Intercontinental Hotel Group, Marriott International earmark Australia for expansion

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Melbourne CBD
The central business district (CBD) of Melbourne can be seen from the area located along the Yarra River called Southbank located in Melbourne, Australia, July 27, 2016. Reuters/David Gray

Major hotel operators such as Marriott International and Intercontinental Hotel Group have earmarked Australia as a growth centre. Intercontinental, for instance, sealed a deal with family-run private developer Salta Properties to open the first bespoke Indigo brand hotel in Melbourne.

The Indigo Hotel will be part of a 26-level apartment building at 699 La Trobe Street. It will be Intercontinental Hotel Group’s second offering of the brand in the country after an Indigo hotel in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley was opened last year.  It is slated to open in 2019.

Karin Sheppard, Intercontinental Hotel Group’s operating officer for Australasia and Japan, said the Indigo brand is going to adopt Dockland's waterfront history into the project’s design-led interior spaces, adding they have a great opportunity to create a strong neighbourhood story based on maritime history. "Today's travellers seek out experiences that are more individual,” Sydney Morning Herald has quoted her saying.

According to forecasts, Intercontinental's push into the country would result to strong medium to long-term revenue per average room rate (revPAR). Aside from Hotel Indigo, a Holiday Inn Express is slated for opening in Melbourne's Southbank by 2019, which means the group’s total Melbourne room count across its Holiday Inn, Indigo, Crowne Plaza and Intercontinental brands will reach a total of 1558.

As for Marriott International, new luxury brands such as the upmarket brand St Regis, W Hotel at Darling Harbour and the Ritz-Carlton at The Star are reportedly set to open. W Hotel on Collins Street is slated to operate in Melbourne in 2020. Daisho Development Melbourne and Cbus Property team up for its development at 447 Collins Street.

Anthony Ingham, the global brand leader of W Hotels Worldwide, recognises Australia as a high destination point for global hotel brands. He believes that there will be more to enter the country in the future. "The expansion into Melbourne marks the second W Hotel coming to Australia, following W Brisbane, which will open its doors in early 2018," he said.

Ingham added that since luxury travel is on demand, operators need to focus on creating an experience, instead of just keeping an eye in room quality. He cited rooms that do not require keys and phone applications that would make it easier for guests to head straight to their rooms as ways to create an experience.  Last year, Marriott International announced through a release published at news.marriott.com that it was on track to hit a target of 50 hotels for its Australia, New Zealand and Pacific portfolio. For more news about Australia, watch Newsy video below. 

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