s been pushing for simpler immigration procedures for trans-Tasman travel and this is the year it needs to happen. There should be no more waiting in huge immigration queues when travelling from Sydney to Auckland – simplifying check-in, immigration and customs wait-times is imperative in New Zealand becoming a more popular as a long-weekend destination from the East Coast of Australia. Mr Key knows this and soon his country will be thanking him for championing the cause.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John key
Key’s insistence that tourism stays in the top portfolio will now be as important as ever as rate growth across the country’s hotels remains flat
VIRGIN GRouP FouNdeR & CHaIRMaN
Sir richard Branson
Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson
Few are as passionate about travel as Sir Richard Branson. The Founder and Chairman of Virgin took a gamble when he launched Virgin Atlantic on June 22, 1984 and now, almost 30 years on, the airline continues to be a global leader thanks to onboard innovation (a high tea service is about to be introduced), service, lounges and well-positioned marketing campaigns. Locally, he helped start Virgin Blue (now Virgin Australia), he owns an island off Noosa (Makepeace, with former Virgin Blue CEO Brett Godfrey) and he has a well-known desire to land a property in the future for his Virgin Limited Edition resort collection. That group of properties – which includes Kasbah Tamadot in Morocco, Ulusaba in South Africa, The Lodge in Verbier and Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands – has become one of the most exclusive resort collections in the world. We can expect big things from Branson and Virgin in 2012, including the potential launch of Virgin Galactic and the continued growth locally of Virgin Australia, an airline the entrepreneur still has a significant stake in.
We can expect big things from Branson and Virgin in 2012
McEvoy has proven that Tourism Australia can capture the business through imaginative campaigns and increased international market presence
MaNaGING dIReCToR, TouRISM auSTRalIa
There’s a bit of pressure on Tourism Australia’s Andrew McEvoy this year. He’s charged with slowing the tide of Aussies vacationing overseas and has been told by industry executives that we need more travellers from the key emerging markets of China and India. But McEvoy is the man to do that. He has proven that Tourism Australia can capture the business – think Oprah’s farewell tour that saw a studio audience tour the nation and watched by hundreds of millions, along with successful Australian Tourism Exchange (ATE) events – through imaginative campaigns and increased international market presence. Tourism Australia has also partnered with airlines, especially Jetstar in Japan, and he’s working hard to help bring an Indian airline direct to Sydney or Melbourne. Capturing a greater share of the emerging markets is going to be a challenge, especially with United States President Barack Obama committing to faster tourist visa processing times. But increased promotion in the emerging markets is working and McEvoy told HM a number of concepts are in the works for 2012 that will assist in keeping Australia high on the international traveller wish list.
Tourism australia’s andrew Mcevoy
Ceo, ToGa HoSPITalITy
Toga Hospitality’s Ceo, Rachel argaman
Over the last decade, Toga Hospitality has created some big waves in the Australasian accommodation industry. From humble beginnings, Toga has built a portfolio of over 5,500 rooms in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Denmark and Hungary under the Adina, Medina, Vibe and Travelodge brands. Leading from the top is Rachel Argaman, a former winner of the HM Magazine Australian Hotelier of the Year gong at the HM Awards and one-time star of reality show ‘Undercover Boss’. Argaman has a strong following amongst Toga staff and she’s continues to grow the company’s brands through developing new projects that are owned and managed by Toga. New serviced apartment hotel developments in the Sydney suburbs of Baulkham Hills, Bondi Beach and Mascot will help drive further growth this year, as will strong face increases that were flagged in the February edition of HM. What sets Toga apart from the rest? “Toga Hospitality has always been an operator that thinks like an owner,” she said. In this environment that’s seen a lack of development, it’s no surprise that Toga keeps on growing.
56 HM The Business of Accommodation
Wyndham's Barry Robinson
the influential list.
aLSo watCh IN 2012
Peppers is one of the hottest brands in the market and it’s setting the scene for what’s expected to be a big 2012 for Mantra Group, led by CEO Bob east. Look for some new city Peppers properties to pop up this year, but it’s not just about the retreats brand for the company because thanks to the association with tennis star Pat Rafter, the mother Mantra brand is also firing on all cylinders for East and his team. Quest Serviced Apartments’ Chairman Paul Constantinou has started a new division of the company aimed at seeking additional investment. Quest has well over 100 properties throughout Australia and the mining boom is providing exponential growth opportunities. Former Flying Kangaroo executive turned Virgin Australia CEO John Borghetti is going after Qantas’ corporate market share with all guns blazing and it is working because Virgin is capturing a greater share of the lucrative business market thanks in part to Qantas’ grounding. The airline has more Airbus A330s coming in from Toulouse and the challenge is only starting to warm up. Watch this space. Changes at the helm have seen Trent Fraser take over at Choice Hotels as the CEO for Australasia. His first challenge, he told HM, is that “near enough won’t be good enough” when it comes to property standards. Last year was a busy one for Retirement Assets Limited’s Graham Wilkinson, who added two more New Zealand hotels to his collection in 2011 – the former Holiday Inn Wellington and The Westin Auckland Lighter Quay. He subsequently did a deal with Rydges for the management of the Holiday Inn and The Westin has just become a Sofitel with Accor. Expect more from Wilkinson this year, who has given the New Zealand hotel market a major shake-up. The Accommodation Association of Australia’s CEO Richard Munro and Tourism Accommodation Australia’s Managing Director Rodger Powell continue to be the talk of the industry thanks to their continued lobbying on Governmental issues and championing causes for properties across the country. Two powerful associations can only be a good thing and the accommodation industry’s voice has never been louder. Starwood Pacific Hotels’ Regional Vice President Sean Hunt has been helping drive Sheraton growth in the region and the new hotels in Melbourne and New Caledonia are igniting interest. Add the Luxury Collection signings of Lilianfels and Echoes in Katoomba alongside possible Aloft signings and its set to be a big year for Hunt and the Starwood team.
