Ascott Australia MD David Mansfield

Quest Apartment Hotels’ annual conference is underway in Cairns after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.

The conference brings together Quest’s key suppliers, partners, business franchise owners, property personal and corporate team to reconnect face to face once again, share best practice hotel initiatives, discuss the group’s broader strategies, and celebrate the successes of the last year.

Speaking exclusively to HM, Ascott Australia Managing Director, David Mansfield, said it’s an important time to connect and recalibrate, and ‘get clear as a team on business strategies and growth targets moving forward’.

In the last six months, Quest has seen significant rises in occupancy across its properties – in some regions surpassing STR occupancy figures significantly – providing a strong foundation for future growth.

Quest Queenstown features 40 apartments.

“We’ve not only managed to return to pre-pandemic levels, but we’ve surpassed 2019 levels already, and as a business we have the strongest growth pipeline in the history of Quest Serviced Apartments,” Mansfield told HM.

“This pipeline growth shows huge confidence – even with the mounting pressures within the construction space – that individual business owners have not only in our proven franchising model, but our business strategy and wealth opportunities.”

Mansfield said he is confident that the company can match its first-half calendar year performance in the final two quarters of the year.

Aiming for the top

Part of The Ascott Limited, Quest’s vision to be the recognised franchising provider within the sector is a driving force for the business, and one that Mansfield is passionate about.

There are several strategies in place to make this a reality, including the ongoing investment and support of Quest’s network and business owners, providing them with the training and resources to operate successfully.

“The conference is an example of this, whereby we bring not only the best within our business, but externally too, to be able to upskill and educate our team on the latest best practice hotel initiatives and strategies, while also helping to upskill them across all aspects of their business operations, from the functional to the financial,” Mansfield said.

Quest on Wickham Terrace, Brisbane, is expected to open next year

Ensuring business values are upheld across the group – regardless of the stakeholder involved – is another key focus as Quest aims to deliver 34 new properties by 2026.

“Quality relationships from the outset are core to our business practice and remain key in us being able to achieve our growth pipeline by 2026,” Mansfield said.

He said Quest will also look “outside the box” where the biggest demand and opportunities lie outside the major cities and in regional and rural communities in recognition of the diverse profile of the Australian business traveller.

Personalised experiences

Looking ahead, Mansfield said customer demand for increased personalisation is a trend that Quest is exploring to set the business apart from its competitors in this growing segment.

“It’s not something that serviced apartments have done particularly well to-date, or what we’re known for, but it’s something that Quest Apartment Hotels sees as a huge opportunity to continue to differentiate ourselves and our offering from others,” he said.

“For us, personalisation is, at its core, about making guests feel safe and supported during their time away from home and building and establishing trust with our guests.”

Quest plans to do this through superior customer service, as well as ‘strategic and well-planned’ partnerships.

“This allows us to be able to offer our guests something that’s not only unique, also offers them an experience to make the trip away from home that little bit more comfortable,” Mansfield said.