Home' Hotel Management : HM APL 2016 Contents TOMAS JOHNSSON
Tomas, tell us about your latest hotel
opening, Peppers Docklands?
The opening of Peppers Docklands in
Melbourne is a strong signal of the
continued success of our introduction
of the luxury Peppers brand to key
CBD markets. Adjacent to Etihad Stadium,
the 87-room hotel is part of the $100 million
M Docklands development and marks the
arrival of the Peppers name in Melbourne.
It's a contemporary hotel, defined by art, a
strong sense of place, bespoke design, and all
the necessary five star hotel facilities including
MOMAMI restaurant and bar, a pool, gym,
24-hour reception and concierge, plus a retail
and eatery enclave at ground level.
In a way, with Peppers Docklands we're
redefining the heritage of the brand, along with
other Peppers city hotels, like Peppers Gallery
Hotel in Canberra, Peppers Waymouth Hotel in
Adelaide, and Peppers Soul on the Gold Coast.
Applying the Peppers name to urban hotels
isn't a radical change in direction however. It's
simply a natural response to changing travel
demands and to our guests' desire to access the
Peppers experience in even more destinations
they visit for leisure and business.
The Peppers brand has become one of
Australia's favourites. What's the secret?
From its beginnings 30 years ago as a series of
regional retreats, the Peppers name has evolved
to become one of Australia's most respected
Today, Peppers is a refined collection of
31 unique experiences, selectively located
throughout Australia and New Zealand, and
also now in Seminyak, Bali.
In many ways, Peppers is the original lifestyle
brand, focusing on personalised service and
bespoke experiences. This promise means we've
had to adapt to changing traveller expectations,
next generation demands, and increasing
consumer desire for enrichment, and we've
demonstrated this is something we do really well.
You have recently been promoted
to the role of Chief Operating
O cer. Is that part of greater
change for Mantra Group?
As a company, much of our success has
been attributable to our adaptability, so any
structural realignment is inherently linked to
that approach. In that context, I'm approaching
my new role with genuine excitement and I'm
looking forward to the challenge of guiding the
implementation of a broad range of initiatives
to help grow the business.
Right now, trading conditions are very good
for our industry and for Mantra Group, business
has never been better. Across Australia, corporate
travel demand and consumer confidence lifted
in 2015, with particularly strong hotel trading
outcomes in Sydney and Melbourne. At the
same time, Australia's major leisure destinations
boomed off the back of favorable exchange rates
and surging inbound arrivals, notably in the form
of FIT business out of China.
This environment is giving us the confidence
to expand our portfolio, to consider new
opportunities, and to deliver the projects we
believe in, like our Women in Mantra workplace
strategy, our refurbishment roll out, and the
repositioning of our food and beverage offerings.
MICHAEL MORET LALLI
Michael, 2015 was a massive year
for Mantra Group. What were your
portfolio growth highlights?
For our development and acquisitions team,
2015 was a prolific year, marked by a record 15
hotel openings, which added a massive 4,400
rooms to our portfolio of 126 properties.
This growth is attributable to Mantra Group's
surging profile and dominant positioning as a hotel
operator of choice, which is extremely satisfying. In a
year of so many highlights, Bell City in Preston (844
rooms), Chevron Renaissance on the Gold Coast
(711 rooms) and the Outrigger portfolio (1,129
rooms) were all outstanding deals of significant scale.
Other acquisitions, like Peppers Soul
Surfers Paradise, Peppers Waymouth Hotel in
Adelaide, and more recently Peppers Docklands
in Melbourne were all wonderful additions to
the Peppers portfolio, while new properties in
Bali, Brisbane, and Tasmania helped bolster the
Mantra stable to 70 properties.
It was also very pleasing to bring on the
250-room BreakFree Cashel Street, which is
Christchurch's largest hotel, and BreakFree on
Collins, which is arguably the best located hotel
What are the latest projects
in your pipeline?
As a continuation of our assertive expansion
plans, 2016 will see ongoing portfolio growth,
characterised by more footholds in Australia
and the broader Asia Pacific region.
In October 2016, Peppers Kings Square
will open in Perth as the city's latest full service
boutique hotel. Elsewhere, new Peppers hotels
will soon commence construction in Sydney
and Brisbane, and we expect to open more
Peppers resorts in a number of Australia's most
iconic leisure destinations.
The Mantra brand will continue to surge
ahead too, with Mantra Richmont Hotel
set to open in Brisbane in May, followed
by Mantra Macarthur Hotel in Canberra,
Tribe West Perth, and later Mantra Sydney
Airport, plus a number of new properties yet
to be announced.
With such strong growth, are you
expanding your acquisitions team?
To continue to capitalize on expansion
opportunities in our region, we recently
welcomed the addition of two senior executives
to our development team, and announced the
establishment of a regional office in Singapore.
In February, Andrew Turner took on
the newly created role of Vice President
Acquisitions Asia, based in Singapore.
Andrew is one of our industry's most
successful and respected hoteliers, having
served as CEO of Mirvac Hotels and
Resorts and more recently as Executive
Vice President, Business Development for
Further bolstering our capabilities is
the recent commencement of experienced
commercial lawyer, Lisa Kirkup, in the role
of Development Manager. Lisa has served
as Mantra Group's Corporate Counsel for
the past two years, prior to which she was
Corporate Counsel for RACQ and Samsung
Electronics, after practicing as a Mergers and
Acquisitions Lawyer with leading national
firm King and Wood Mallesons, in Sydney. n
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