Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Hitler house to luxury apartments

A rather different story from one of the industry newsletters I read ...

Hitler house to luxury apartments - Weird News Travels Fast - etravelblackboard.com

The building, in the town of Braunau, where German dictator, Adolf Hitler spent the first three years of his life, could be facing a makeover.
As current owners attempt to sell the now empty property, Braunau mayor said turning the building into luxury apartments could revive the region that should not be held responsible for the dictator’s actions, The Sun reported.
“It is not necessary to build a Holocaust museum in the house, as some have suggested,” Mayor Johannes Waidbacher said.
“Braunau as a town is stigmatised enough even though Hitler spent only three years of his life here.”

Locals have dubbed the proposed scheme as Hitler Towers and Fuhrer Mansions.

Currently the location attracts neo-Nazis paying homage to the man responsible for the death of up to six million Jewish people, homosexuals and gypsies.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Coldplay and the golf

Melbourne is well known for being busy on the weekends but this week saw it fill Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for the first time in a very, very long time.

It started with the Coldplay concert on Tuesday night and the rest was due to the Australian Masters Golf which starts today. In years past we have put it down to the Tiger Woods effect, so with him not making the trip down under this year, we didn't have any expectations for this event.

We were keeping an eye on the Tuesday night due to the concert and late last week noticed that availability was quickly disappearing. We grabbed the final few rooms that we thought were decent value but it was nowhere near enough as we were flooded with calls on Friday and throughout this week.

Many months ago we put together a large allotment for Coldplay's concert in Brisbane on Wednesday night so our fingers are crossed that the same happens.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Closed for The Cup

The "race that stops a nation" will tomorrow also close Capital Reservations ... for the day.

Our office will be closed tomorrow (for the entire day) as Adam and I are off to Doomben to enjoy the Melbourne Cup festivities in a marquee. The menu (by renowned chef Philip Johnson) and the drinks package (including Bollinger champagne) was way too good to turn down so we're off to the track but will of course be back as per normal on Wednesday.

If you need any assistance tomorrow (Perth next week most likely) please e-mail the details through to me and we'll get on to it first thing on Wednesday morning.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Why do hotels charge for internet?

I came across the following article thanks to an industry newsletter and its a good summary of why all hotels don't provide free internet yet ... which is a common guest question/complaint.

Why do hotels charge for internet and Wi-Fi

Oct 10, 12 | 12:08 am
By Clinton Farley
Internet in your hotel or accommodation room is not yet the same necessity as the water you drink, the linen you sleep in or the fresh towels that hang in your bathroom, however is it the way of the future; will complimentary internet become one of these included necessities in every hotel or accommodation room?
Many of us these days want to check emails on the go, check-in on apps, update our latest status and share with friends, family and colleagues from anywhere in the world.
One of the most common questions asked in a hotel, discussed in a review or blogged about is; why do hotels and other accommodation venues still charge for internet. I am sure this is a question that pops into many heads, especially when the world has advanced so rapidly in recent years on the mobile front. Everyone has an internet capable mobile device right? Although this remains an argument many raise, fact is that not all hotel guests have internet capable devices.

Click here to read the rest of the article

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The most expensive hotels in the world

I came across this survey conducted by Luxury-Hotels.com about the most expensive hotels in the world. Despite the survey being done in Australia's winter months, its nice to see us make two appearances on the list.

One of my clients has actually stayed at the Southern Ocean Lodge (pictured below).

