Chief Executive Officer
In an exclusive column, the 2010 HM magazine Hotelier of the Year, Rachel Argaman, looks at Toga Hospitality’s plans going forward.
At Toga Hospitality, we operate quality hotels and apartment hotels, best known by our brands Travelodge Hotels in Australia and New Zealand, Vibe Hotels, Medina Apartment Hotels and Adina Apartment Hotels in Europe and now also in Australia. With the opening of the two new Adina Apartment Hotels in Europe in the next few months (in Hamburg and Berlin) the group will span 53 hotels and almost 2,000 team members across Australia, New Zealand and Europe.
A relentless focus on quality, people and performance underpins the operational success of our group. Our focus on quality ensures that we provide high standard accommodation, strong brand experiences and innovative designs in modern and stylish environments.
Our commitment to people and strong belief in the adage “companies don’t succeed, people do” sees us with passionate, engaged and focused individual teams who deliver consistent, responsive and friendly guest service, building quality relationships through all interactions. The power of focus is transformational and our culture is to hire the best, make performance accountable and listen to honest feedback.
In a nutshell, our high performance culture drives revenue, optimizes distribution channels, values people, pays forensic attention to costs and is focused on successful growth.
This “culture by design” (as opposed to the “culture by default” which plagues so many businesses) is nurtured by hands on management who are absolutely clear on our business goals and objectives. Our management tool of choice is our own customized, online Balanced Scorecard which recasts our strategy in terms of measures and targets that are shared and cascaded throughout the organization. In short, financial measures are not enough to gauge the health of a business. Our Balanced Scorecard allows us to focus on financial Key Performance Indicators, as well as those for guest service, quality and process, team development and sustainability measures. Every Toga hotel has its own monthly Balanced Scorecard, a pentagon with a central score and dash-boarded sides showing whether it has achieved green, amber or red on the key KPIs being measured in each of the five areas of focus. It means that instead of having our strategy tucked away in a drawer at head office, every hotel knows what the areas of focus are and the measures which drive their successful achievement.
On the growth front, the group remains active, having opened Travelodge Docklands (291 rooms) in Victoria in February this year and with current pipeline projects including the exciting $89 million redevelopment of the former Hakoah Club site at Bondi Beach. Medina Grand Bondi Beach will be one of the first new-build hotels in Sydney for some years, bringing 113 serviced apartments (and 44 residential apartments, food providores and exciting retail) to Bondi Beach, in Hall Street, just off Campbell Parade. This redevelopment of Bondi’s Hakoah Club will commence build in the next three months and should see a new hotel opening in 2012. We are also looking forward to the announcement of other new and exciting projects shortly!
The first quarter of 2011 has started well with positive demand for hotels and strong occupancy and increases in average daily rates. We look forward to building on this great start to cement a strong performance for our hotels. At Toga Hospitality we will continue to ensure the best experience and service for our guests, stay close to our customers, drive sales and control our expenses. We will be looking for outstanding people and for opportunities to drive market share, expand our number of hotels through management contracts, joint venture partnerships and new developments and to optimize our operations on every front.
We have done well in the past – the opportunity is to be amazing in the future.