Home Hotel industry ‘A sigh of relief’: Hospitality industry buoyed by WA border opening

‘A sigh of relief’: Hospitality industry buoyed by WA border opening

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Western Australia reopened its border on Thursday after being closed to the rest of the country for nearly two years.

More than 23,000 passengers were due to travel to and from Perth this week on Qantas and Jetstar flights alone, Qantas said, as families and friends seek to reunite and business travelers take flight.

TFE Hotels, WA and NT Regional General Manager, Matthew Richardson, said SM exclusively that the state’s tourism operators “breathed a sigh of relief” when the border finally reopened.

“We are delighted to welcome guests back from across Australia and around the world over the coming days, weeks and months,” said Richardson.

“The past 697 days have not been without challenges. Travel for business, leisure, conferences and events has been severely impacted and sometimes non-existent. They are making us hard out west and at TFE we We have not been idle during the closing of the borders.

TFE Hotels has focused on team health and well-being and communication during the border closure, which Richardson says has been key to retaining our wonderful team. The company also launched the Vibe Hotel Subiaco and Storehouse Perth Subiaco rooftop restaurant in October 2020.

“Fortunately, Western Australians have fallen in love with what we do, so much so that our Storehouse restaurant received our first hat-trick earlier this year. So we look forward to showcasing these views of Perth from the roof of the Vibe as incoming visitors return to our shores,” he added.

Looking ahead, Richardson believes Western Australia is in a strong position to deal with rising Covid 19 cases.

“While we will face challenges in the coming months with recruitment and juggling furloughs for those who contract Covid, we look forward to getting back to work and welcoming everyone,” he said. declared.

Hilton sees ‘strong signs of recovery’

Hilton Hotels Area Vice President, APAC Paul Hutton said the company is eager to welcome domestic and international travelers to WA properties, but said the reopening of the border is only the first step on the road to the state’s tourism recovery.

“Pent-up demand for travel is real and we are already seeing strong signs of recovery,” Hutton said. SM exclusively.

“At Hilton, we are confident that in partnership with our great owners and with the support of our fantastic team members in Western Australia, we will see a significant increase in demand as domestic and international travel returns. in the state.”

While Hutton said Hilton’s four operating properties in Washington state faced a substantial setback, the group remained resilient and continued to open and sign properties across the state.

“Last November, we opened Hilton Garden Inn Albany, our first Hilton Garden Inn-branded property in Australasia. Late 2020 saw the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Waterfront and the signing of Hilton Garden Inn Busselton,” he said.

“So, despite the challenges of closing the borders of our operating hotels, we have been able to grow our pipeline with these positive openings and announcements over the past few years.”

Hilton also revealed a $45 million renovation of Parmelia Hilton in early 2021 after 10 months of renovations.

Hilton is optimistic that domestic travel will return to the leisure market first, but thinks Perth hotels could struggle due to the slower return of business travellers.

“As the center of Western Australia’s business industry, this will be most challenging for hotels in Perth, which have traditionally hosted a high percentage of business travellers,” he said.

Hyatt sees growth in WA corporate bookings

For Hyatt Hotels, which has only one WA hotel in Perth, currently operating as a dual-zone quarantine facility, the advantage will be in the WA market coming to the east coast where most of its hotels are located.

Kate Atkinson, regional vice president of sales and marketing for Hyatt Hotels, Pacific and Indonesia, said the company is already seeing an increase in corporate bookings from WA residents.

“Overall, we’re seeing the enterprise market really starting to come back,” Atkinson said. SM exclusively. “For the last few months after the lockdown, only small and medium-sized businesses were really traveling – they weren’t bound by the strict rules and regulations that a lot of these national or multinational companies have.

“We are now seeing many companies, global and domestic, starting to lift restrictions on travel and starting to see good term bookings from many companies based outside of WA, particularly mining and resources.”

Atkinson said there was also a recovery in the leisure market with forward bookings. A large portion of Hyatt’s loyalty members are based in WA, so the company is now targeting these members to book with Hyatt when they leave the state to visit family or friends.

The Hyatt Regency in Perth is currently operating as a two-zone quarantine hotel, using 30% of the hotel for bookings, while the rest of the hotel is dedicated to isolating travelers, operating completely separately with different staff and entry/exit points to the rest of the property.

“We are seeing a bit of recovery in this non-quarantine business, and with events, where [we will] bringing in domestic attendees to attend a conference or event in person, which is exciting,” she said.

IHG Hotels Exit Quarantine Program

IHG Hotels and Resorts also had a number of hotels involved in the quarantine program, but these are expected to reopen to travelers in the coming weeks.

“We have had a number of our hotels requisitioned to help WA Health manage the Covid pandemic and we are delighted that these hotels are now coming out of the program and delighted that they are reopening to the public after a long 6 week period. refresh and deep clean,” Matt Tripolone, managing director of IHG Australasia & Pacific, told HM exclusively.

“The moment the border collapses couldn’t be better.”

IHG Hotels in WA will intensify its marketing and sales activities aimed at leisure and business customers who now wish to travel to Perth.

“While we are realistic that the recovery will not be instantaneous and that it may take time for confidence to return, we are confident that we have the teams, strategies and tools in place to create positive momentum. and lead the recovery,” he said.

IHG hopes that now that the border is open, it can attract both the domestic labor market and, importantly, the large international labor market to ensure hotels are adequately staffed and able to provide a high level of service.