Overseas target for StayWell group

Overseas target for StayWell group
By admin

The parent firm of the Leisure Inn and Park Regis brands has revealed that a lack of supply in Australia is seeing it focus its expansion plans on international markets.

Australia-based StayWell Hospitality Group recently confirmed 2013 would see the opening of its first Indonesian venture, Park Regis Kuta, and three new Leisure Inn properties in India. The new additions take its portfolio to 35 properties worldwide with 17 of those in Australia.

Chief executive Simon Wan revealed to Travel Today that the group is “trying desperately” for a Perth or Darwin foothold. An Adelaide property would also be of interest, he said.

However, of the 11 properties currently in its development pipeline, none of them are on home soil.

“The number of new hotels under construction is really limited,” he said. “There’s not a lot available.”

While operating costs have risen in the last year, Wan nonetheless reported a strong performance for StayWell’s Australian CBD properties, although he admitted Melbourne and Brisbane had softened slightly in recent months.

“We’ve also seen a bounce back in Northern Queensland,” he added.

But until suitable opportunities present themselves in the domestic market, the firm will continue its expansion overseas.

The Chinese and Indian markets are a priority with Wan confident its midscale focus is “absolutely perfect for the domestic middle class” in those countries. StayWell has accordingly opened offices in both Delhi and Shanghai.

Price-conscious Australian travellers would also be drawn to properties in those areas, he predicted, with the standard of midscale properties in those countries “slightly higher” due to lower wages and building costs.

StayWell also has an office in London to drive its European development, despite ongoing economic uncertainty across the continent.

“It’s a good time for us because of the Aussie dollar,” he said. “We haven’t seen that level of value for over 20 years.”

Meanwhile, Wan hinted a new “trendier” boutique hotel brand could be next on the cards for the group although he stressed there is “nothing concrete” to report at this time.

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