The "Le Dune" hotel, located on the Mediterranean Island of Sardinia, is the most expensive hotel in the world according to a recent survey from Luxury-Hotels.com. The survey compared luxury hotels across the globe and then ranked them based on their average rates for a standard double room this June to August 2012 summer season. As a result, the dollar figures behind the rankings reflect the minimum amount a visitor had to spend to stay at a particular hotel.
Coming in at an average rate of $2539 per night, the “Le Dune” hotel easily scored the top spot. This luxurious accommodation is situated in Santa Margherita di Pula, a seaside resort along Sardinia’s southern coast. The “Le Dune” was significantly more expensive than the runners up, the Royal Mansour in Marrakech, Morocco and the Hotel Pitrizza in Sardinia’s Porto Cervo. There, average rooms are going for $2060 and $2041 per night, respectively, this summer.
Overall, Sardinia landed three more hotels in the Top 10, for a total of five. The others making the cut were the Villa del Parco, the Hotel Cala di Volpe and the Hotel Romazzino. Asia made a showing on the survey’s list as well. The continent’s most expensive hotel, the Amankora in Buhtan, settled into the number five slot with an average nightly rate of $1910. Finishing out the Top 10 were the Maia Luxury Resort in the Seychelles and two upscale resorts in Australia, the Southern Ocean Lodge and the Lizard Island.
Following are the 20 most expensive hotels in the world for the period spanning June through August 2012. The rates listed are based on the average price for a standard double room.

Rank Name of Hotel Location Avg. rate/ night

1. Le Dune, Forte Village Resort Sardinia, Italy $2539

2. Royal Mansour Marrakech, Morocco $2060

3. Hotel Pitrizza Sardinia, Italy $2041

4. Villa del Parco Sardinia, Italy $2031

5. Amankora & Spa Paro, Bhutan $1910

6. Hotel Cala di Volpe Sardinia, Italy $1904

7. Hotel Romazzino Sardinia, Italy $1850

8. Maia Luxury Resort and Spa Anse Louis, Seychelles $1692

9. Southern Ocean Lodge Kangaroo Island, Australia $1665

10. Lizard Island Great Barrier Reef, Australia $1651

11. Song Saa Private Island Preah Sihanouk, Cambodia $1649

12. Burj Al Arab Dubai, United Arab Emirates $1611

13. Viceroy Maldives Vagaru Island, Maldives $1589

14. Anantara Kihavah Villas South Male Atoll, Maldives $1574

15. Amanyara Turks and Caicos Islands $1549

16. Naladhu Maldives South Male Atoll, Maldives $1540

17. Gora Kadan Kanawaga, Japan $1537

18. Grand Hotel a Villa Feltrinelli Lombardy, Italy $1498

19. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort Bora Bora, French Polynesia $1459

20. Saffire Freycinet Cole's Bay, Australia $1457

About the Methodology:

The survey was conducted from May to July 2012. For all luxury hotels, the average rate for a standard double room was calculated for the period spanning June to August 2012. Only such hotels offering a minimum of 20 rooms were considered. The rates were taken from the respective hotels’ websites or drawn from the leading hotel-booking sites. In all cases, the lowest available price was used in tabulating the results. If the standard double room was sold out for a particular day, the standard “theoretical” rate for that day was substituted and included in the average rating. All rates were established in U.S. dollars or converted into such figures using the exchange rate for the respective day.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Australian Hotel Awards

The 2012 Hotel Management Awards were held in Sydney last night and below is a list of the winners (H/C stands for Highly Commended) that took out the awards relevant to hotels we deal with.

Congratulations to our friends at Emporium Hotel Brisbane for again winning Best Boutique Hotel in Australia for the fourth time.

Australian Property Awards

1. Serviced Apartment Property

Presented by: AHS

WINNER: Fraser Suites Sydney

H/C: Quay Grand Suites, Sydney

4. Midscale Property

Presented by: Accommodation Association of Australia (AAA)

WINNER: Vibe Hotel Darwin Waterfront, NT

H/C: Diamant Hotel Sydney, NSW

5. Upscale Property

Presented by: Blue Mountains International Hotel Management School

WINNER: The Sebel Pier One, Sydney, NSW

H/C: Q Station Retreat, Manly, NSW

6. Upper-upscale Property

Presented by: Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA)

