Hoteliers urged to get ‚Äúcreative”

Hoteliers urged to get ‚Äúcreative”
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Hoteliers are having to become increasingly creative to grow their businesses in times of limited new room supply, according to Mantra boss Bob East.

The hotel firm now counts 112 properties in its portfolio, with a further 17 in the pipeline.

But East, pictured, pointed to growth in room supply within the Australian market of just 1% as a significant obstacle, limiting the opportunities for growth.

"It's a very interesting dynamic for those trying to grow their business," he told delegates at hotel industry conference No Vacancy today in Sydney.

East said Mantra looks to leases, management letting right opportunities and franchises in order to expand.

It's "creative" approach is also reflected in its introduction of a Peppers property to Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, according to East. The project represents the brand's first foray into a CBD area.

In addition, Asia is becoming an increasingly important focus for Mantra, describing the pipeline to the north of Australia as "immense".

East described Australia's proximity to Asia as an "unprecedented opportunity", placing it next door to the emerging markets of the world with their burgeoning middle class.

"We need to put more product in Asia," he said.

Next week Mantra will open its first property in Indonesia. Now the 16th largest economy in the world by GDP with a consuming class of 45 million, it is expected to overtake the UK and Germany to become the seventh largest economy in the world with a consuming class of 135 million by 2030.

"These are very enticing statistics for a business like ours to look to," East said.

Meanwhile, East insisted Australia "should not be ashamed" of its hotel product, although he conceded it lags behind newer Asian developments.

"We cannot build what Asia is building currently. It's just not going to happen overnight," he said. "In the Australian market, the product is reasonably good. It's of an adequate world standard, not a leading world standard."

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