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AccorHotels’ McGrath on massive expansion in Australasian 5-star hotel sector

Chief Operating Officer, Simon McGrath AccorHotels

AccorHotels Chief Operating Officer, Simon McGrath 

Unprecedented growth in demand for luxury travel in Australia and the Pacific has seen AccorHotels significantly expand its luxury and upscale hotel network, with the latest addition being Queensland Sunshine Coast’s premier property, Sheraton Noosa.

The hotel re-branded to Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort on 13 June, increasing the group’s luxury and upscale portfolio to 35 hotels including nine Sofitel luxury hotels and resorts, 15 Pullman hotels and resorts and 11 boutique hotels in the MGallery by Sofitel collection. A further six luxury/upscale hotels are currently under construction.

AccorHotels’ portfolio of luxury and upscale hotels is set to grow even faster with the completion of its acquisition of FRHI and its three emblematic brands – Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel – which will further reinforce the group’s presence in the luxury segment across the region and in Asia and, particularly, North America, according to AccorHotels Chief Operating Officer – Pacific, Simon McGrath.

He said the group had identified strong growth for luxury travel five years ago and deliberately steered its development priorities towards the upper end of the market.

“We now have 80% of our Pacific development pipeline in the top end of the market, and 60% of these new developments are with existing partners,” McGrath said.

“A large percentage of the Chinese FIT and incentive market will only select 5- or 4-star accommodation, a trend which has changed dramatically in less than a decade.

“In addition, the American inbound market into Australia has reached unprecedented heights, with leading US luxury travel group, Virtuoso, identifying Australia as one of its fastest growing markets.

“We are also seeing soaring demand for luxury and upscale accommodation from south east Asia, Japan, India and Europe.

“An important emerging trend in the top-end of the travel market is that travellers want differing styles of 5-star accommodation, which is why we have diversified our luxury/upscale offer.

“Some want larger, more ‘international’ style upscale hotels, which we satisfy with our Sofitel and Pullman brands. While others – particularly millennial travellers – are looking for more distinctive, individual, boutique experiences, and that is why we have expanded our MGallery by Sofitel brand so rapidly.

“The signing of Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort is a strategic addition to our luxury portfolio, with Noosa a prized international and domestic resort destination, and over the next two years we will launch a record number of landmark new-build projects such as Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour, Sofitel Adelaide, Sofitel So Auckland and Pullman Trinity Point Resort.

“We expect to see the pace of high-end hotel developments continuing, and with well-established development partners, we believe there will be many other opportunities to expand the luxury and upscale market in the years to come,” McGrath said.

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