Hotels

Hotel Wrap: Industry bodies back resilience of Victorian hoteliers, Lizard Island to reopen + MORE

Looking for some news to help you cure your winter blues? Sit back and let this week’s Hotel Wrap warm your bones.

Hoteliers’ resilience to be tested again, but reason for cautious optimism remains: TAA

Tourism Accommodation Australia and the Australian Hotels Association have backed the resilience shown by Victorian accommodation hotel operators during the state’s six-week Stage 4 lockdown.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (Victoria) general manager Dougal Hollis said Victorian hoteliers are facing the toughest set of trading conditions they have ever encountered.

“Renewed business confidence and an uptick in leisure trade evident as Victoria’s lockdowns were being progressively eased across May and June has essentially evaporated in line with Victoria’s need to implement tighter virus control measures” he said.

“Hoteliers are demonstrating remarkable resilience given current circumstances. This is clearly a massive challenge, but it’s important to remind ourselves our industry is structurally sound and not fundamentally broken.

“Victoria has consistently performed well on key domestic and international visitor metrics and will ‘rise again’ once this pandemic is defeated given our strong demand drivers and the unique reasons why visitors develop a deep emotional connection with our state will remain post-COVID-19.”

Accor ‘Bushfire Disaster Relief Appeal’ brings vital aid to fire-affected communities

Image credit: Tobias Rowles

In good news, Accor has announced that it has raised $404,000 through its ‘Accor Bushfire Disaster Relief Appeal’, targeted at relief for bushfire-affected people and communities across Australia.

The money was raised globally between January and March 2020, through Accor’s dedicated Gofundraise donation platform and through guest fundraising initiatives across Accor Australia’s apartments, hotels, resorts, and corporate offices.

The funds were divided among the following charities to aid the Australian bushfire relief effort:

  • Humanitarian relief (Australian Red Cross): $100,000
  • Firefighters (NSW RFS, VIC CFA and SA CFS): $154,000
  • Animal welfare (Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife): $75,000
  • Environment (Greening Australia): $75,000.

In addition to monetary support, Accor also provided emergency accommodation and catering for members of the community, firefighters and their families.

Lizard Island announces spring reopening

Lizard Island has announced it will reopen for visitors on 26 September this year, following a temporary closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Several new measures have been implemented at Lizard Island to allow an even more personally tailored guest stay, including the creation of a guest services manager, who will offer pre-arrival check-in in Cairns and help with finalising guests’ itineraries.

Also on offer are private and guided experiences to be enjoyed exclusively, including a private luxury boat charter for fishing, snorkelling and diving excursions on the reef.

Crystalbrook Collection appoints new human resources and staff development lead

Crystalbrook Collection has expanded its leadership team with the appointment of Megan Knoetze as group director, people and culture.

Knoetze joins the company as a key member of its executive leadership team.

Over the past two decades, she has led the cultural and operational transformation for a number of hospitality organisations, including Pan Pacific Hotels Group, where she was area director HR, Oceania for more than six years.

After roles at Trippas White Group, Sodexho and Select Service Partner UK/Ireland, Knoetze will bring to the role a wealth of experience in Human Resource management in hospitality and tourism.

Most recently, she was employed by Mulpha’s Hotel Operations division and worked across the portfolio managed by IHG, Inter-Continental Sydney, Sanctuary Cove and Hayman Island.

At Crystalbrook, Knoetze will be responsible for leading the ongoing development and delivery of its group-wide HR strategy aligned to the organisation’s core values.

Hyatt reports $327 million loss in Q2

Hyatt Hotels Corporation has released its second-quarter 2020 financial results, revealing a net loss of US$236 million ($327 million) in the second quarter of 2020.

This is compared to a net profit of US$86 million ($119 million) in the second quarter of 2019.

Hyatt’s comparable system-wide RevPAR fell 89.4 per cent in Q2, while net rooms grew 5.8 per cent.

The group’s pipeline of executed management or franchise contracts grew by roughly 9.8 per cent to approximately 101,000 rooms.

Landmark 55-storey Parramatta tower breaks ground

Sydney-based development company Coronation Property officially broke ground on its landmark 55-storey mixed-use tower in Parramatta, 8 Phillip Street, on Friday 31 July 2020.

At a COVID-19-compliant ceremony, State Member for Parramatta, Dr Geoff Lee and Karima Group founder and chairman George Sahyoun joined Urban Transformations director Aras Labutis at Coronation Property in ‘turning the sod’ on the site.

The property is expected to transform the historic Paramatta riverside precinct with luxury residences and Western Sydney’s first QT hotel.

Great value whale-watching deals at Mantra Hervey Bay

Mantra Hervey has released a range of great value accommodation deals for visitors for Queensland’s whale-watching season.

Renowned as one of Australia’s best whale-watching destinations, Hervey Bay hosts thousands of humpback whales on their annual migration from now until October.

