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Robert Williams from Withers said that Aloft, Hyatt Place, Holiday
Inn Express, Ritz-Carlton, Ovolo and Tryp were all brands that are
moving into the Australian market. He also said that 'mixed-use is the
new normal', with this style of development looked upon favourably from
a capital raising perspective.
A new developments panel told the audience that there is enormous
potential for branded residences in Australia, following in the footsteps of
the Asian model, and revealed plans for a Westin and a W that will open
in Brisbane in Q1, 2018.
TFE CEO, Rachel Argaman, then said: "AirBnb has opened up the
market. TFE use them as a distribution channel".
She added the caveat that corporate bookers are increasingly focusing
on security and want CCTV in lifts and carparks so hotel-style properties
have this advantage over normal residential listings on the site.
Her key message was simply that investors need to be managing
distribution costs and AirBnb is a cheaper channel than the OTAs.
The main disruptor Argaman sees heading the industry's way is meta-
search engines offering direct sales. It started with Tripadvisor and will
soon roll-out into platforms like Facebook.
Another highlight was the discussion around hot brands and
'manchising'. Hilton spokesperson Rob Scullin said that Tru by Hilton had
signed over 100 properties in the US since its launch three months ago.
There was some contention over what term 'manchising' really means.
Is it a franchising agreement where a trained manager is seconded to the
property or is it where management establishes the hotel and then hands
it over to a franchisee? The panel was divided on this.
A tech panel rounded off day one's solid program of in-depth
discussion. The speakers told the audience that 5G (faster than 4G) will
be here by 2020 and that Vodafone will be delivering it. They also said
that robust infrastructure is needed in hotels to support this upgrade and
encouraged Hoteliers to invest in this area.
Day two of AHICE 2016 kicked off with a Quest Apartment
Hotels Franchising Breakfast Seminar that attracted a large crowd
interested to hear the latest developments from one of the nation's
fastest growing companies.
The program for the day did not lose pace and forged straight
into a leadership Q&A with IHG's Karin Sheppard, followed by the
entertainingly cagey Meet the Press session hosted by Peter Hook, where
leading journalists from the Australian Financial Review, The Sydney
Morning Herald and HM quizzed Hilton's Paul Hutton, Mantra's Bob
East and Quest's Zed Sanjana.
As a large crowd started to build, a panel made up of boutique
hoteliers from Peppers, Art Series, QT and Lancemore then discussed
the opportunity that this kind of property presents in terms of brand
standard flexibility and individualisation.
Will Deague from Art Series told the audience that when the
company launched their SmartCars for guests initiative, they helicoptered
a SmartCar down the Yarra as a key marketing stunt.
Quest CEO Sanjana revealed that the company will be making a
concerted push into the UK market in the coming year, saying that the laws
are friendly to both franchisees and leaseholders. He said the UK currently
sits at six per cent market share of serviced apartment accommodation and
believes there is room to move it up to at least 25 per cent.
Tony Ryan from JLL explained the trend of the '800 pound gorilla'
going up against the niche property in his size versus anti-size session.
He detailed how big fish Carlson Rezidor purchased minnow Prizeotel
for $14.7 million to add some personality to its behemoth asset load.
Buzz words for niche acquisitions include 'innovative', 'urban design',
'tech savvy focus', 'personal touch' and 'unique team culture'.
He went on to explain the HNA model (the company that just
purchased Carlson Rezidor) wherein the company is vertically integrated
in a destination. HNA own the planes, buses, hotels and the shops. Ryan
Dr Jerry Schwartz
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