Ceo, WyNdHaM VaCaTIoN ReSoRTS aSIa-PaCIFIC
Barry Robinson is a happy man. It’s not because the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup, nor is it because he gets to surf on a stretch of Gold Coast sand on any given day of the week. He’s happy because Wyndham is the brand everyone is talking about. The model that Wyndham is using for expansion in Australasia has many hotel chains wondering if they will keep their apartment hotels. Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia-Pacific needs more inventory as timeshare continues to grow at a rapid pace and as such the company is buying up apartments. In those projects, Wyndham is also picking up the management agreement for its hotel business (Wyndham Hotel Group) and that’s equating to exponential growth on both the vacation and management sides. Most management companies in Australasia don’t have the ability to purchase inventory, let alone agreements, and right now that is putting Robinson and Wyndham in a very strong position.
The model that Wyndham is using for expansion in Australasia has many hotel chains wondering if they will keep their apartment hotels
Ten products capturing our attention this month.
1 Gilchrist and Soames’ new BeeKind collection, available from Amenities Australia, www.amenitiesaustralia.com. 2 Penfolds’ 2012 release of Bin wines, including the Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz, which is up to its 50th consecutive release, www.penfolds.com. 3 Bathroom amenity dispensers from Jean Charles Holdings, www.hoteldispensers.com.
Nespresso’s new, highvolume Aguila machine,
5 Monkey Shoulder blended malt Scotch whisky, available from William Grant & Sons, www.monkeyshoulder.com.
58 HM The Business of Accommodation
The stackable ‘plus’ tub chair from Pedrali, now available from Nufurn, www.nufurn.com.au.
6 Pickwick Pyramid Tea Bags, available from Douwe Egberts, www.douweegberts.com.au. 7 New release cushions in a range of colours from HotelHome Australia, www.hotelhome.com.au. 9
Compass’ five-litre pedal bin from Weatherdon, www.weatherdon.com.au.
10 Bilpin Original Cider, made from juicy apples in the small town of Bilpin, 93km west of Sydney, www.bilpincider.com
HM assembles an international cast of Hoteliers, technology consultants, architects and designers to uncover the some of the latest trends in hotel rooms worldwide.
INTeRVIeWS By JaMeS WIlkINSoN
By Claus Sendlinger
Our decade has been described as the ‘turbulent teens’. In reaction to uncertain economic dynamics, unparalleled original solutions in the space of art and design have cropped up, one of the most popular being the pop-up retail and art phenomenon. An instant success, the idea plays with exactly what we are looking for right now: functionality, value, story and innovation. While this concept has been around for a while, we at Design Hotels see its shift to hospitality as a natural and inevitable progression. So in December 2011, Papaya Playa, a Design Hotels Project was launched. A pop-up resort on a 900-meter stretch of virgin Caribbean coast (in Mexico), the idea was to create a transitory, yet deeply culturally-rooted experience. We’ve brought in like-minded partners to create the right atmosphere, be it with food, bar or mini-markets. Guests add their own flavour to the experience and we hope to create something authentic and truly original. I could imagine that there will be more pop-up hotels around the world in the future.
TReNdS To WaTCH
I think authentic craftsmanship is making a major comeback. Outsourced mass production is giving way to meticulously, often locally, handcrafted pieces. At our new member hotel The Great Getaway Medina for example, every furniture piece was designed by local craftsmen. Hoteliers are also increasingly using local sources to find furnishings instead of buying them from design outlets. For instance, at our member hotel in London, Town Hall Hotel and Apartments, 70% of the furniture is vintage pieces collected from dealers and vintage shops.
I think increased convenience for the guests will play a major role. During my recent travels I stayed at a hotel and when I opened the drawer, I found all the European technology gadgets I could imagine. Increased technology like pre-loaded iPods, 3D TVs and smart glass bathroom walls are also becoming more prevalent.
For me, there’s no 'one' best hotel room. Sometimes it’s in the form of a hut on a beach and sometimes it’s the contemporary version of a grand hotel room like at The Dolder Grand or the Gramercy Park Hotel. Claus Sendlinger is the Founder and CEO of Design Hotels
60 HM The Business of Accommodation
By Joseph Pang
design Hotels' Papaya Playa in Tulum, Mexico
Furniture has always been one of the most important components in a hotel room design. With a hotel room being a very compact living space combining various functionalities to meet guest expectation, this process of furniture design for a hotel room is most critical as one has to consider the look, the comfort, the functionality and maintenance, plus the cost. If one can describe the bed as being the soul of a hotel room, then the furniture makes the personality of the room. A most important consideration when designing furniture in a hotel room is that these pieces have to look welcoming and not like a museum display. Like all of our projects, custom-designed furniture is definitely the most important element in the successful functioning of the guest rooms. In satisfying the guest’s specific needs and yet trying to break new ground, we analyse the specific needs of the project and come up with different design solutions, basically challenging all conventional approaches until the time that we feel a new solution has been found. The end result is both aesthetically and functionally satisfying and most importantly, a happy client.
