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Exclusive: Issenberg confident of strong Australasian growth, confirms Sebel will stay

Set to become a Pullman: The Sebel and Citigate Albert Park Melbourne

EXCLUSIVE BY JAMES WILKINSON IN HONG KONG

Accor’s Chief Operating Officer for Asia-Pacific, Michael Issenberg, is confident of strong growth in Australasia on the development front, particularly on the back of the continued roll-out of Pullman.

Speaking exclusively to HM at the Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) in Hong Kong late last week (Oct 12), Issenberg said he was happy with the performance of the company in Australasia and the ongoing integration of hotels to the network from the Mirvac Hotels and Resorts portfolio.

“We are happy with how the transaction has gone for us and there’s another year to play out,” Issenberg said.

He said the Pullman growth would “open up opportunities for us” as the brand becomes the largest 5-star brand in Australasia.

Issenberg also confirmed the iconic Sebel brand would remain in the Australasian market despite a number of former Sebel hotels being converted to Pullmans.

“The Sebel will stay around,” he said. “We are just working out what we want to do with it.”

Alongside the Mirvac acquisition that will eventually see 43 hotels join Accor, Issenberg said the company would continue to grow on the development front on a similar level to what was seen before the purchase.

“Growth will be sustained,” he said. “We will continue to push franchise and we will get more active in the management rights sector.

“We have been aggressive in the market for some time [and] you have to keep going forward,” Issenberg said.

On the performance front, he said he was expecting a strong finish to 2012 across most markets in the region.

“Overall things are very good,” he told. “But we are being a bit cautious about performance for next year.”

In a growing trend amongst hotel chains, Issenberg said he “couldn’t generalise” on performance across the region for 2013 because “every market is different”.

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