When Max Mason commenced the role of General Manager at boutique Bundanoon property Osborn House, he quickly realised that the weight of staffing costs related to the number of revenue-generated rooms left some room for improvement. But rather than cut jobs or wages, Mason decided to add more rooms.

“I sat down with the numbers, and I pinpointed exactly the number of rooms I needed without having to do major infrastructure changes to deliver a P&L that ultimately works for the business,” Mason told HM.

Mason determined that an additional five rooms and the increased guest capacity would support the business to increase spa revenue by up to 30% and enter the all-inclusive segment, filling a gap in the market left by the (currently closed) One and Only Wolgan Valley resort.

At that time, Osborn House was a 22-key property, with seven Luxury Forest Lodges which had been constructed on site.

Mason’s plan to add more rooms needed to be executed efficiently, with minimal disruption to the property and guests.

Through hospitality management company QCC Collection Group, specialist modular accommodation design and construction outfit Wild Modular was enlisted for the project.

Offering a full turnkey service with a team of experts including interior designers and architects on hand to create bespoke offerings, Wild Modular completes the design and construction of ready-to-move-in prefabricated units at its Sydney factory and handles delivery and installation.

“A major disturbance to the hotel was something that we couldn’t risk again,” Mason said.

“Knowing that Wild Modular was building off site and delivering and installing the units in a short window, meant that we could effectively add that infrastructure without any disturbance to the locale at all.”

Once a Geotech survey was conducted on the site by the Wild Modular team and development approval was granted, construction could commence.

Hospitality management company QCC Collection Group, a business partner of Wild Modular for the last few years, introduced the Osborn House project. QCC Founder and Director, Caspar P. Schmidt worked with the team throughout this exciting project.

Schmidt told HM, that more and more hoteliers are seeking quick and cost-effective alternatives to traditional hotel extensions to increase room capacity.

Wild Modular completed construction of the five lodges at its controlled-conditions Smithfield (Sydney) factory in just four weeks and installed the units on site over the course of just three days.

“It’s the feasibility, in terms of cost, speed and lack of on-site disruption, that hotel owners are really impressed by,” Schmidt said.

“A hotel owner with a development application for a traditional extension will have to wait up to three years until they have rooms. This can be done in a matter of months, allowing the upside of additional inventory to deliver that return on investment very quickly.”

Modular accommodation is proving popular in regional areas, given it can be positioned within rugged landscapes and advanced construction methodologies and materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions.

“We are working with modular products for both cold-climate and tropical hospitality applications in several different locations world-wide – and the features of low impact, quality construction and high sustainability values align so well with guest demand – that of the “mass affluent consumer” that KSL amongst others has spoken about recently,” Schmidt said.

“We are experiencing high demand in regional areas, and this is not likely to stop for a few years. For owners, CapEx is all about the NOI that can be generated, and with these types of structures they are getting there faster, easier and with much greater efficiency compared to usual bricks and mortar projects. We look to take the pain away and manage the entire project from start to end.”

The new one-bedroom Luxury Forest Lodges at Osborn House, which open to guests from mid-April, are exact replicas of those already on site. They feature a luxury king bed, separate bathroom and living area complete with a fireplace, a large skylight, and a freestanding outdoor bath, set on an expansive balcony where guests can enjoy views of the sprawling countryside.”

With air conditioning, luxury amenities, tea and coffee facilities, and breakfast included, Mason said the lodges deliver a luxury hospitality experience that goes far beyond the concept of a cabin.

“These are not cabins, these are luxury forest lodges, and I think they are some of the most beautiful suites in Australian hotels,” Mason said.

“A luxury lodge allows us to get a fixed premium to extend this estate into realms that we previously didn’t think possible.

“It’s only very recently been achievable to extend your footprint with a hotel of this calibre and actually augment the quality of what you’re delivering.”

This interview was first published in the April edition of HM magazine.