TReNdS To WaTCH
Into 2012 the hotel guest room design trend will still be modern style, and new technology and new gadgets. Sustainability and being environmentally friendly are high on the agenda in developed countries, including Australia. When it comes to modern style, it is a matter of style gurus arguing whether white is the new black or black is the new white. For sure, architects and designers all over the world are creating fluid new forms and spaces everyday as hotel operators are definitely looking for interiors with less maintenance and smaller energy bills. Apart from pursuing high style and new technology, environmental and sustainability issues are also getting more attention in these places.
With a lot of building activity going on in China and Asia in the past couple of years, one may find some upcoming superstars (gradually moving to world scene) doing very interesting projects in the region. My favourite is Woha, a Singapore-based architectural practice that are very creative in what they do. I am not sure if there is a hotel room that can be described as the best. As all hotels are designed with constraints resulting in these being standardised boxes, large and small. All hotel rooms are as good as how it is being dressed-up and laid-out. A hotel guest can comment which room feels more comfortable or which room looks more classy and the hotel operator can comment on which room requires less house keeper to look after. From my point of view, the best hotel room is your own home where you can eat and sleep and entertain and housework is not required. Joseph Pang is the Owner of Joseph Pang Design Consultants (JPDC)
designed by Joseph Pang: Grand Hyatt Melbourne
lights, camera, action: the new W london leicester Square
By Fraser Hickox
The growing market sector is the Y Generation. This is a group who no longer carry a watch and refer to their personal communications device for time and who carry their own technology which they update regularly. Young Japanese, for example, change their mobile phones every 4- to 6-months driven by fashion and peer pressure. Likewise is the emergence of the iPhone which to a large degree is driven by peer pressure rather than functionality. It is not easy to wow this community but give them the bandwidth and they are delighted. Similarly, television is in a huge state of flux because with increased bandwidth, alternative access [on iPads, laptops and so on], is eroding the traditional terrestrial market that broadcasters hold. For example, every month I am in Milan and London for up to a week in each location and it is great that I can watch TV from Hong Kong, the US and Australia rather than the local offering, or I can go to youtube and set up a play list, but again it is a matter of available time. The guest room telephone has now become that 'thing' in the room that no one uses except for room services. It is replaced by a wide range of options much of which the guest carries. My next generation of telephones converts the line two button to Skypeout services, but I suspect it has already had its time Skype video has enormous potential in guest rooms to call partners, kids and the company. The latest LED TVs are offering this facility on domestic TVs but do not consider it appropriate for the hotel industry. The real issue is the inability to offer an auto erase function to purge information at the end of each session. Unfortunately the technically informed in Korea have not considered this appropriate for hotel rooms so the unwelcome emergence of a yet another new box in the room to perform this task. All television technologies do not remain static. The next generation of television HD technology will require a 120mb stream which together with growing internet bandwidth demands will see a shift to telco technologies away from the dated and expensive enterprise networks. Hotels in various locations are now installing fiber optics employing GPON protocols in anticipation. The revenue models are changing. Gone are the days of inhouse movies and all the menu driven services previously offered, in its place is the demand for bandwidth and more bandwidth but even this will suffer pressure and many hotels are now offering a tiered service where basic internet access is provided free with an upgrade prompt option. It is surprising how many will take up the internet package justified as a legitimate office expense and which gives them access to the on line TV services plus all their communications needs. It is argued that the mainstay of hotel television lies in the adult content, however there is now thousands of hours on the internet which in many cases appeals to the operators who do not like to be associated with this. I liken this to the telephone… the guest can call their mother or the heavy breathing Suzy around the corner. To a lesser degree, although growing particularly in resorts, are services like Apple TV where guests subscribe to their own services.
62 HM The Business of Accommodation
Sign of the times: at aloft Bangkok - Sukhumvit 11, guests receive a Samsung Galaxy when they check in that controls the room, including lighting and apple TV
'Gone are the days of three colour lighting, but in its place is a sophisticated new technology emerging which when installed correctly rewards the user with a long maintenance cycle, substantially reduced energy consumption and heat load'
I have recently visited hotels that provide an iPad or similar in their rooms to perform some fairly basic functions, which in my view, is fraught with problems. I was confronted with this in Delhi where a hotel was considering this addition. When asked what information they planned to include there was a menu of items normally found in the printed book usually thrown in the desk drawer for the duration of my stay. A guest carrying their own touch technology have no interest but an interesting opportunity may present itself as a downloadable app, however, it still has to have a compelling need for its use. In Delhi I loaded a street directory that will enable an destination entry in roman characters and display in Hindi. Yes Google has a similar function but anyone who has travelled in an suspension deficient Indian taxi with a driver that can barely see will appreciate the need for font size and for further complication the destination may be better known by a previous building long demolished. Lighting has become an interesting subject, particularly the use of LEDs. Gone are the days of three colour lighting, but in its place is a sophisticated new technology emerging which when installed correctly rewards the user with a long maintenance cycle, substantially reduced energy consumption and heat load. Generally while LEDs can be more expensive, the payback over regular lighting is about 12 months depending on usage but offers a life over years. There are now a number of suppliers, but be cautious buying these as there a now a number of low cost alternatives that will quickly fail and worse change colour during their short life. The four main patent holders are now reducing prices and offering competitive options for bulk users. Finally, technology is not just about the latest electronics or the new app which generally have a very limited life. There is a growing awareness of sensation presented in many forms including fabric and surface texture which needs to be considered by designers. A new sensation, may lie in a means of refreshing and repair after a hard days’ work. A hotel I am now working on has done away with the bathtub which is rarely used and in its place a power shower that is based on a sloping wall where jets come from every direction. I wonder through when cortex stimulation currently under testing by Sony in Los Angeles and at the National Health Sciences laboratory in Chicago will offer a more pleasing sleep or eating experience. Computers are now old technology. Welcome the next generation. Fraser Hickox is Managing Director of The Conceptual Group and Managing Director of Hospitality Laboratories.
