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”.
HM flew to HICAP with Cathay Pacific, which flies to Hong Kong from Adelaide, Auckland, Brisbane, Cairns, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney on three-class Airbus A330s that feature Business, Premium and Economy. Cathay’s new Business Class, available on some routes, features super-spacious lie-flat seats, powerpoints and USB charging ports and large storage areas and oversized entertainment screens with hundreds of hours’ entertainment on demand. Also expect world-class service and high quality food and wine. Alternatively, for not much more than a full economy airfare, go for Premium, which offers wider seats and a larger pitch, bigger TVs, quality meals and wine, and a glass of bubbly on boarding. Visit www.cathaypacific.com