Over the last two decades, Meriton Suites has been on a strong and steady growth trajectory, averaging a new hotel opening each year. But a recent AU$400 million development injection saw the launch of a further three hotels in two months, taking the owner-operator to new states (VIC, ACT) and rounding out 2023 with 23 hotels in its network.
Here, Meriton Suites Group General Manager and Meriton Group Director, Matthew Thomas, discusses recent openings, growth plans and the continued demand for apartment-style offerings.
Are you seeing increased demand for serviced apartments in recent times? Has the traveller demographic changed?
Absolutely! Meriton Suites led the way in apartment style hotel accommodation. Twenty years ago, Harry [Triguboff, Meriton Group Founder and Managing Director] saw a gap in the hotel accommodation market for groups of people and families who wanted to stay together when travelling instead of booking two separate or adjoining rooms.
Now, not only are travellers wanting the additional space, but they are also looking for the home-away-from-home experience. Because our suites are designed the same as our residential apartments, guests have the extra space with all the comforts that they would enjoy at home, like fully equipped kitchens, internal laundries, separate bedrooms and living/dining rooms.
Tell us about the thinking behind the latest locations and where Meriton Suites is looking next.
2023 was a big year for Meriton Suites where we opened three new hotels in Melbourne, Canberra, and Liverpool – that’s a total of 889 new rooms. Meriton Suites has a very strong loyal customer base in Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane and we found that this same customer base was also travelling to other states. So, it made sense to open a hotel in both Melbourne and Canberra as they have been highly requested destinations with our guests.
We opened Meriton Suites Liverpool because Liverpool is one of the fastest-growing regions in Sydney, boosting significant developing commercial and health areas. As a result, we have found many corporate and health professionals staying in the area. Also, with the soon to be completed Western Sydney International Airport, Liverpool will become the gateway city for the airport.
We are always watching the market and sourcing new locations. But we are in no rush. When a site becomes available, we carefully analyse the situation to determine whether the time is right to expand.
Being predominantly based in NSW, what were some of the challenges involved in expanding to new states?
By opening these new hotels, we are providing our guests with more choice of locations. We now have 23 hotels nationally, making Meriton Suites the largest Australian owned and operated hotel company.
It’s always a challenge when you enter new markets and understanding and adapting to local demand is crucial for effective brand building. Luckily, we have had enough time to study the market prior to opening in order to create a strong and memorable brand presence, in addition many of our guests have already been travelling to or from these states and therefore are familiar with our brand.
In relation to staff and resources, we have a solid internal recruitment process whereby we allow team members to move within properties. As a result, some roles in the new markets have been filled by existing team members who were willing to relocate.
In ways is Meriton Suites evolving its luxury offering and guest experience?
We aim to provide the same memorable experience at all our Meriton Suites locations, so whether you are staying with us at North Sydney, Bondi Junction, Surfers Paradise or our newer locations Liverpool, Canberra and Melbourne you will be able to enjoy the same luxury and comforts at each.
In addition, we have 32 Penthouses available at 10 properties across New South Wales, Queensland, Australian Capital Territory and Victoria.
Our Penthouse Collection stays include unparalleled comfort with breathtaking views and luxury amenities throughout. These include premium Smeg appliances, Nespresso coffee machine, professional GHD styling tools, Balmain bathroom amenities, bluetooth speakers, fresh flowers, and a collection of fashion books & magazines in each penthouse suite.
What’s next for Meriton Suites in 2023-2024?
Our pipeline is very exciting and includes a number of new Meriton Suites locations in Sydney and a third location in Brisbane CBD.