Home' Hotel Management : HM FEB 2017 Contents I have always been enthusiastic about the Australian tourism industry and truly believe
that there’s never been a better time to be working in tourism. Strong market conditions
and expansion plans look set to deliver another year of growth and development for
Leisure destinations such as North Queensland, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast,
continue to thrive off the back of favourable exchange rates and surging inbound arrivals.
With corporate travel demand and consumer confidence lifting, we’ve seen a
moderate improvement in the CBD market, with strong performance in Canberra,
Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Hawaii and MICE business is improving
slowly across the board.
One of the major challenges facing the hotel industry is staying ahead of technology,
in line with our customers.
Online Travel Agents (OTAs) have improved the digital user experience
immeasurably. Hotel companies are typically playing catch up and need to increase
investment in e-commerce technology, with a constant focus on user experience
refinement, to maintain a level playing field with OTAs. We need to observe, listen to
and keep up with consumers who are constantly finding new and improved ways to
research and transact hotel bookings.
In recent years, the hotel industry has been using technology and data to build
relationships and gain a deeper understanding of our guests but we still have an
unrealised-opportunity to use this data to offer superior personalised service.
An emerging challenge is the mega-consolidation of key global operators and how the
integration of these companies will change the face of the industry. Branding, distribution
and loyalty programs will all be impacted in ways which are still unknown at this stage.
The impact of the sharing economy, including Airbnb, has been negligible for Mantra
Group. Airbnb has a place in hospitality, however reasonable legislation and regulation
should be introduced ensure the user-experience is preserved. I believe any expansion of
the visitor economy should be welcomed rather than bemoaned. It should be seen as a
positive for the booming visitor economy.
From an international visitor perspective, it won’t be long before half of our customers
are from overseas, particularly Asia. Australia’s natural beauty, genuine hospitality and
superb urban cityscapes place us at the top of their wish list.
This not a ‘boom’... it is Australia’s new reality, given the vast emerging markets
in our region. 60 per cent of growth will come from China alone, and then the other
growth markets make up the rest. This shift of business will create a demand for skilled,
multilingual service-oriented labour. Worldwide competition among destinations will
be heightened to not only offer the best experience but to develop (and keep) a skilled
workforce delivering the highest level of customer service.
The growth in aviation seat capacity is most critical to Australia’s tourism future
and the forecasted growth in direct aviation capacity to Australia underlines my positive
outlook for our industry. I believe increased air-capacity, flight affordability and the
proliferation of low cost carriers, particularly in emerging markets, is a significant game-
changer for tourism both in Australia and overseas.
Strategic pipeline growth continues to be a key focus for Mantra Group. We added 11
properties in FY16 across our three brands – Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree – earning
Mantra Group the accolade as ‘Australia’s fastest growing hotel group in FY16’.
Our expansion into new international markets is
yielding strong results. For example, a recent standout
acquisition is the 1,176 room Mantra-branded Ala Moana
Hotel in Honolulu Hawaii, which joined the Group at the
end of July. The hotel has recorded solid opening results to
perform above the industry-average in Hawaii.
We look for markets that our Australian and New
Zealand customer base know well and, as such, our brands
have immediate penetration. We have some aggressive
plans for growth to new complementary offshore
destinations including key Asia Pacific destinations such
as Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia, and we’re looking at
further hotel opportunities in Hawaii and mainland US.
That said, Australia is still our core market and where we
see most of our growth in the next 12-18 months. Australia
is a mature market and opportunities are hard to come by,
but because of the flexible business models we offer – from
hotel management agreements, to leases, to management
letting rights of serviced apartments and also franchising –
it gives us a wide range of solutions to take to the market.
In the immediate future, we’re committed to driving
pipeline growth and development opportunities, exploring
diversified acquisition models and delivering quality room
inventory and hotel and resort facilities. Announcements
have already been made regarding the Group’s operation
of new hotels being constructed in Perth, Melbourne,
Queenstown, Canberra, Albury, Wallaroo Shores and
SNAPSHOT: MANTRA GROUP
Number of hotels & rooms (Globally):
127 hotels and 21,000-plus rooms
Number of hotels & rooms (Asia-Pacific):
126 hotels and 20,000-plus rooms
Number of hotels & rooms (Australia, New Zealand
and South Pacific): 124 hotels and 20,000-plus rooms
Number of employees (Globally): 5,500-plus
Year first hotel opened (Globally): 1984 (Peppers
Guest House, Hunter Valley)
Year the company was founded: 2009
Brands in the organisation: Peppers, Mantra
Head office location (Globally):
Surfers Paradise, Queensland
Chief Executive Officer
62 HM The Business of Accommodation
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