WINNER: Crown Metropol Melbourne, VIC

H/C: The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, NSW

7. Luxury Property

Presented by: HotelHome Australia

WINNER: Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW

H/C: qualia, Hamilton Island, QLD

9. Business Hotel

Presented by: ISIS

WINNER: Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, NSW

H/C: Sofitel Melbourne On Collins, VIC

11. Hotel Interior Design

Presented by: ISIS

WINNER: Park Hyatt Sydney, NSW

H/C: The Darling, Sydney, NSW

12. Boutique Hotel

Presented by: Intrust Super

WINNER: Emporium Hotel, Brisbane, QLD

H/C: The Langham, Sydney, NSW

13. New Hotel

Presented by: New Creation Print

WINNER: Hilton Surfers Paradise, QLD

H/C: The Darling Sydney, NSW

17. Hotel Bar

Presented by: Southtrade

WINNER: Zeta Bar, Hilton Sydney, NSW

H/C: The Waiting Room, Crown Towers Melbourne, VIC

18. Hotel Restaurant

Presented by: San Pellegrino

WINNER: Lake House Restaurant, Daylesford, VIC

H/C: Long Pavillon, qualia, Hamilton Island, QLD

19. Tech Hotel

Presented by: iBahn

WINNER: The Darling Hotel, Sydney, NSW

H/C: Crown Metropol Melbourne, QLD

For the full list of winners and awards, click here.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The most outrageous hotel pampering ever

I came across this article online about some of the pampering you can receive at top hotels around the world. I'm not sure if I have been in the industry too long but a number of them don't actually seem that "outrageous".

The first is definitely the coolest in my opinion and I like that the Peninsula hotel in Hong Kong is mentioned as I used to make bookings there a few years ago.

The most outrageous hotel pampering ever

IT can be a tough call to cater to the whims of every traveller.
From luxurious touches such as helicopter transfers and pillow menus, to the whimsical, such as soap butlers and hammocks in the bathroom, some hotels are going the extra mile to satisfy.

These are the top 10 hotels with amenities so amazing you’ll never want to leave. The list was compiled by travel website TripAdvisor.

Sweet dreams

Who says bed-time has to be boring? At the Ritz-Carlton in Amelia Island, Florida, a pirate, a princess, and parrot can come to your room and surprise your children by reading them a bedtime story. Milk and cookies are also delivered.

Soap butler
At the Viceroy Riviera Maya at Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the concierge cut off pieces of guests' favourite soap, created in nearby Mayan communities. Scents change with the seasons, including melon in spring and cinnamon in winter.

Wheely-good service

A major drawcard for the Peninsula Hong Kong is its service that whisks guests off from the airport in a Rolls-Royce car. They are collected straight off the plane and escorted through immigration, with luggage carried for them along the way, of course.

For the rest of the article, click here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Whale watching with the Marriott

I was lucky enough to score an invite from Marriott hotels to join them for a day of whale watching on the Gold Coast on Saturday. This was the second time I've been whale watching as I had a similar invite back in 2006.

I was a little concerned the morning before when the weather was overcast and windy but we were lucky enough to get a beautiful day with calm seas. The boat itself was a luxury catamaran part of the Tallship Island Adventure fleet and the Marriott had a lovely seafood buffet for us to enjoy as we boarded.

We had about an hour out in the ocean checking out the whales before heading back to the calm of the canals and enjoying cocktails, canapes and some entertainment and McLaren's Landing.

It was a fantastic day and a big thank you to the teams at Surfers Paradise Marriott and Brisbane Marriott for my invite and their generous hospitality.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Helpful Hotels: 15 Great Examples of Remarkable Service That Earns Social Media Attention | ehotelier.com News Archives

A good article on how hotels are using social media to make memorable guest connections.

Adam's favourite was this one:

Social Media Increases Loyalty at Accor

According to Nancy Trejos at USA Today, Accor Hotels tried something cool at its Sofitel and Novotel properties in Philadelphia, Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C. – identifying loyalty members checking into the hotels that month, and then checking (public) social media profiles to identify the guests’ interests. A gift was then selected to “Take guest recognition to the next level, to a more powerful level,” said Magali Jimenez Bervill√©, director of e-commerce North America for Accor.

