WHILE IT HAS ONLY BEEN OPEN FOR LESS THAN NINE MONTHS, EMIRATES WOLGAN VALLEY RESORT AND SPA HAS QUICKLY ESTABLISHED ITSELF AS ONE OF THE NATION’S FINEST REGIONAL PROPERTIES. TO FIND OUT HOW, HM SPEAKS WITH GENERAL MANAGER JOOST HEYMEIJER.
WORDS JAMES WILKINSON
HM: Joost, how has Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa performed since its opening and what are you expecting for the next 12-18 months?
Joost Heymeijer: Since opening in October 2009 the response has been more or less as expected, and we saw an excellent response from traditional domestic and international markets, but the real surprise has been from the MICE market. Our weekends have been well supported, and this likely to improve even more as the reputation of the resort grows locally. Obviously we are doing a lot of travel trade educational visits at the moment, and the response is overwhelming. We expect strong domestic support from both leisure and business markets, and within a few months of opening we have hosted groups from the automotive, financial and pharmaceutical industry sectors. Given a year or so Wolgan will be very well established.
HM: Which market segments are you expecting to be the strongest in 2010 and what are you expecting from the high-end luxury market?
JH: We expect the international markets, particularly the UK, European and North American segments, to increase substantially in the next summer season; as the appetite for luxury travel returns. It is recognised by many that inbound travel is a challenge, with the strength of the Australian dollar, however we believe that our product, which is quite exceptional, will be in demand as it is included more and more into visitor itineraries. It always takes a year for operators to fully trust new properties, and to then begin to include and recommend them into itineraries, and we see large increases in occupancy from these markets in 2010 as we continue to redefine the luxury landscape.
HM: What will be key markets for the hotel over the next 12 months and how strong are you expecting the international market to be?
JH: The domestic Australian market will continue to be a key focus for Wolgan Valley, and we expect the local corporate and MICE markets to remain a strong, as businesses look to find unique, world-class experiences that are closer to home. For the international market, we continue to work on traditional Australian markets, however we are also very active in some of the emerging markets, such as Russia, UAE, and selected Asian markets.
For the full story, read the June 2010 edition of HM magazine.