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Wildman Wilderness lodge's rooms were originally used at Wrotham Park Station in Queensland
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By Grant Hunt
The recycling idea was a win-win for both Wrotham Park Station and Wildman Wilderness Lodge. It came about after many failed attempts to make the feasibility of building on the remotely located Wildman site stack up. We knew the site had some unbelievable natural attributes – wild and untamed – but the seasonality and requirement for self-contained infrastructure kept the feasibility challenging. When we had the opportunity to acquire the Wrotham assets at well below replacement cost and the numbers fell into place a little easier. But the most important aspect of all was that the rooms and buildings that we were recycling were a perfect fit for the Wildman location. It also meant that the beautiful Wrotham buildings got a second life. This point is extremely important in showcasing natural environments and if more recycling is done in the future, it should be done equally for financial and ‘fit’ reasons. We are certainly keeping our eyes open for similar opportunities.
TReNdS To WaTCH
Not that it’s specific to 2012, because the hotel world has been getting better at it for some time, but guests and especially discerning travellers, will continue to seek out bespoke room design – quirky interiors which showcase originality and flair and are also relevant to the location. Something completely different to home but maybe even a few ideas for use at home in the future.
19 Distribution Place Seven Hills NSW 2147 Australia +61 2 9620 9888 +61 2 9620 9366 firstname.lastname@example.org www.amenitiesaustralia.com www.gilchristsoames.com
Design is improving all the time. We are interested in how the Alaskans and Canadians can make a tent comfortable in freezing conditions and how they efficiently heat a space that ought not hold heat. We are interested in all sorts of advancements in sustainable technology and how lightweight structures can be made secure in high wind areas. There are a lot of things possible that would have been foolish ten years ago. We like the idea of lower cost, lightweight construction with strong thematic design elements that may enable projects to get a start in highly seasonal or marginal areas. We never stop testing and we never tire of learning.
The tents at Jacks Camp in the Kalahari, Botswana. It makes you feel like you are one of only a handful of people on the planet and stepping in Livingstone’s footsteps. Although I recently stayed at both Saffire in Tasmania and Wolgan Valley in New South Wales and they are both indeed world-class rooms. Grant Hunt is the owner and founder of Anthology.
64 HM The Business of Accommodation
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By Pedro Theye
The Hilton in space, as depicted in Stanley kubrick's 2001: a Space odyssey
oversized bath tubs are a feature to look for in hotel room design during 2012
In Stanley Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ the Director depicted tourist orbiting the earth in sleek rotating hotels. In the late 60s when his film was released surely most audiences would have thought that by 2012 technology would have advanced enough to make it a reality. Space hotels may still be in the future but technology is skipping along quickly and guest accommodation in all hospitality genres have to keep up with stiff competition and changing trends. Most will agree that the first ten years of this new millennium saw the greatest innovations in hotels and resorts being built in the Middle East, but in this new decade hospitality developments in Asia seems to be dominating. While in the West, the global economic situation is driving hotel groups to buy up distressed properties, which has resulted in a reduction of new construction. Many of these newly acquired hotels and resorts will need to be refurbished to follow their new brand standards, giving operators an opportunity to be innovative. Some of the guest room trends I’ve seen in 2012 include a shift from the previously dominant earthy red colour schemes to the new dark grey/purple for accents, scatters, and so on. Technology continues to have an impact in accommodation particularly with the rapid evolution of TVs which went from CRTs to flat screens to flat panels to LCDs to LEDs to the latest, Internet TVs all in a span of a decade. Some of the innovations we are including in our hotel designs incorporate sound isolating pocket doors which dampen corridor noise. Some amenities such as small conference rooms are increasing in numbers to satisfy executive retreats as well as multifunctional suites to keep up with evolving business teleconferencing requirements and presentation or party room for hire. The increasing trend of integrating vacation ownership apartments within hotels is giving guests additional options including kitchen facilities and multiple bedrooms. This adaptation has seen the installation of commercial-grade cooking appliances to various durable counter tops. One bench-top material which has worked well recently is the use of quartzite stone which is as hardwearing as granite with the aesthetic appeal of marble.