Some examples?

•For the guest who likes fine dining, an all-day behind-the-scenes tour of Tru in Chicago along with a night at the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower.

•For the guest who likes fishing, an eco-friendly fishing trip in the San Diego Bay.

•For the guest who likes luxury cars, a certificate to drive a Ferrari and Lamborghini.

•For the guest who likes lounging in spas, a day at the Hela spa in Washington, D.C., plus an overnight stay at the Sofitel.

•And for the guest who likes sports, VIP tickets to a hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and the Red Wings.

  Helpful Hotels: 15 Great Examples of Remarkable Service That Earns Social Media Attention | ehotelier.com News Archives

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Many Websites for Booking Hotels, But Little Competition | ehotelier.com News Archives

Have you noticed? Online hotel prices are becoming as homogenized as a quart of milk.

Big travel sites have gobbled up competitors. Discounters have bought other discounters. The concentration of nearly all travel booking engine websites ensures that most of them are reliable and efficient -- but tend to have exactly the same price.

Many Websites for Booking Hotels, But Little Competition | ehotelier.com News Archives

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Ekka holiday - closed

Just to let you know, its a public holiday tomorrow (August 15) in Brisbane for the Ekka. Since there's nothing major going on at the moment we will take the day off and enjoy the midweek break.

If its not too urgent, please feel free to leave a voicemail message or e-mail me and we'll get back to you first thing on Thursday morning.

The Bourne Legacy

Adam and I were lucky enough to get an invite to a special preview screening last night of The Bourne Legacy at the Dendy cinema at Portside. A big thanks to Stephen from the Stamford Plaza for our invitation and for being our gracious host for the evening.

No spoiler alert needed in this post other than to say that the Aussie cameo half way through was hilarious and the whole cinema burst out laughing.

Monday, August 6, 2012

International Geology Congress

Why is Brisbane so heavily booked you (and everyone that has rung in the last 2 weeks) ask? See the article below.

A decent size conference for Brisbane is anything over 1000 people attending, so 5000 is MASSIVE! We haven't seen a conference this size in the city since the Woolworths convention back in 2008.

5000 to hit Brisbane for geology summit

GEOLOGIST and BBC presenter Iain Stewart will be among 5000 delegates expected to descend on Brisbane this weekend for a global geology summit.

The 34th International Geological Congress was last held in Australia in 1976, in Sydney.

The last congress was held in Oslo four years ago.

Organisers say it will inject $18 million into the Queensland economy and will be the first event to book out every single meeting room in the city's Convention Centre.

More than 3000 speakers including Iain Stewart will appear over six days from Sunday.

Stewart is filming a series in the region and will speak during a session that focuses on the impact humans have had on the earth.

Channel Nine's Ray Martin will host a forum of international resource ministers which include Australia's Martin Ferguson and the resource ministers of Russia, Vietnam and China.

The Congress's president Neil Williams says the forum will stimulate a "truly global discussion" about managing the world's increasing use of resources.

Climate change is also expected to be a hot topic at the congress.

It will test the city's ability to host major events ahead of the G20 summit in 2014 when 7000 delegates and media are expected to flock to Brisbane.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Trump International Hotel Las Vegas

I've just got back from a week in Las Vegas for a basketball tour. Myself and a small group went over to check out the NBA Summer League and whilst there we stayed at the Trump International. For once, I didn't organise the accommodation (as I have no connections in the US) so the Trump wasn't actually my selection but it was a good one for our week.

Its off the strip and is a non-gaming hotel so its quieter than staying in one of the casinos (and therefore a little cheaper than you might expect). Location wise its across the road from the Fashion Show Mall which was perfect for some shopping or cheaper food options.

