Friday, December 24, 2010

Night at the Novotel

Last Saturday I stayed at the Novotel Brisbane to check out their newly refurbished rooms. (note to self: I really should do this more often)

I had a meeting with one of their sales managers a few months back and saw images of their new lobby (pictured below) which was done first but they're gradually refurbishing all their hotel rooms. I was a little surprised to hear this considering their rooms aren't tired or dated. They've instead chosen to be proactive and have gone for a stylish makeover.

I actually paid for the room myself (rather than talking to sales contacts), mainly due to the fact that we hadn't done that much business with the hotel over the last year or two. I did however ring the reservations manager the day before to see if he could organise a refurbished room for me. When I checked in I was pleasantly surprised to see I had been upgraded all the way from a standard room to a deluxe balcony room. That's not just an upgrade of one level, but three!!

The new refurbishments look great, they've gone with dark brown and red tones in the room, very modern and stylish for a Novotel which are usually bright or resort-y in their feel. My iphone pictures wouldn't do the rooms justice so I'll post pics when the hotel release theirs in the New Year.

I also had breakfast in the restaurant the next morning which was very good. I love my buffet breakfasts and have been spoiled lately by the best - which is Sofitel Brisbane. Novotel was good, but they were missing eggs benedict and no ice-cream with their pancakes. In their favour however, they were also missing the Sofitel price-tag which is almost double!

Where's my Christmas card??

If you're wondering why you haven't received a Christmas card from us, we've chosen instead (like the last few years) to make a donation to the Starlight Foundation.

Thank you for all the cards and well wishes we've received.

After a very challenging 2009, this year has been a very good one here at Capital Reservations. The normal peak/event dates side of the business is steadily returning to normal but we've been lucky enough to pick up a very, very large client that has taken us to a new level.

Due to the ongoing needs of the client mentioned above, our office hasn't really shut down over the festive season. Its just me looking after things during the holidays and I have had some running around to do over the last week, so you might get the voice-mail occasionally but you can leave me a message or just send me an e-mail.

I wish you and your families a very enjoyable and relaxing festive season and we look forward to looking after you again in 2011.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

U2, Jay-Z and the Queensland Premier

I've had some pretty awesome invites in my time but last week was definitely one of the best. As you can tell by the title, I got an invite from the Premier's Department to join Anna Bligh in a corporate suite for the U2 and Jay-Z concert. To say I was blown away when I got the call would be an understatement! Apparently the Premier's Department were wanting some fresh faces in the corporate suite and a list of generation X'ers from business, sport and the arts had been put together.

It was a fantastic night and I even had the honour to chat to Anna Bligh over dinner. It was the night after Oprah arrived in the country so we talked about Anna being there to greet her in Hamilton Island. We also discussed her "walk a day in my shoes" initiative and we were joined at the table by the orderly who worked with her at the P.A. Hospital.

The concert itself was great, even tho I'm more of a fan of Jay-Z than U2. The highlights of the night for me were "Big Pimpin" and "Encore" by Jay-Z and "Where the streets have no name" and "With or without you" by U2.

Below is a pic of myself and my friend Meagan who was my date for the evening and our view of the U2 360 stage.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Oprah House

You would have to be living under a rock not to realise that Australia is experiencing Oprah fever. For the last week, TV news bulletins have been led by where Oprah and her audience have been that day and what they've been up to.

While there is plenty of criticism (mostly on social media) from people that don't understand the fuss or why her visit is news-worthy, ask anyone in the tourism industry and they'll explain it to you. Ever since the infamous "where the bloody hell are you" campaign, Australia has been trying to find the right way to promote the country and attract international visitors. Like her or not, Oprah's visit is the perfect way to promote Australia to the rest of the world. No matter how much it cost Tourism Australia to make the trip happen, it will be worth every cent in the long-run.

I'm not ashamed to say I'm an Oprah fan. Not so much for her TV show (although I do find myself watching it during lunch), but for where she has come from and the empire she has created over the last decade or so. She's now the most powerful woman in the world and does so much good for so many people in this world. Its impressive and inspiring.

Here's a news clip from the filming of her show today at the Opera House (nicknamed The Oprah House during her trip):

Monday, December 13, 2010

You know you're busy when ...

You know you're busy when your dad is in the office helping to answer the phones!!

Its peak corporate travel season and I've had to call in the cavalry to help cope with all the incoming calls we've been getting. So if you've been speaking to an older, Scottish gentleman named Eric, yes that's my dad.

And if you're wondering what's on the paper on the front of the monitor:
"Welcome to Capital Reservations, this is Eric"
(He got a bit flustered last week, so this helps)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Ashes 2010

One of the best month's of business we've ever had was back in 2006 when the Ashes was last in Australia. So not surprisingly all the talk in the Brisbane hotel market for the last few months has been how the GFC and the strong Australian dollar would effect the first test this year.

For us, the challenge was balancing expected demand verses the high prices hotels were charging over this likely to be peak time for the city. We had an allotment but it was nowhere near the size of what we had back in 2006 ... yes I was being cautious.

The week leading up to it played out pretty much how I expected. Rather than the city filling for the nights of the cricket, it was the night before and the first night of the cricket that were the biggest and most popular. It was the Wednesday and Thursday where the cricket overlapped with the normal corporate demand that were the ones that sold out. So while I didn't have enough rooms ready to go for those two nights, what we did well with was getting longer stays (at least a week) by having apartments at good rates through this period.

So while sales for November weren't what they were back in 2006, it was still the biggest month we've had in 3 years. And as mentioned, there were plenty of longer-stay bookings that will count as sales for December and January.

Brisbane is the hotel market that benefits the most from the Ashes due to the timing and the overlap with corporate demand. The other city that does well due to the cricket is Adelaide who has the second test and also virtually filled for numerous nights this week (and at very high rates). Perth, Sydney and Melbourne do benefit from the cricket, but not to the same levels as Brisbane and Adelaide because corporate travel has already died down.

Unfortunately for the Australian cricket team, they're not currently enjoying the Ashes anywhere near as much as we are right now.