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Hoteliers bullish on second half of 2012

Hoteliers are confident of a strong second half in 2012

By JAMES WILKINSON

Australasian Hoteliers are bullish on the outlook for performance over the next 12- to 18-months, with some markets forecast to rise as much as 20 percent in RevPAR growth over the period.

Speaking at last week’s (July 28) Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Hotel Industry Conference (ANZPHIC) in Sydney, hoteliers from Accor, Choice, IHG, Mantra and Starwood were all confident of a strong second half of the year and beyond.

“In Sydney, I am bullish about the back end of 2012 and into 2013,” said Starwood Hotels and Resorts’ Regional Vice President, Sean Hunt. “We have had strong RevPAR growth and I don’t see that abating.

Hunt added occupancy rates across the group’s three hotels in Sydney – Four Points by Sheraton Darling Harbour, Sheraton on the Park and The Westin Sydney (some 2,000 rooms) – has been averaging 92 per cent for the year.

Alongside Sydney, Hunt is also confident of the Perth market doing well, with the VP expecting RevPAR growth of around 20 per cent over the next 12 months.

Hoteliers were asked their forecast for a range of cities and other leading markets for RevPAR growth include Brisbane and Melbourne

In Brisbane, Mantra Group Chief Executive Officer Bob East is expecting 10 per cent growth, while in Melbourne, Accor’s Chief Operating Officer for the Pacific, Simon McGrath, is expecting 3 per cent.

Across Australia, Choice Hotels Australasia Chief Executive Officer, Trent Fraser said he was expecting 3-4 per cent.

While he declined to provide a big-city forecast, InterContinental Hotels Group’s Director of Operations – NSW, ACT, Victoria, South Australia and New Zealand, Bill Edwards, said it would be “business as usual” in many regional markets.

“The issue at present is confidence in the community,” he said. “The high Australian Dollar is taking some of our leisure short-break market offshore [to regional hotels] to places like Hawaii and Bali.

“Unless we can unlock the uncertainty, it will be business as usual [in regional areas] for the next 12- to 18-months,” he said.

Mantra’s East said some of the main regional markets needed to tailor product to emerging markets and concerns were raised around second tier destinations.

“Until we get some more inbound growth, they are going to struggle,” he said.

East pointed to Asia as a significant source of that growth.

“The real challenge for this country is to embrace Asia,” he said. “There is so much we need to do to embed ourselves in the [Asian] neighbourhood.

“We just need to get this right… we don’t need [Government] subsidies like some other industries, we need investment.”

Accor’s McGrath said solid lobbying would also be a key to success.

“There is an opportunity for industry to put pressure on governments and their support for the tourism sector,” he said. “Industry coordination is important at this point in time.”

McGrath said there were a number of opportunities at State Government at present “particularly in New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia”.

Once again at ANZPHIC, a number of Awards were handed out during the main luncheon and this year’s winners included Accor Asia-Pacific (Deal of the Year) and Quest Serviced Apartments (Hotel Innovation). Both Accor Asia-Pacific’s Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Michael Issenberg, and Quest Serviced Apartments’ Chairman Paul Constantinou said their respective companies were proud the receive the Awards.

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