I stayed in a one bedroom suite which had a massive ensuite that included a large spa bath, double shower and double vanity. The suite had a kitchenette (virtually a full kitchen) so you could stock up the fridge with essentials which was great considering we were there for six nights.

As it isn't on the strip, the hotel provides courtesy shuttles that pick up and drop off at The Wynn as well as Caesars. I took full advantage of these to get around Vegas and to cut down on some walking during the 40 degree days.

My only negative about the hotel was that it is pet-friendly. I have allergies towards cats and dogs so was surprised to see a number of people checking in to the hotel with their small dogs. Thankfully that was the only place I saw them so it wasn't a big deal.

The staff were great, the hotel was really nice, my room was massive ... so my hats off to the Donald!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

London Olympics ... when will hotels learn?

Much like the Melbourne hotels during the Commonwealth Games in 2006, it seems the London hotels are struggling in the lead-up to the Olympics. Thinking they'd make a killing during this major event, hotels in London were trying to charge the earth for their rooms but for the last month or so panic has set in as they realise no one wants to (or can afford to) pay the ridiculous prices that they were trying to charge.

I for one hope the Brisbane hotels learn from this lesson in the lead-up to the G20 Summit in 2014 ...

London's hotels and restaurants empty ahead of Olympics 
Five-star London hotels are discounting their room rates by nearly half and top restaurants are easy to book. Even house rentals are disappointing

It's one of central London's top five-star hotels, regularly voted among the best on Trip Advisor. Yet this week it will discount its standard rate from £350 a night down to £200 amid a collapse in bookings ahead of the start of the Olympics.

"We don't normally discount below £250," said the manager, on the understanding that neither he nor the hotel would be named. "But although the hotel is fully booked for the duration of the Olympics, it's exceptionally quiet this week."

International visitors and domestic travellers avoiding London because of the Olympics have left hotels, restaurants and theatres unusually empty in the last few days before the start of the Games. "Even The Ivy has told us it has tables free. Usually it's us ringing them trying to find a table," the hotel manager said.
To read the rest of the article, click here.




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The hotel rooms to avoid

I came across a really good article about hotel rooms, those you need to avoid and how to ensure you don't end up in the worst rooms of a hotel. Click on the link at the bottom to read the full story.

Business travelers, avoid these rooms

By Jill Becker, Special to CNN

We've all been there. At the end of a long flight, you get to your hotel and check in, only to find that your room is right next to an ice machine that sounds like it has a severe case of whooping cough, or it's the only one on the floor not occupied by members of a high school marching band practicing through the night for a major competition.

Yes, a bad hotel room can ruin anyone's trip, but when you're traveling on business, the stakes are even higher. If it's not up to par or presents too many distractions, you may not be able to finish that big presentation or you might not be rested enough for that important client meeting.

To help you avoid these pitfalls, we consulted with Doug Peckham, who, after an extensive career working in hotels and resorts from Philadelphia to Puerto Rico, now oversees the stately Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa in Dallas. Located just minutes from the offices of major corporations such as Cinemark, Merrill Lynch and Southwest Airlines, the historic Stoneleigh attracts a significant business clientele, and Peckham knows just what those travelers need.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sydney's best hotel breakfasts

Anyone that knows me knows that I love a good breakfast. I have my own list of Brisbane's best hotel breakfasts (Sofitel is still # 1) so when I came across this article about Sydney's best, I had to share it. I'm yet to actually try any on the list so I'll need to make sure I work on this next time I'm down there.

We reveal Sydney's best hotel breakfast

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breakfast is always said to be the most important meal of the day, but most of us scoff down our toast or muesli in the morning rush. Sydney's luxury hotels offer a lesson in enjoying breakfast at its fullest, and most indulgent, potential.

So which hotel has the best eggs Benedict? The nicest dining room? The best of everything? Here are five meals worth waking up for. Bring an empty stomach — and a bib.