66 HM The Business of Accommodation
Many hotels and luxury resorts are putting more emphasis on their ensuites to create the ‘wow factor’. Recently on the Gold Coast [while at Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia-Pacific], we incorporated antique framed mirrors over marble basins with a pendant light over a round tub. T frame o the hinterland views, we used a large picture window with contrasting curtains. Ensuites are a great place to impress guests by giving them amenities which are convenient but also out of the ordinary. The future trends in hospitality guest suites will hopefully include the evolution of the mini or bar fridge, which has not made much progress in decades. Also ‘green’ or sustainable products, materials and finishes will become standard. Some of the proposed designs for hotels of the future depict interiors which better resemble sterile hospital rooms, but I believe timber, stone and fabric will continue to be used in the future as we will always be more comfortable with natural finishes. Advancements in digital artwork or potentially futuristic hologram TVs will do away with printed collateral and brochures which will be seen as archaically wasteful. In the future, the hotels may even offer mattresses filled with flowing rhythmic air to that play on your synesthesia, guaranteeing a good night’s sleep. It is difficult to predict the changes in guest room design far into the future as some of them will likely be linked to advancements in medical technology which might do away with handicapped accessibility requirements or potentially the rise in mutated bed bugs or virus strains might impose more stringent requirements for sterilised bathrooms and bedding. For the near future, hotel groups would continue to benefit by reviewing and acting on guest comment cards and adapt where they can make improvements to their accommodation. One example was the four bedroom presidential suite at the Wyndham Resort in Wanaka, New Zealand where we designed two master suites in one unit, catering to guests who enjoy vacationing with close friends or family, avoiding the issue of who gets the best room. Due to the success of that layout we incorporated the unit type into the design of a new presidential villa in their Fiji Resort, which will also use a number of innovations promoting the company’s sustainability goals. Green initiatives are a growing part of every hotel group’s property development initiatives in varying degrees but the ones that are being incorporated most often have a financial benefit to the company’s bottom line. While being environmentally friendly is always going to be fashionable there are guest accommodations which reach the pinnacle of luxury. Some would say the most luxurious hotel room in the world is the Ty Warner Penthouse at the Four Seasons in New York but in my opinion I prefer the Imperial Suite of Park Hyatt Vendôme in Paris. I believe it is best balance of elegance and modern amenities available, set in the most beautiful city. While we continue to wait for that floating hotel in the sky to experience an ethereal ‘wow factor’ we can strive to achieve an earthly version by creating guest rooms which evoke a visual surprise, updated and easy to use technology, a quiet sleep and maybe even a pleasantly unusual setting. n Pedro Theye is the Director of Hospitality Design Winter Street Architects, based in Boston. He was formerly the Senior Design Project Manager at Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia-Pacific.
under the sheets
HM dives under the sheets to uncover four of the best beds and a leading mattress topper found in hotels across the region. By JaMeS WIlkINSoN
SHeRaToN SWeeT SleePeR
According to Starwood, the Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, made locally by Sealy of Australia (and by Sealy globally) is “designed to eliminate uncomfortable pressure points that cause tossing and turning” with a promise that “it will improve your circulation for a better night’s sleep”. It was first introduced in 2002 and has been a consistent sales pitch for the brand, and Sealy, since the beds were rolled out on a global level. “The Sheraton Sweet Sleeper mattress is up there with some of the highest quality product manufactured in the Australian bedding market,” says Sealy of Australia’s National Sales Manager, Antony Raiteri. Visit www. sheraton.com and www.sealy.com.au
Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed at the Sheraton Fiji Resort
One area of expertise, one single focus.
Since 1993, AHS has been providing outsourced housekeeping services to the accommodation industry. In that time we’ve built up a team with exclusive expertise in this area. This means we’re able to provide you with a quality and standard of service that your hotel guests expect you to provide, at a more affordable price than the in-house service. Which then leaves you free to focus on what you do best – running a great hotel. For more information on AHS Hospitality, please call 1800 026 036 or visit www.ahsgroup.com.au
RydGeS dReaM Bed
Australia’s Amalgamated Holdings Limited (AHL) hasn’t let the big brands steal the bedding thunder – they have been producing their own product, the Rydges dream Bed, in partnership with AH Beard. “The Dream Bed, designed as a premium product to suit and compliment the Rydges brand, has been an integral part of the product differentiation providing Rydges with a competitive advantage and the guest with a fantastic night of sleep,” says AH Beard’s National Commercial Manager, Jenny Clifton. Visit www. rydges.com.au and www.ahbeardcommercial.com.au
The Rydges dream Bed is found across australia and New Zealand, including at Rydges World Square in Sydney
Sofitel’s SoBed (formerly MyBed) features a mattress made for the local market by Sleepmaker and according to Accor Hotels, it is “a big, ultra cozy bed with a feather and down duvet and a top-mattress to wrap you up in soft, cozy comfort that very soon you will not be able to do without”. As the Sofitel brand has crept further up the luxury scale, the bedroom has not been forgotten with a quality focus constantly on the mattress and bedding products to ensure that perfect night’s sleep. Visit www.sofitel.com and www.sleepmaker.com.au
The SoBed at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth The ‘new’ Park Hyatt Sydney features the Grand Bed
HyaTT GRaNd Bed
Under the sheets at Hyatt’s properties worldwide, including the recently refurbished Park Hyatt Sydney, is the Grand Bed, manufactured by Sealy. “This mattress is a benchmark for commercial bedding in Australia and the global brand standard for Hyatt properties worldwide” says Sealy of Australia’s National Sales Manager, Antony Raiteri. “In Sydney, it was a privilege to be involved in the extensive upgrading of the property, which has transformed the hotel into one of the best in the world.” Visit www.park.hyatt.com and www.sealy.com.au
Superior product: The Cloud
It would be remiss to be talk about great beds without mentioning The Cloud, a product that has been increasing in popularity since it was first released in 2008 by HotelHome Australia (a company dates back to 1984). “The Cloud by HotelHome has set the benchmark for hotel feather bed toppers in many of Australia’s leading hotels and boutique properties, including Hilton Brisbane, Lake House Daylesford, The Byron at Byron, Capella Lodge on Lord Howe Island and more,” says HotelHome Australia CEO Gary Coman. Visit www.hotelhome.com.au
Sealy Posturepedic Dynasty Series represents the best in luxury through advanced comfort, support and durability. It combines orthopaedic research to provide a sleep system that is superior in design and quality for you and your customers. Call Sealy Commercial...your success is our business
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The Best in Luxury
RodeRICk eIMe looks at the latest innovations in channel management.
