Home' Hotel Management : HM April 2017 Contents H
aving an internationally branded hotel in
a regional centre can produce significant
benefits for the region – and the property
owner. For Dale Bainbridge, the decision
to launch a 4-star hotel in Warragul, just over
100km south east of Victoria in West Gippsland,
required strategic planning of how to maximise
the potential of the hotel. He decided to pursue
a franchise agreement with AccorHotels, using
regional-friendly Mercure as the brand.
Dale has been involved extensively in the
Victorian property sector and is also Managing
Director of ResManagement, which provides
building management services in large residential
apartment complexes across Melbourne.
Warragul is located in the Regional area
of Baw Baw Shire and would generally
be associated with motel or pub style
accommodation. How important for the
region was the opening of the Mercure
Hotel in 2015 and what are the benefits
you have seen from having the Mercure brand for the hotel?
The development in Warragul was ground-breaking for the area. The
decision was made very early in the process to engage with AccorHotels to
introduce a reputable brand into the complex. Mercure was the perfect fit and
very well received by the community and something they could be proud of.
There are many local stakeholders and businesses that have benefited
from the Mercure as it is has offered a standard of accommodation that
has allowed them to grow their business, confident that their delegates
have access to premium hotel facilities.
Do you see regional areas providing an opportunity for growth
in the accommodation industry?
We have certainly identified both regional areas and outer suburban
areas of Melbourne as locations that the accommodation sector has not
kept up with. With the suburban sprawl seeing rapid population growth
the introduction of new hotel product is something that is desperately
needed. Most of these areas generally have both a lack of available room
nights and hotel style offerings.
You signed a franchise agreement with AccorHotels – how was
that process and will you continue your relationship with the
group on future projects?
Our group has made a strategic decision to now
only consider new projects that are able to be
franchised through AccorHotels. They offer a
large stable of brands that generally most projects
will fit into. We have a strong relationship with
both the development and franchise teams and
most importantly have great faith in the direction
they are heading in the accommodation space.
We recently opened The Sebel in Moorabbin and
about to start construction on a new 68-room
hotel in Pakenham. There are number of other
outer Melbourne projects that we are working
with the AccorHotels team to match the most
appropriate brand. It is exciting times for us and
the support provided by AccorHotels is essential
for our growth.
How much does a franchise agreement
allow you to balance local management
with global reach?
It is a good question that in some ways answers
itself. The ‘balance’ is achieved by ensuring that
you have access to both. We have a strong local knowledge of the areas that
we are operating in and can identify the key driving factors for occupancy.
However, the distribution platform offered through AccorHotels ensures
that we have a far greater reach than what we could ever achieve as a
standalone brand. Importantly that ‘reach’ is worldwide rather than just
local which in coming years will become more and more important.
The suggestion is that regional areas haven’t benefited as
much from the national Tourism boom as the capital cities –
do you believe that regional areas get enough support from
Government and tourism bodies?
I think overall this is an accurate assessment however the regional areas
will never have a wealth of choice offered by the major cities. There is
little doubt that local councils and tourism bodies can do more in this
space. Our local council recently launched a ‘ Visit Baw Baw’ campaign
that has been exceptionally well done and is a credit to them. They have
engaged well with digital media and showcased the various products on
offer effectively. I recently attended a TAA event and the new CEO of
Visit Victoria, Peter Bingeman was a guest speaker. I was very impressed
by his message and the direction he is intending to take in this area. I
think we have positive things to look forward to that will improve the
marketing initiatives in these areas. n
AN ACCOR HOTELS PROMOTION
HM catches up with DALE BAINBRIDGE, Managing Director of Mercure Warragul to talk about the decision to
launch a 4-star hotel in regional Victoria, the power of franchise agreements and much more.
Warragul leader: Dale Bainbridge
Star property: Mercure Warragul
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