To read the rest of the article, click here

Mosaic Restaurant - Westin Sydney

Monday, June 25, 2012

State of Origin 3 accommodation

If you're after Brisbane accommodation for State of Origin 3 you've come to the right place! Don't worry about last minute websites or ringing hotels, we have by far the best prices in town.

Our options currently have a two night minimum stay in place, so if you do need more than one night, here's what we can do:

* One bedroom apartments (4 - 4.5 star): $395 on the 4th, $240 on nights either side

* We have a 5 star hotel with a rate of just $340/night!

* We have a 4 star hotel with a rate of $335 on the 4th and just $247 on nights either side

Get in quick because we don't have a large number of rooms. And of course ... go Queensland!!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Changes coming to the Perth hotel market

With Perth being the hottest hotel market in the country over the last two years much needed changes are coming. Here's a good article from WA today with the summary of what's on the way:

Crown stakes its claim in the west
June 16, 2012

UNDERNEATH and around that prominent Perth pyramid the Intercontinental Burswood, a lot of construction work is going on as the hotel prepares to become Crown Metropol Perth on June 27. The neighbouring Holiday Inn Perth Burswood is also in for a name change — from Wednesday it will be the Crown Promenade.

The changes are part of a $750-million makeover aimed at transforming the Burswood Entertainment Complex into a "destination" to be called Crown Perth from September. The Intercontinental has been busy refurbishing guest rooms and suites with a striking monochromatic palette that emphasises modern angular lines.

Downstairs, changes include a $20 million splurge on a day spa and a sprawling palm-fringed multi-pool entertainment area that's very Las Vegas meets Middle East. Those who've done well in the casino can lounge in one of six private cabanas ($165 weekdays, $250 at weekends) in an area known as the Enclave.

Chef Guillaume Brahimi, who already delights diners at his Sydney Opera House restaurant and Melbourne's Crown complex, will open a Bistro Guillaume at Burswood in September. A gastro-pub, The Merrywell, will open in the same month. Intercontinental/Crown Metropol rooms start from $435 a night; Holiday Inn/Crown Promenade rooms start from $285 a night. 

Trio of boutique stays

Perth's shortage of accommodation will ease with the opening of three hotels in the next six months. The Terrace Hotel, comprising 15 suites, is due to open in the city centre next month. The 236-room Fraser Suites Perth will open on the East Perth foreshore in October, and the 56-room Quincy Boutique Hotel is due for completion in November following an ambitious seven-month build in a former car park tucked behind the Perth Ambassador Hotel. Perth may need at least 1900 more hotel rooms by 2020.

To help things along, the Western Australian government has a raft of hotel development incentives: the first "incentivised" hotel site is the redevelopment of FESA (Fire and Emergency Services Authority) House in the city.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lady Gaga fails to deliver

No, I'm not talking about her on-stage performance ... I'm talking about filling the Brisbane hotel market. She's not my taste or style in music so this was not a concert I was ever going to attend.

Usually, big name musician + midweek concert in Brisbane = good things for the Brisbane hotel market (and of course us). So it was a rather disappointing surprise when the city failed to fill on Wednesday or Thursday last week when her concerts were on. I'm not sure if this was due to the Monday public holiday, the fact that its June and that corporate travel is slow or just that her concerts were out at Boondall and not at Suncorp Stadium (just outside the CBD).

What did surprise us tho was that the city filled on Tuesday night thanks to the Socceroos World Cup qualifying match against Japan at Suncorp.

We've loaded up on rooms for Coldplay in November which is midweek, during peak season and at Suncorp ... so it should be similar to U2 & Jay-Z, Bon Jovi, etc and be a very big event for the Brisbane hotel market.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Hotel websites

Thanks to one of the industry newsletters I read for pointing out this gem from The Hotel Internet Marketing Blog.

As we spend a lot of time on hotel websites and 3rd party hotel booking sites, I do wonder why they make things so hard.

