Intrepid Travel appoints French hotel veteran Celine Hurelle to lead hotels and accommodation expansion 

Droits ACCOR  trois ans
Edited by Travel Weekly

    Intrepid Travel has announced the appointment of French hotel veteran Celine Hurelle to lead its expansion into hotels and accommodation.

    Intrepid’s accommodation strategy is focused on working with local communities, reflecting and celebrating local communities and supporting jobs for local people.

    A key part of Intrepid messaging is around the local nature of accommodation and how important this is for travelers’ experiences, and this must continue to come through strongly in the accommodation story.

    Her appointment is aimed at accelerating Intrepid’s strategic expansion plans into new verticals, which includes accommodation.

    “I have a deep admiration for Intrepid’s approach to responsible travel and am impressed by the company’s growth over the years,” says Hurelle.

    “To join the company at this time is very exciting, and I look forward to drawing on my two decades of experience to drive expansion into community-led and local properties that are truly ‘intrepid’, in every sense.”

    Hurelle will report to CEO James Thornton and will work on Intrepid’s current accommodation initiatives. She will also work closely with Intrepid’s executive leadership across the world to identify new opportunities to acquire accommodation that supports the company’s responsible and local travel ethos.

    “I’m delighted to welcome Celine to our team – her depth of experience in hospitality will supercharge our global expansion plans,” Thornton said.

    “Our vision is to grow with responsibly operated, locally based accommodation that not only reflects the destination and community, but that gives back as well. We also want to ensure that our customers have a true Intrepid experience in all of our properties, and I look forward to seeing what we achieve next.”

    James Thornton, CEO of Intrepid.

    Hurelle previously spent 24 years at global hotel giant Accor, working in various senior roles in several countries, including Australia, France, Thailand and more. She was most recently Global Head of Brand (VP) for Accor brand Sofitel, based in Paris. Hurelle has deep experience in strategy, brand and commercial leadership and will be based in Intrepid’s global headquarters in Melbourne, Australia. Hurelle holds dual French-Australian citizenship.

    Intrepid has expanded into hotels over the past three years and currently operates two hotels – one in Australia and one in Vietnam. It also has a 50 per cent joint venture with South Australian based off-grid accommodation company CABN.

    In Australia, the company owns and operates the four-star, 15-room Daintree Ecolodge in Tropical North Queensland, which it acquired in late 2023. The property has since undergone an extensive renovation and refurbishment following Cyclone Jasper in December, reopening in March.

    Beyond Australia, Intrepid has entered into a three-year lease agreement with the 19-room Hoi An Field Boutique Hotel in Hoi An, Vietnam. This property’s capacity services approximately 85-90 per cent Intrepid groups, with the additional 10 per cent booked via direct travellers. Vietnam was the company’s most popular destination in 2023.

    Daintree Ecolodge run by Intrepid.

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