Home' Hotel Management : HM OCTOBER 2016 Contents You joined Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia as Chief
Financial O cer in 2011, what were the biggest challenges
you faced at that time?
In 2011 we took over a tired resort and a destination that was no
longer the "must see" for first time visitors to Australia that it had once
been. The resort experience offered poor value for money and lacked a
compelling proposition to motivate customers to book. Our challenge
was to turn this perception around and re-establish the resort as one of
the premier destinations on Australia's tourism landscape. Since 2011
we have invested over $70million in upgrades to the resort, introduced
a range of new guest activities including a program of free Indigenous
cultural experiences and we have established a calendar of events, with the
theme of each event tying into one of the key facets of the destination.
Together these initiatives have addressed the perceived value for money
issue and have provided customers with a reason to visit Uluru and for
many to return for a second time.
What attracted you to the hotel industry, was this always your
planned career path?
I started my career in the accounting profession with EY, becoming a
Chartered Accountant. During a stint working with the firm in the UK,
one of my clients was a large 5 star hotel and that sparked my interest
in hospitality. My first move out of the profession was into hotels and
shortly after that I was lucky enough to work with AccorHotels, helping
to establish the Accor Vacation Club. As most finance professionals
would recognise, the industry you work in has a large bearing on the
satisfaction you gain from your work. Tourism and hospitality is an
industry that offers variety and is challenging, providing wonderful
Voyages was awarded its third Brolga Award for Indigenous
Tourism in 2015, tell us about some of the major successes in
Indigenous training and employment, and what are you most
As a team, Voyages is very proud of the industry recognition we have
received in the area of Indigenous tourism which is core to what we are
about as a company. We went on to represent the NT in the Qantas
Australian Tourism Awards and were awarded Gold in the category of
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tourism in 2014 and 2015.
At Ayers Rock Resort, more than one in three of our team members
are Indigenous. While we are pleased with the growth of Indigenous
employment at the Resort, we are most proud of those team members
who having joined us as trainees, and progressed into leadership positions.
Of the 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff at the resort,
around 50 are in supervisory, team leader or managerial positions. One
of our objectives is to create career pathways into tourism and hospitality
and our partnership with AccorHotels is key to achieving this.
One of the most pleasing aspects of this success has been in the
support we have received from our industry partners, including tour
operators and airline partners.
As a partner of AccorHotels for over four years, how has your
franchise partnership with the group benefited the Resort?
AccorHotels has become a close and very strategic partner of
Voyages. The foundation of the relationship is a commitment from both
companies toward developing an Indigenous workforce for Australia's
tourism and hospitality industry and building Indigenous tourism as one
of Australia's unique selling points.
AccorHotels provide Voyages with a wide range of support services.
Our agreement is tailored in such a way that we are able to combine
Voyages' strong skill set in the areas of destination marketing, Indigenous
employment and training and asset management (in what is effectively
one of the largest towns in the NT), with the global and local strength of
AccorHotels across all areas of the hospitality business. In areas such as
human resources, learning and development, distribution, procurement
and most importantly Indigenous employment, AccorHotels delivers
world class support services and adds significant value to our business.
To have access to top level information in today's world is critical and
AccorHotels provides that to us consistently and accurately.
Are you looking to expand Ayers Rock Resort and is there
demand for new hotel developments?
2015-16 was a record year for Ayers Rock Resort and the Resort is
approaching capacity in guest rooms, staff accommodation and other
resort facilities. We are working with key stakeholders to develop a
long term growth plan for the Resort which will address these capacity
constraints and maximise the opportunity in the years ahead. While the
Resort has been there for 30 years, Uluru has existed for 600 million years
and Aboriginal people have lived here for 60,000 years. At Voyages we
are taking a long term view and looking at what we envisage the resort to
be in decades to come and how we can maximise the opportunities that
we have with such an iconic destination. n
AN ACCORHOTELS PROMOTION
How AccorHotels and VOYAGES INDIGENOUS TOURISM AUSTRALIA
have successfully partnered up at the iconic Ayers Rock Resort.
Voyage of Australia's spiritual heart
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