K.I.S.S. :-)

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Borat thanked for lifting Kazakhstan tourism

From an industry newsletter this morning:

Borat thanked for lifting Kazakhstan tourism - Destination News - etravelblackboard.com

On the eve of the release of his new film ‘The Dictator’, Sacha Baron Cohen and his previous flick, ‘Borat’ have been thanked for boosting tourism to Kazakhstan.

Once banned from Kazakhstan for satirizing its people, Borat was recently acknowledged by Kazakhstan Foreign Minister Yerzhan Kazykhanov as being responsible for sparking massive interest in the country, AFP reported.

“With the release of this film, the number of visas issued by Kazakhstan grew tenfold,” local news agencies quoted the foreign minister as telling a session of parliament.

“I am grateful to 'Borat' for helping attract tourists to Kazakhstan.”

‘Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’ was released in 2006 to international acclaim.

But the Central Asian nation from which the film’s protagonist hailed took issue with the movie with its harsh depiction of Kazakh rural life and its people.

According to AFP, earlier this year, Kazakhstan lodged a formal complaint with the Olympic Committee of Asia after a spoof Kazakh anthem from the movie was broadcast at a sports event in Kuwait.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Melbourne trip

I've been to Sydney several times this year but last week I was down in Melbourne for the first time in a number of years. Melbourne is a very quiet market for us at the moment. The hotels are always extremely busy on the weekends (with leisure travel) but unless there is a major concert in town or Tiger Woods playing golf, its not usually too hard to find accommodation midweek.

Since I have very little pull down there right now I did some research to find the best accommodation deal and came up with a great rate for a 2 bedroom apartment (I had some friends staying with me) at Docklands Apartments Grand Mercure.

Other than seeing AFL games at Etihad Stadium, I really hadn't spent any time in the Docklands precinct. Its a little bit further away from the centre of the CBD than I thought but with the free tram stopping about 100m from our apartment block getting around was no problem. On the waterfront there were plenty of good restaurants and cafe's so this too wasn't an issue.

The Docklands Apartments aren't an actual hotel as such, instead its a number of apartment buildings next to each other that Grand Mercure manage. Essentially this just means that there is a separate check-in location and they then give you the keys and tell you which building and apartment you're in. Since there are no porters, no room service, etc the cost was so much cheaper than other 2 bedroom options around the CBD.

If you don't need the full services of a hotel, I'd recommend this property when you're travelling with a few others and want to keep the costs down. 

Docklands - New Quay

Monday, April 2, 2012

Easter trading hours

Easter and the April school holidays are a notoriously slow time for us and corporate travel on the whole. The states all seem to have different holiday dates and with numerous public holidays scattered throughout the month travel tends to shut down for a few weeks and picks back up again in May.

We've had a busy February and March so this isn't such a bad thing as we get the chance to catch our breath, regroup and prepare for the run to the end of the financial year. Due to the lack of calls and requests around this time we're going to take it a little easy and reduce our opening hours again.

From this week (starting April 2), we'll open at 9am each morning and close around 4:30pm. Obviously if we're busy we'll be open for longer but I highly doubt that. We will not be working the public holidays and so will have April 6 & 9 off (Good Friday and Easter Monday respectively).

I hope you enjoy the Easter break and don't over-indulge too much on chocolate ...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

One of the challenges that is Perth accommodation

Everyone (in the hotel industry) knows that Perth is Boomtown, USA right now and that the city is essentially filling midweek every week. If you don't get in a week or two early you will struggle to get availability and rates will be well over $400/night for even standard 4 star hotels.

This leads to the other challenge with Perth hotels ... and that is managing expectations. When you are paying over $300/night for a hotel room you have certain expectations about the standard you'll receive for that cost. In Sydney or Melbourne that will get you a 5 star hotel but in Perth during their peak times this is definitely not the case.

So the problem comes that not only are people having to pay far more than they're used to but they're not receiving the quality of accommodation they'd expect. The challenge for the Perth hotels is to justify the rates they charge other than just by saying "because we can". As you can see from the article below, Perth rooms are some of the oldest in the country but because they're so full so often the hotels don't get the chance to spend money refurbishing them and keeping them up to date.

