Home' Hotel Management : HM February 2018 Contents CSf
Last year, 2017, was a very exciting
year for the Schwartz Family
Company – in fact, for the Australian
hotel industry – with the crowning
achievement being the opening of
Sydney’s first new international 5-star
hotel this millennium.
hile the rest of Australia has seen a vast injection of new room supply,
the reality is that Sydney is the engine room of the country ’s tourism
industry, and the opening of the Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour will
deliver benefits to the industry way beyond Sydney. It will be particularly
important for the meetings and events sector, as the Sofitel is located right next to the
ICC, and the extra room capacity will allow Sydney to bid for more world-class events.
For me, the hotel was particularly special as it was the first new-build development
I’ve been involved with. Given that it is Sydney ’s first new international 5-star hotel of
the 21st Century we obviously had to ensure that it was state of the art. We’ve achieved
that through in-room technology, such as 4K TVs that allow Chromecasting for business
and leisure. Our Champagne Bar is a Sydney first for hotels, recognising Sofitel’s French
legacy, and we can use the building exterior for regular ‘Vivid’ style displays.
With our city running at 90% occupancy, the hotel started in fifth gear. I knew it
would, so I wanted to ensure that we gave back to the city even before it opened, with
a charity night enabling 33 charities to raise funds for some tremendous causes. Over
$500,000 was raised, and given its success we are looking to do the same thing with my
next Sydney hotel – the Four Points by Sheraton at Central Park. It will be a very lucky
addition to the city’s hotel inventory, so what better day to launch it on than 08/08/2018
you can’t get more auspicious than that!
Sydney is indeed booming and while some people might think I would be unhappy
with the fact that so much competition is about to come onto the market, I’m not,
because it will tell the world that the city is fresh and revamped, and hopefully even more
visitors will come.
And when times are good, it is incumbent on hotel owners to invest in capex. In fact,
I will be adding a further 40 rooms in the first quarter of 2018 through an extension to
the Rydges Sydney Central, along with upgrades to rooms and public area facilities across
the SFC network.
It’s equally important for hotel management groups to ensure they are delivering
to hotel owners in both good and difficult times. The Four Points by Sheraton at
Sydney ’s Central Park is my first foray with Marriott, which I hope will be the start of a
productive relationship. In the meantime, I decided on changes of management at The
Victoria Hotel in Melbourne and the former Crowne Plaza Newcastle, both of which
will be taken over by Rydges.
The hurdles to tourism haven’t changed all that much in recent years. The
development boom is at its peak and to service all the new hotels, a massive injection of
talented new staff is required. This means that management companies need to invest
in both talent acquisition and development to ensure we
deliver the service to match the new product. We know it
is not easy to attract talented new staff to our industry, so
it is vital that we create strong and supportive workplaces,
where self-education and advancement are encouraged.
Then there is that perennial hurdle created by
legislative rule enforcers (i.e. the planners at councils),
who fail to capitalise on the tourist attractions of each
area, and stymie the efforts of entrepreneurs who wish to
increase tourism facilities. I am currently involved with an
expensive land and environment court case with Cessnock
Council, as well as other rejected DAs which hardly
support public statements by local administrations that
they want to encourage tourism growth and development
to benefit their ratepayers.
Despite that, I will never stop pushing the boundaries!
I have exciting plans to resurrect part of the temporary
Sydney Exhibition Centre from White Bay and to
establish a new Aboriginal Cultural Centre. I will also
continue my plans to operate a seaplane service between
Rose Bay, Newcastle Harbour and Cessnock Airport
in the Hunter region. And given that we started with
Sydney, I’ll end with Sydney – if you think I’ve given
up on the heliport above the Sofitel Sydney Darling
Harbour, think again.
Number of hotels and rooms: 12 hotels, 3268 rooms
(plus in 2018, 299 rooms at Four Points by Sheraton
Sydney Central Park)
Hotel Management agreements: AccorHotels, IHG,
Rydges, Marriott (2018)
Number of employees: Approx. 3000
Year the company was founded: 1977
Dr Jerry Schwartz
Schwartz Family Company
44 HM The Business of Accommodation
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