The hotel sector is pegging its hopes on a full recovery with highly-anticipated brands ready to debut in Australia.
These brands will play a major role in generating revenue for the record number of new hotel developments set to open in the next three years.
Australia was one of the highest-performing countries in the first half of 2021, revenue per available room hit 74 per cent of 2019 levels in May before the Delta outbreak hit Sydney, according to hotel data provider STR.
While domestic and Trans-Tasman travel are keeping the sector afloat developers are looking further ahead, anticipating the return of international travellers.
From lifestyle to luxury, to selling a story or a service—as well as the selection of white label, independent or major operators—there are many considerations when it comes to selecting a hotel brand.
The Urban Developer has uncovered the big players, mergers, new entries and unexpected hotel brands entering the Australian market.
The US-based hotel operator presents a young, lifestyle-driven image.
The brick, heritage-listed Tyne House warehouse on the site will be incorporated into a Bates-Smart-designed, 18-storey development.
The boutique brand takes inspiration from art, music and local culture for styling the rooms and common areas.
The new development will have 264 rooms and a lobby bar as well as a rooftop restaurant and bar.
Operator: Ace Hotel Group
Developer: Golden Age
Location: 47-53 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney
Standard International’s first Australian offering will be within Fitzroy’s creative community.
The 127-room hotel will be serviced by the company’s “unique” style of hospitality, culinary and cultural experiences created to complement the surrounding culture of arts, supporting young professionals.
Operator: Standard International
Location: Corner of Rose and Fitzroy streets, Melbourne
Completion: Opening 2023
IHG are also working on multiple hotel conversions in Sydney and Brisbane with Pro-invest Group.
The companies are repositioning Sydney Primus Hotel as Kimpton Sydney. The perk-driven offering includes pet-friendly suites, free coffee, wine hours and bicycles.
They are also rebranding the Mecure Brisbane and Ibis Brisbane to its Voco brand.
Operator: IHG, Pro-invest
Location: 339 Pitt Street, Sydney
Completion: Opening October 2021
Melbourne-based developer Tim Gurner announced plans to own and operate a boutique brand when he launched Club Maison in January, 2021.
The luxury offering is based on the business model of Soho House in London and New York—an exclusive membership model—and will be an in-house operation.
Locations: 99 Fitzroy Street, Melbourne and 145-151 High Street, Prahan
Completion: Opening 2022
The Mondrian is positioned as a lifestyle, premium international brand with oversized elements and “spectacular” staircases.
The Gold Coast hotel is the latest offering in the brand alongside one in Singapore.
The Mondrian brand was part of SBE Group’s hotel assets, which were purchased by Accor in November, 2020.
Accor is also launching its first Fairmont brand in Australia—at Port Douglas’ Chiodo Corporations $300-million development.
Developer: Vitale Projects
Location: 50 The Esplanade, Gold Coast
This hotel will have an “upscale” positioning as part of NH Hotel Group’s offering with similar hotels in Europe and Latin America.
The hotel development was approved in May, 2021 and will have 254 rooms, gym, business facilities and a restaurant.
The hotel is aimed at leisure and corporate travellers.
There are also plans for an NH Hotel on Burelli Street, Wollongong in the group’s upscale and midscale brand.
Operator: Minor Hotels
Developer: 59 Wentworth Ave Developments Pty Ltd
Location: 55-59 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney
Completion: Early 2024
Marriott’s Moxy brand has grown from 12 to 71 hotels globally since its launch in 2014, including a new development in Auckland.
The Australian new-build in Melbourne will target staycations to a younger clientele with a “playful”, affordable offering.
The Melbourne development boasts 180 rooms and fast wi-fi. The brand will also have a presence in Western Australia with a new development planned for 195 Hay Street in East Perth.
Developer: Hector Ktori and Peter Arvanitis
Location: 30-32 Claremont Street, Melbourne
Completion: Early 2022
This culinary-based hotel offering has a Swiss heritage and opened its first Australia property in 2021.
While being a relatively new brand in Australia, Movenpick manages 20,000-plus rooms in more than 82 hotels globally.
In January, 2021 a Hobart Mövenpick opened with Singaporean-based global hospitality group Global Premium Hotels.
Developer: Fragrance Group
Location: 160 Spencer Street, Melbourne
New brands are opening in the hotel sector with storytelling, niche clientele and location playing a large part in hotel selection.
Boutique brands have taken the interest of global companies looking to reinforce their market share in an environment of cheap and plentiful capital.
In recent years, Accor gained Mantra along with the smaller Art Series, Marriott bought Starwood and Hyatt took Two Roads on board.
These companies are also bringing international brands to the Australian market for the first time, where lifestyle or luxury offerings are on the upswing and more unusual, independent brands are entering the scene.
Minett Prime Square managing director Arnaud Millécamps said developers needed to look at the location and positioning of the hotel as well as the demand in the area, competition and potential for return on investment.
“There are now many hotel brands covering every segment of the market from economy to luxury, from limited service to full and indulgent service,” Millécamps said.
“Obtaining the right brand and operator fit for a hotel is crucial, especially as most hotel management agreements are long-term.”
Resort Brokers managing director Trudy Crooks said ultimately it was about what the brand brought to the developer or buyer and how it attracted customers.
“Lots of people, when selecting a brand, are also looking, not just at the brand above the door and what that means to them, but what the booking system is and the loyalty program,” Crooks said.
“It’s more about what operating model they want—are they looking for a hotel management agreement, a lease, a group that want to own and operate—because that will underlie the financial viability if it’s a new development.
“If it’s an established hotel it’s very much down to the type of accommodation, the market drivers and what you’re looking for in a brand.”
Crooks said while big companies were introducing new brands all the time there was also a trend towards white label operators.
“Which means that you might have a really great hotel that’s been run by a family, that’s got a name and brand of its own but they want all the hotel booking systems and access to their loyalty platforms,” Crooks said.