ou’ve read this countless times here in HM and on other sites, yet the online channel management discussion will not subside. Hotels, humble B&Bs and entire chains still grapple with the difficult balance of maintaining rate and preserving brand integrity while filling rooms in an increasingly hectic online environment. “Channel management has become a mainstream issue for hotels,” says Paul Richer, a Senior Partner of UK-based travel technology consultancy, Genesys. “As more and more online distribution channels have been coming on-stream, such as the growing number of bedbanks and online travel agents (OTAs), hotels have been faced with the issue of where best to place their limited bedstock. “If a hotel attempts to distribute its bedstock through poorly performing channels, it runs the risk of being left with empty rooms or having to drastically reduce its room rates. With so many channels now available, it is difficult for a hotel to know which way to turn.” Richer identifies the prime concern facing hoteliers, but some believe the issue is approaching crisis level and Hoteliers risk making kneejerk decisions in response. In its latest ‘Hotel Reservations and Distribution Technology Review', Genesys highlights the new breed of technology suppliers automating the task of channel management using the latest connectivity techniques to control multiple channels through a single interface. “The global hotel market is at a tipping point. Booking windows have shrunk from weeks to days,” says EZYield’s General Manager, James Filsinger. “And the increase in mobile bookings is leaving hotels behind who are trying to stick with the old ways of managing distribution channels. “We pioneered hotel channel management when we introduced the first automated system in 2002 and now we provide integrated hotel connectivity solutions to more than 4,000 hotels in 96 countries.” David Williams is SiteMinder’s General Manager of Sales and Marketing, a company that offers a specialist, industry-leading software solution called Channel Manager. “There is a strong push amongst properties of all sizes in the industry for full two-way integration between their channel manager and Property Management System,” he says. “This integration has benefits for both sides of the supply chain – for Hoteliers, the streamlining and automating of the distribution business process results in higher revenues, lower costs of acquisitions and a healthier bottom line, allowing staff to focus on adding value to the business rather the on the manual processing of data; and for distribu-
tion channels, they gain direct access to leading systems promoting rate and inventory parity as well as new customer acquisition targets.” Leading independent boutique property, the Emporium Hotel in Brisbane, acknowledges these challenges. “One of the main challenges of online channel management for small hotels is an increasing number of distribution channels and the contractual requirement to provide price parity, which can make it difficult to target specific markets using different price points and promotions,” says Emporium Hotel's General Manager, Peter Savoff. “The greater the number of channels the more difficult it also becomes to monitor availability and allocations across each of these channels. This can result in over-bookings or vacancies if allocations are reduced too early. “Other challenges are the third party commissions and the various rates being charged, which have also been increasing to as high as 25% in some cases. These are not only an additional cost but also an administrative burden.” Some established, industry-leading hotel brands have invested heavily in staying on the pace in this rapidly changing landscape. As such, they are able to package their own expertise as part of their marketing offering, making a strong argument for brand alignment. “As the world’s largest hotel owner, Accor has an enormous customer and loyalty database which we regularly draw on for our own global network,” says Accor Australia’s Director of Sales and Distribution, Henrik Berglind. “As such, we can offer a complete solution to franchisees, for example, or a more lightweight, web-based (some say ‘cloud’) solution we are developing at the moment which respects legacy systems hotels may have in place and don’t wish to shed in the short term.” The systems Berglind refers to incorporate reservations, property management and CRM and allow hotels to manage their valuable inventory across the many channels available to them. Filsinger indirectly supports Berglind’s view. “It is almost impossible for any hospitality professional - using their own intuition and hard work - to accurately and consistently manage all hotel booking platforms for their property over the long term,” he says. “There are simply too many channels available to make manual processes feasible. Despite the wealth of available research and data that shows how automated channel management systems can improve a hotel’s Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR), some Hoteliers still continue to use manual processes to try and manage their bookings, limiting them to yield across a small number of online sites.” n
The hip, new W london – leicester Square
70 HM The Business of Accommodation
Food and beverage.