The gap between the value of a hotel room in Perth and the price that is charged to the traveller has become so wide that we hear numerous complaints that even the decent hotels aren't up to standard. From what I've seen many of the hotels are fine (older but still ok), but when you're paying an arm and a leg for them its understandable that people will leave disappointed.

Old age looms
over hotel rooms

More than 40,000 of Australia’s
hotel rooms are aged 20 years
plus, posing a considerable
challenge for the industry over the
coming decade, new research has

Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels’
research revealed that Australia’s
accommodation product had aged
significantly with an estimated
average age of 10 to 14 years across
the country.

Of the seven state capitals,
Darwin had the newest rooms,
aged between five and nine
years, while Perth, Canberra and
Hobart had the oldest rooms, aged
between 15 and 19 years.

The average was skewed slightly
by newer serviced apartments,
while hotel rooms were often far

“It is generally accepted that the
sustainable life for a real estate
asset is around 30 to 40 years
before extensive refurbishment
and replacement works are
required,” the report said.

“A high proportion of rooms
will therefore require major
works over the coming decade,”
it predicted, adding that
refurbishment costs escalated in
line with the age of product.

Technology would become a
major issue for many hotels, with
necessary infrastructure requiring
extensive refurbishment in older

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

2011 by the numbers

At the start of each year, I sit down and work out our sales productions for hotels for the calendar year just gone to find out which cities are the biggest and which hotels get most of our bookings.

Here is a list of the capital cities that were most productive for us and how they compared to 2010:

1. Darwin (up 32%)
2. Brisbane (up 130%)
3. Perth (up 240%)
4. Sydney (down 14%)
5. Melbourne (down 55%)
6. Canberra (down 65%)
7. Adelaide (down 84%)

Comparing the cities to their ranks last year, Melbourne moved up the ladder mainly thanks to Tiger Woods and the President's Cup in November while Adelaide received the wooden spoon having fallen from 5th to 7th. The bottom three cities were very, very quiet for us and were not even close to Sydney in 4th, I hope this will change in 2012.

The positives were the great production in Perth and Brisbane which came as no surprise as they kept us very busy last year. I've nicknamed Perth "boomtown USA" because it fills almost every week (midweek) due to the mining boom, there aren't enough hotels to cope with the demand and the prices are through the roof. Brisbane is benefitting from the mining industry as well and really narrowed the gap between it and Darwin this year (which was miles ahead in 2010). Darwin continued to be our # 1 city purely due to a large contract we were helping with. Unfortunately this work is basically over now so it will take a huge drop next year.

Here is the list of the 10 hotels around Australia that we make the most bookings with:

1. Mantra Pandanas (Darwin)
2. M on Mary (Brisbane)
3. Perth Ambassador (Perth)
4. Mantra on the Esplanade (Darwin)
5. Chifley at Lennons (Brisbane)
6. All Suites Perth (Perth)
7. Macarthur Chambers (Brisbane)
8. Hotel Grand Chancellor (Brisbane)
9. Mantra on Murray (Perth)
10. Hotel Ibis (Perth)

One of the goals I set Adam at the start of last year was to help us book more rooms with less hotels rather than some rooms with lots of hotels. The best example of this in action is that the total sales for our top 10 hotels increased by 90% from their counterparts in 2010.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Back in the office

Today marks our first day back in the office for 2012.

January is a very quiet time for the corporate travel market so while our hours are officially 8:30 - 5 (Brisbane time), there may be times over the next week or two when the phone is diverted during these hours. We might be out catching up with some of our hotel contacts or sometimes if its quiet we're just taking an early mark. If you do call and get the voicemail during normal business hours please just leave a message and we'll get back to you shortly.

February is one of the busiest months of the year for us so things will quickly return to madness around here!

I hope you have a fantastic 2012 and we look forward to talking with you soon.