TOP-END STRATEGY FOR MANTRA

Written on the 11 March 2011

TOP-END STRATEGY FOR MANTRA

FOLLOWING the successful launch of the five-star Peppers Broadbeach asset last year, hotel management giant Mantra Group will continue selling off ‘old, underperforming properties’.

According to CEO Bob East (pictured), Mantra’s offerings will be refined to only include top-end hotels that are considered ‘brand consistent’. The strategy comes a year after the Mantra brand broke away from Stella Hospitality Group to become Mantra Group, incorporating Mantra, Peppers and BreakFree hotels.

“There are around half a dozen BreakFree hotels, many on the Gold Coast, that we have sold due to their age and market placement and we will continue selling off the properties that aren’t consistent with our brand,” says East.

“With the new five-star properties we’ve added to our portfolio we don’t want to have a string of three-star hotels tailing us; soon all the Mantra Group hotels will be four and five-star properties.”

East is quick to clarify that the shift doesn’t indicate a downscaling of Mantra’s properties, with seven new constructions underway to add to the 140 in its portfolio.

Growth in business tourism in Australia’s capital cities has new hotels under construction in Brisbane, Darwin and Melbourne; while builds in Fiji, Townsville, Mackay and the Maldives are expected to increase visitation to the regions.

As the Gold Coast tourism sector continues to under-perform, East emphasises the importance of marketing to the strengths of each destination. With the interstate drive market slow, he is optimistic Asian tourists can boost Queensland’s regional prospects.

“We continue to identify the key markets for each region and push our offerings to those demographics,” he says.

“The international flight market is still imperative to North Queensland’s tourism sector but the flood and cyclone coverage will impact the tourism sector for at least three months. That’s unfortunate because most of the clean-up is finished within three weeks.

“The Gold Coast is more heavily reliant on the New South Wales drive market which hasn’t been performing well lately, but Asia is growing rapidly.

“China is a huge market and to be competitive with Asia we need to look at their infrastructure and what it is they offer. Hong Kong for example is unbelievable. Governments need to understand that tourism is the key economic driver and the Gold Coast is well below par.”

Opening in November, Peppers Broadbeach has been a shining light on the Gold Coast with Sydney and Melbourne visitors leading almost full occupancy rates. East is confident of replicating the success in North Queensland and has backed top-end developments in Mackay and Townsville undertaken by Laing O’Rourke and Martinek Developments.

The only blight on an otherwise stellar year for the hotel management company is ongoing legal clashes with Q1 apartment owners and body corporate members over Mantra’s attempt to trademark the Q1 brand.

Mantra Group won the 2010 Queensland Tourism Award for tourism marketing excellence and also the major’s Corporate Social Responsibility award at the Gold Coast Business Excellence Awards.

With 1100 staff at its Cavill Avenue head office and around 3500 staff nationally, Mantra joins Gold Coast City Council and Jupiters Hotel & Casino as one of the city’s largest employers.

Top Companies 2010 Profile: Mantra Group
CEO: Bob East
Revenue ’10: $500 million
Forecast Growth: 12.7 per cent
Staff: 3500 (1100 Gold Coast)
Established: 2010
(split from Stella Hospitality)


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