Hotel rooms at Mantra Hervey Bay start from $117 per night for two people (on Sunday to Thursday for a minimum of two nights).

Or, bring the family and stay in a spacious two-bedroom dual key apartment from $217 per night for four people (on Sunday to Thursday for a minimum two-night stay).

These offers also include a 10 per cent discount on whale-watching tours, a bottle of wine on arrival, and a whale-watching gift pack.

MGM Resorts International names chief executive

The MGM Resorts International board of directors has announced that William (Bill) J. Hornbuckle has been elected as CEO and president, effective immediately.

Hornbuckle has been serving the company as acting CEO and president since March 2020. He succeeds former chairman and CEO Jim Murren, who stepped down earlier this year.

Hornbuckle was also appointed to serve on the company’s board of directors, effective immediately.

Rosewood to open Shanghai property in 2028

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts has been appointed by Shanghai-based property development company Lonsen Land Group to manage Rosewood Shanghai, a new hotel in mainland China set to break ground in 2022, with an expected opening in 2028.

Situated in the heart of Shanghai’s Jing’An District and Suhewan area, an emerging business and cultural hub, Rosewood Shanghai will offer travellers unparalleled access to the city.

Rosewood said the announcement of Rosewood Shanghai underscores the brand’s “careful, selective growth strategy in Asia and across the globe”, as well as the strength of its property pipeline, which is now the most robust in Rosewood’s history.

Capture the Flinders Ranges with photography weekends at Wilpena Pound

With spring on the horizon, Wilpena Pound Resort has announced two photography weekends, allowing visitors to capture the spectacular natural landscape of South Australia’s Flinders Ranges.

The new program aligns perfectly with South Australia’s latest tourism campaign, ‘You’ve Got to See It to Believe It’, with the three-day programs ideal long-weekend getaways.

Travellers will get the chance to travel with like-minded photography-buffs and to learn tips from a professional photographer who will lead the group’s activities in the Flinders Ranges landscape, famous for its panoramic views and vibrant sunsets.

Included in the photography weekends are guided drives through the Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, with a focus on landscape and wildlife photography.

In the evenings, the focus is on astrophotography, an ideal subject for the region’s clear outback skies free of clouds and city lights. Participants also have the chance to try out some of the newest camera gear to take their photography to the next level.

Six Senses announces last weeks of #AtHomeWithSixSenses

Six Senses has unveiled the next six chapters to its #AtHomeWithSixSenses story. The beautiful landscapes, support from wellness experts and unexpected encounters will continue to provide inspiration wherever, and at whatever pace, it feels right for people.

#AtHomeWithSixSenses content will continue at sixsenses.com and @SixSensesHotelsResortsSpas and @SixSensesSpas to educate, entertain and provide a virtual escape for travellers.

These will continue with six chapters looking at a different element of the Six Senses ethos, including ‘Wellness’, ‘Sustainability’, ‘Eat’, ‘Sleep’, ‘Grow’ (with a focus on kids) and ‘From the Heart of Six Senses’, which will conclude the #AtHomeWithSixSenses story and set a scene for a new adventure.

Choice Hotels’ ‘100 Untold Stories’ campaign contributes to direct reservations increase

Choice Hotels’ local tourism campaign, ‘100 Untold Stories’, is yielding results for the company, with web traffic up 20 per cent month-on-month, and reservations up 7 per cent, since launching in June.

July, according to the company, is on track to achieve a year-on-year increase of 5 per cent in direct online reservations.

In New Zealand, the results are even more promising: web traffic is up 65 per cent month-on-month, reservations up 20 per cent, and revenue up 32 per cent.

Since launching, the 100 Untold Stories campaign has also delivered 22 media hits and reached over 14 million people, according to the company, and is set to run “well into the year”.

Travala.com and Agoda join forces to boost travel with cryptocurrencies

Booking Holdings-owned company Agoda, and Travala.com, a leading cryptocurrency-friendly accommodation booking platform, have announced a new strategic partnership.

Following this partnership, more than 600,000 Agoda hotels worldwide are now available through Travala.com.

On the site, travellers can book trips using more than 30 different forms of cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Binance Coin, and AVA – Travala.com’s native cryptocurrency.

Oakwood strengthens safety protocol with new mandate

Oakwood, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mapletree Investments, has announced a new safety measure that requires all guests, associates and vendors to wear face masks in all indoor public areas.

More than 80 Oakwood properties globally will enforce this heightened safety precaution with immediate effect, signalling the serviced apartment industry’s first move to safeguard public health.

This new initiative follows the launch of Oakwood Clean360, a global program that details the brand’s commitment to meeting the health and safety challenges of COVID-19.

As part of the enhanced Oakwood Clean360 program, all Oakwood associates are equipped with face masks to assist guests who do not have one.


Featured image source: Lizard Island

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