t’s been a long time since quality hotels aimed their breakfast offerings at lumberjacks and road builders. Sure, hearty ‘comfort food’ like flapjacks, bacon, sausages, eggs and baked beans will always have a place on the menu somewhere, but discerning, health-conscious guests are looking at their girth as well as the bill. Culinary creativity has always been a hallmark of top hotels, so why not at the breakfast banquet too? After all, so many health gurus tell us the first meal of the day is the most important. Always at the forefront of hotel innovation, Accor sets the pace with their ‘balanced food’ menu that starts with an innovative selection of organic, gluten-free and low-GI breakfast menu items with a focus on the best possible fresh, healthy produce. ‘Designed for Natural Living’ is part of Accor’s global brand promise. “Novotel now offers, I believe, the best breakfast buffet in its class with a clear focus on providing our guests with healthy lifestyle options that will help to improve their energy levels and set them off with the best possible start to every day,” says Neil Scanlan, Accor’s Novotel Brand Ambassador and regional General Manager for Franchise Hotels. “Novotel buffets now offer an abundance of choices to suit every guest’s needs, whether they want to go for healthy options or enjoy a full-cooked breakfast with all the trimmings. “With the shift towards a natural living focus for the brand, Novotel offers clean, fresh organic foods that meet the expectations of today’s discerning consumer, who is attuned to the health benefits of pesticide-free organic foods,” he says “We really want to give our guests the widest possible choice to suit their lifestyle and in promoting organic products we also want to reduce food miles and offer the best seasonal produce.” As a minimum standard, all Novotel breakfast buffets must now include organic options such as organic banana bread, organic fruit compotes, organic toasted muesli and organic jams; a fresh juice bar with a signature juice of the day such as a revitaliser juice, jump start juice or energizer juice, as well as an additional fresh juice selection already pre-made; and gluten-free and low-GI choices such as low fat and gluten-free muffins, smoothies and health drinks; in addition to the standard buffet items. Low fat, low carb, low GI, low gluten. Former pentathlete, Nici Andronicus, whose company What’s lowdown on all this? Hotels produces the Organicus line of organic products including are taking notice of guests’ waistline. mueslis, banana bread and jams, highlights the importance RodeRICk eIMe avoids the weigh-in. of using organic foods to ensure the future health of both the people eating it and the planet. “Organic food is not only healthy for the people consuming it but more importantly is the best choice for the future health of our planet,” she says. The Australian organic industry, say experts, is worth over AUD$600 million annually in retail and it is clear without corresponding consumer demand, this industry would not be flourishing as it is. At the Heritage Hotel Auckland, the F&B team have taken things one step further by converting the Lobby Bar to exclusively vegan. On the breakfast menu, such items as banana and bran muffins (spiced eggless muffins served with soy cream) and almond and coconut cake (almond meal and coconut, soy icing and pistachio) washed down with a chilled fruit smoothie reflects the new healthy alternative. “Our food philosophy is based on the ‘Eco Gastronomy’ concept, which has strong connections between our planet and what, and how we eat,” says Heritage Hotel Auckland Executive Chef, Jinu Abraham. “All ingredients are fresh, seasonal and locally grown. We have strived to retain their full nutritional value. We believe eating is for the health of body, mind and soul.” Maybe that’s getting a bit spooky, but healthy alternatives are even turning up in McDonalds, so after a long and rocky road, public perceptions are finally coming around. Okay, you’re on holidays, so tuck into the croissants, jam and hash browns, but for the growing number of body conscious hotel guests who spend a significant portion of their working life at the mercy of the chef, low fat, low carb options are a must and the best hotels and suppliers are meeting that challenge. Bon appetite. n
kitchen star: Heritage Hotel auckland executive Chef, Jinu abraham
new breakfast rules
Choice Hotels Australasia’s new Chief Executive, TReNT FRaSeR, who started in the role on April 1, outlines his plans going forward for the popular franchise chain.
Our number one focus has been and
time to ensure consistency of standards through our portfolio. Then, there’s our global loyalty program Choice Privileges, which has in excess of 14 million members and in 2012 we will grow our local membership base here in this region by more than 50%. Last but not least, there will be a continued rollout of our proprietary cloud-based PMS, called Choice Advantage (cA), something we have almost 25% of our current properties committed to.
As one of the only hotel companies in this
HM looks at some of the key appointments in recent months.
Neeraj Chadha has been appointed the Director of Australia for Marriott International as well as General Manager of the Surfers Paradise NC Marriott Resort and Spa. He formerly spent several years with Hilton International where he was Regional General Manager in India. Trent Fraser has taken the reins as the Chief Executive Officer of Choice Hotels Australasia from david Bayes, who is focusing on his Non Executive Director roles at a number of companies. Vincent Gillet has been named Global Brand Leader for Starwood’s W Hotels Worldwide and Le Méridien Hotels and Resorts. He replaces eva VG Ziegler in the role and was most recently spent the past three years as Chief Marketing Officer for Six Senses Resorts and Spas. Iqbal Jumbahoy has been named Managing Director and CEO of SilverNeedle Hospitality. He was formerly Chief Executive Officer of the Rendezvous Hospitality Group, based in Singapore. Neil Scanlan has replaced dino Mezzatesta as the General Manager of Franchising Hotels at Accor Australia. Mezzatesta is now VG heading up the team responsible for the integration of the Mirvac portfolio. Chris Sedgwick has replaced Scanlan in the position of Regional General Manager – Queensland Hotels at Accor. Most recently he CS was General Manager of Operations at Accor Vacation Club. Tony South has been appointed the Chairman of Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA). He was formerly InterContinental Hotels Group’s Chief Development Officer for Asia-Pacific.
will continue to be, driving increased topline revenue.
