2022 was a whirlwind year for La Vie Hotels and Resorts with Managing Director, Craig Bond, saying it was when La Vie “really came into its own”.

“People who hadn’t heard of us before, started to take note,” he told HM in the 2023 Industry Leaders Forum. Here, he shares the highlights from a transformative year for the business and points to growth opportunities in 2023.

2022 was a year of extraordinary growth across Australia and South and South-East Asia for La Vie Hotels and Resorts. We had our strongest year of growth, signed agreements with some of the world’s most recognised brands and formed meaningful partnerships, notably and most recently, with Small Luxury Hotels.

Our fresh approach to hotel management and our leading position in franchising put us on the radar of a lot of owners and investors, not only in Australia but importantly across the South and South-East Asia region. Our owner-centric model has been widely embraced and we are so thankful and humbled by the support of our partners.

While COVID brought about obvious challenges, it also provided us with some great opportunities; to focus on our processes, bolster our team and solidify our structure in order to future proof our business for 2023 and beyond. The slowdown also meant owners were looking for alternatives when it came to hotel management, with many wanting greater transparency and tighter owner/management relationships, and this is where we were able to make some great gains.

We are so proud of the way our teams have grown and worked so collaboratively together with our owners. We have an amazing leadership team across the regions we operate, all with an incredible depth of experience and passion. In 2022 we hired Shankar Sreekumar as Head of South and South-East Asia based in our Bangkok regional office and Russel Cool as Group Director of Operations in Australia (to name a few), and their expertise in hotel management, commercial and development will hold us in great stead as we move into 2023.

With a commitment to putting the best brand in the right location, in 2022 we worked hand in hand with our owners to procure franchise agreements with major hotel brands and signed agreements with Radisson Hotel Group in Sri Lanka, Choice Hotels in Phuket, and with IHG and Accor in Australia. We see huge growth in conversion properties, and we are working with a number of owners on transforming their asset into one that has a deeper connection with guests and the community.

In addition, in 2022 we secured the exclusive rights to manage the design-led YOO brand, which led to the announcement in May that Melbourne would call home to Australia’s first By YOO Luxury Lifestyle hotel in 2025. We have other incredibly exciting YOO announcements coming in early 2023, which will see the YOO brand expand into South-East Asia.

While we have a solid pipeline of hotels coming online with major brands attached, after months of market research we identified a gap in the market for a fresh, upscale lifestyle hotel and resort brand. Based on this, we have spent the last nine months developing our own upscale lifestyle brand which is incredibly exciting. More details will be released imminently, but we can say the first outpost for this brand will be in the Maldives.

We are buoyed and optimistic by the year ahead and have great confidence that international travel will rebound, and domestic travel will remain strong as people will continue to explore their own backyard. Our hotel spread spans CBD, suburban, regional and resort locations and we see great growth opportunities in each of these markets. We will continue to keep pushing the boundaries to deliver the best possible returns for owners.

At the time of writing this and as the ink dries on some major signing agreements, we’re excited to sink our teeth into 2023 and deliver for our owners and support the incredible hospitality industry that exists here in Australia and in Asia Pacific.

Discover more insights and opinion from local and global hotel executives in the 2023 Industry Leaders Forum.