Intrepid to open “hybrid hotels” across Australia and NZ through new joint venture

Intrepid to open “hybrid hotels” across Australia and NZ through new joint venture

Intrepid Travel plans to open a series of “hybrid hotels” across Australia and New Zealand through a joint venture with Drifter Hospitality Group.

The project is Intrepid’s first move into the accommodation space and will be overseen by its new hotels division, led by former managing director for APAC, Sarah Clark.

Brett Mitchell, Intrepid’s chief sales officer, has stepped in to oversee the APAC region under his global role, as a part of the move.

Drifter Hospitality Group, which was established by Ryan Sanders as CEO with Hugh Stephenson and Joshua Hunt as co-founders, is raising a fund of initially $75 million to acquire and reposition hotels across Australia and New Zealand, with the objective to grow the portfolio to $500 million over time.

Intrepid is a 50/50 joint venture partner with Drifter and the cornerstone investor in the fund, which launches publicly this week.

The companies’ portfolio of sustainable owner-operated premium hybrid hotels will be located in prime urban locations, with eight hotels across Australia and New Zealand in the next three years, growing to 15 properties by 2025.

Artist’s impression of Drifter – an Intrepid Hotel, Christchurch

The group’s first new hotels will open in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in 2022, and positioned ‘Drifter – an Intrepid Hotel’, and an East Coast Australia asset is expected to be added in 2022.

Eventually, the group plans to take the concept globally, with targeted assets being a combination of repositioned hotels, hostels, repurposed commercial sites and new builds.

Hybrid hotels offer flexible room options (including private suites and shared rooms), located in popular city neighbourhoods with snazzy communal areas and unique cultural and dining offerings.

Research in 2019 by commercial real estate company CBRE found that Millennials are likely to spend more on hotels than Baby Boomers or Gen X, but that they seek transformational and shareable experiences, such as the ones offered by the hybrid hotel concept.

“We’ve long recognised the potential to bring our knowledge of sustainable experience-rich travel and the international tourism market – particularly solo and Millennial travellers – to the hotel sector,” said Intrepid CEO James Thornton.

“With Drifter, we’ll create truly unique hotels that travellers will love and the opportunity to grow across the region is profound.”

Artist’s impression of Drifter – an Intrepid Hotel, Christchurch

Intrepid’s newly appointed managing director of hotels, Sarah Clark, said the hybrid hotel concept will offer local and international guests a new type of experiential hotel stay.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be expanding into the accommodation vertical, with Drifter being our first launch partnership,” she said.

“We’ll offer high-quality, unique accommodation and sustainable experiences in the heart of buzzing urban CBDs and neighbourhoods. With travel reopening, people looking to reconnect, and the opportunity presented with city real estate, it’s the perfect moment to embark on this expansion phase.”

In true Intrepid fashion, the properties will be carbon neutral, and sustainable practices will be implemented across design, services, amenities, utilities and wider operational practices.

Latest News

  • Attractions

Wackadoo! Bluey’s World is set to open in Brisbane

Wackadoo! The eagerly anticipated Bluey’s World is set to open in Brisbane, on 7 November, offering families an unforgettable Bluey adventure with tickets on sale from tomorrow. Bluey’s World is a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience that will take visitors into the Heeler’s iconic family home, backyard and beyond – for real life. Get ready to play […]

  • Destinations

Listening to whales, followed by Ales and Prawn Tails on the Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is preparing to welcome more than 40,000 humpback whales that are making their way up the Australian east coast on their annual migration. The Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s premier whale tourism destinations, built on its long-established whale watching cruises and Sunreef’s pioneering Swim with Whales experience, which celebrates its 10th […]

  • Aviation
  • Travel Agents

Webjet relaunches partnership with AirAsia with a huge Asia flights sale

Online travel agency Webjet has have relaunched their partnership with AirAsia with a huge Asia flights sale, available until 2 June. To give customers a greater breadth of choice and price point, hundreds of new flight options to Aussie favourite destinations have been added, including Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok via AirAsia, AirAsiaX, Thai AirAsia […]

  • Luxury

Why luxury clients are opting for immersive experiences over material items

The Luxury Travel Collection’s (LTC) inaugural business owners Soiree took place on Hayman Island last week. The event saw luxury leaders gathering to find out more about the key trends shaping the industry. The Immersion Day, held on Thursday 16 May 2024, followed the growing luxury client trend of valuing immersive experiences over material items. […]

  • Conferences

Empowering underserved communities: Expedia Group’s drive for more inclusive travel

Expedia Group has used the EXPLORE conference at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas to highlight initiatives that empower underserved communities worldwide.   In a groundbreaking move towards fostering diversity and inclusion within the travel industry, Expedia’s Global Social Impact and Sustainability Team is dedicated to shaping a travel landscape that is safe, welcoming, and accessible […]

  • Cruise

P&O rescues Rotary volunteers after collapse of Air Vanuatu

P&O Cruises Australia has answered a plea for help from a group of young Australian Rotary volunteers, stranded in Vanuatu following the collapse of Air Vanuatu. The students, many of them teenagers from Albury, NSW, were volunteering for a youth project run by the Hive Rotary Club Australia when the airline abruptly cancelled all flights, […]

  • Destinations

Intrepid continues expansions with launch of first DMC in Jordan

Intrepid has increased its presence in the Middle East with the opening of its first destination management company in Jordan. Based in Amman, the local team will operate Intrepid’s range of nine experiential small group tours in Jordan from this summer, with a view to expanding the range for 2025 and beyond. Zina Bencheikh, managing […]

  • Appointments

Minor hotels appoints Puneet Dhawan to key Asia role

Global hotel owner and operator Minor Hotels has appointed Puneet Dhawan as head of Asia as the group plots its growth in Asia and India. From July, Dhawan will be responsible for the performance of all Minor Hotels properties in Asia, working in close collaboration with the Minor Hotels senior leadership team and will report […]

  • Appointments

Abercrombie & Kent and Crystal appoint Evon Ler to director of sales, Asia

Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group have announced that Evon Ler will join them in the new role of director of sales, Asia. She will work closely with Tony Archbold (VP, Sales, APAC, Crystal) and Susan Haberle (VP, Sales & Partnerships, APAC, A&K) with trade support across the region. Ler comes to the A&K family with more […]