We will continue to focus on driving RevPAR in 2012, building on the strong results we achieved in 2011 where we saw RevPAR grow across the portfolio by in excess of 7%. There are several major goals for 2012. Firstly, a focus on continuous im-
provement of property standards in-line with our brand guidelines and my clear message is – near enough won’t be good enough, especially as we launch into our second year of a national television campaign. Combine this with the challenging economic environment we’re in and there’s never been a more important
region to have a local reservations contact centre (Melbourne), we will leverage off this point of difference as we find that the majority of prospective franchisees really value local knowledge and assistance when trying to make a reservation. n
Clarion Suites Gateway, Melbourne
Craig Bond has been appointed Pan Pacific Hotels Group’s (PPHG) new Area General Manager for Oceania, based at the Parkroyal on Darling Harbour in Sydney. He was formerly Mirvac Hotels’ Area General Manager for Victoria and Tasmania, and has replaced Nigel Roberts in the role.
72 HM The Business of Accommodation
HM sits down with Brisbane Marriott’s Chief Concierge and Queensland Les Clefs d’Or State Delegate, doRoTHea VoN GNIelINSkI.
Brisbane Marriott’s dorothea Von Gnielinski
the keys to Queensland
Les Clefs d’or australia
The Langham Melbourne’s Chief Concierge PeTeR McBReaRTy talks about the latest happenings for Les Clefs d’Or Australia.
Les Clefs d’Or Australia (LCD) started 2012 with David Patt of the InterContinental Sydney, Aaron Ellis of The Star in Sydney, James Spielvogel of InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto and Ronnie Maskell of Crown Towers Melbourne as our newest members, along with Sam Hallett at The Langham Melbourne and Gerard Sarmiento at The Observatory Hotel in Sydney, both of whom have transferred their membership to Australia from Les Clefs d’Or New Zealand. All of us welcome David, Aaron, James, Ronnie, Sam and Gerard into the Society and have no doubt that their proven commitment to their guests and the role of professional Concierge will be of immense benefit to the Society as a whole over the years to come. In January, a number of our members accompanied LCD Australia President Michael Anderson and 2nd World Vice President Colin Toomey to the 59th UICH International Congress in London, which was an invaluable opportunity to network with and learn from fellow members from around the world, while also benefiting from the educational component of the Congress, which as always proved to be not only interesting but also of great practical benefit. Up next locally will be the Annual Victorian LCD Golf Day to be held in early May down in Melbourne, where Ben Davies of The Langham Melbourne will once again put his almost pathological fascination with the noble art of golf to good use in organising this popular outing, which allows members and their associates in the tourism and hospitality to enjoy the opportunity to meet up away from the workplace and enjoy a relaxing day on the green. Plans are already well afoot for the 2012 Les Clefs d’Or Australia AGM, and this year in July, members will be meeting in Sydney, where elections will also be held for our Executive and Interview Committee positions, along with the AGM workshop. A little further ahead still is the 60th UICH Congress, to be held in Queenstown in New Zealand in April 2013, and Les Clef d’Or members locally and worldwide are already registering to ensure they will be able to attend what promises to be a memorable event in an incredibly scenic location. Finally, Les Clefs d’Or Australia now has its own Facebook site at www.facebook.com/ LesClefsdOrAustralia.
I’ve been a Concierge on and off for nearly 10 years since 1998. I believe guest loyalty is driven by three different factors – the product,
the associated benefits and the individual recognition. Having stayed at about 10 different Marriott properties over the years I can understand how frequent travellers must feel, it really is like ‘coming home’. The properties are so similar, the beds and pillows are exactly the same and so are the shampoos, soaps, pens and so on – even the lobby smells the same. But not to be underestimated of course is the human factor, the fact that everyone recognises you and you get greeted by your name when you walk through the door, that the staff know your personal preferences and know from conversations during your previous stay where you have been while you’ve been away.
One unusual request that comes to mind
is available on the internet now and people know that if you invest a little time in research you can find great specials there. One thing that we get a lot less request for these days for example is hire cars, most guests seem to book them online, especially through last minute booking websites.
Brisbane really has come of age in the last 10 years. Everything from shopping
(look at all the international designers that now have stores in Brisbane) to dining and the cultural scene has changed – the recent Brisbane Festival for example was host to a number of international productions and world premieres. And the next month the world famous Vienna Symphony Orchestra is playing here (not just one, but two performances).
Becoming a member of Les Clefs d’Or is the ultimate honour for any concierge;
is the visit of an international female rock star who upon arrival at the hotel at lunchtime decided that she wanted to take her entourage deep sea fishing that afternoon. Most fishing boats obviously leave early in the morning and I only had just over an hour to find a boat, organise transport there and organise the catering. Everyone pulled together and we got it done – I can still see the Director of Food and Beverage standing in the kitchen making sandwiches for them.
I think people are becoming more savvy
recognition of your skills and abilities by your peers. I have been fortunate to be able to attend two International Les Clefs d’Or Congresses so far and have made some wonderful new friends and contacts all over the world.
I thrive on the daily interactions with our guests especially the many return guests we have at the Marriott. I always
when it comes to shopping around and finding the best value for money. Anything
74 HM The Business of Accommodation
try and take a mental note of little things that pop up in conversations and that helps me to plan ahead and be prepared for when I see them next. I love surprising them and doing things for them before they even think about it themselves. n
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