All posts by Martin Kelly

Sign of the Times at Brokenwood – and the Hunter Valley

It’s a huge day in the ever-evolving Hunter Valley with wine industry legend James Halliday opening the brand new tasting rooms and restaurant at Brokenwood, a winery he founded in the early 1970s with fellow Sydney solicitors Tony Albert and John Beeston.

Almost 50 years on, Halliday is the sole survivor of the original trio and, at 80, remains incredibly productive, unchallenged as Australia’s leading wine writer. More 

Strong Christmas Bookings for Australian Holiday Parks

The Melbourne Cup is done, and won, and summer’s almost here. As temperatures rise, holiday park operators around Australia are working frantically to prepare for the holiday hordes who will descend over the Christmas break, six weeks when normal life ends and it’s time to work, work and work some more.  RMS Cloud has spoken with some of Australia’s leading holiday park operators to find out how the peak summer season is shaping up. Here’s what they had to say. More 

Hotel Demand Solid, International Visits Increase

Most of Australia’s hotel markets are in good shape due to consistent underlying demand across the nation – except for Western Australia – resulting in an average occupancy rate of 76% and an increase in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) of 2.9% for the year to June 30, according to the latest Accommodation Industry Monitor from STR. More 

Record First Quarter Revenue for Qantas

Qantas revenue for  the first quarter for the FY18 has hit a record high of $4.41 billion, an increase of 6.3% over the same period last year, despite rising fuel costs. The airline’s CEO Alan Joyce attributed the result to increased passenger revenue (higher fares) and capacity discipline. This also reflected in the value of forward bookings, which is up 8%. Domestic was the revenue growth engine at +6.8% while international was up 4%. See Qantas results release.

Cruise Pumps Almost $5 billion into Australian Economy, Report

Cruise tourism contributed almost $5 billion to the Australian economy in the 17/18 financial year, according to a new combined report from  industry groups CLIA Australasia and the Australian Cruise Association. The report claimed 1236 “ship visits” led to 3.5 million passenger and crew visit days, raising $2.3 billion in direct economic output and $2.5 billion in indirect and induced output. More 

Jeff Lewis, VP Technology & Strategic Initiatives, TripAdvisor

Jeff’s current role is Vice President of Technology Strategy of TripAdvisor. This involves searching the globe for the best technology, ideas and businesses to complement or extend TripAdvisor Experiences’ mission of helping people around the world plan and have the perfect trip. 

Jeff was previously Vice President, Engineering for Viator and where he spent a decade managing the software development and IT infrastructure teams through that hyper growth period.

Since the acquisition of Viator by TripAdvisor in 2014, Jeff has been involved in many challenging and exciting initiatives to scale and integrate Experiences into the world’s largest travel site.

Nigel Benton, Publisher, Australasian Leisure Management

Nigel Benton is the co-owner and publisher of Australasian Leisure Management, Australia and New Zealand’s only magazine for professionals in all areas of the leisure industry.

Nigel established the magazine in 1997, shortly after his relocation to Australia, and has managed its readership rising to over 11,000 and its acceptance as the industry journal for professionals in aquatics, attractions, events, fitness, recreation, sport and venues.

Over recent years the magazine has expanded online with its website attracting 80,000 unique visits each month.

The magazine also has an active presence on twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Vasso Zographou, Director, Savills Hotels

Vasso Zographou is a Director for Savills Hotels, Australia & New Zealand. His responsibilities encompass Capital Market activities and overseeing the broad range of advisory services which the team provides to its clients.

As a Chartered Accountant, Vasso has spent the last 28 years across virtually all aspects of the hotel industry acting for owners and banks and hotel operators including, sales & acquisitions of hotel assets & portfolios and/or at the entity level, corporate finance, development, asset management, operator selection and management agreement negotiation, vendor & purchaser financial due diligence and capital transaction closure services.

Prior to joining Savills Vasso was Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer, Asia Pacific, for the Radisson Hotel Group, Joint Managing Director of Horwath HTL Australia and a Partner of Horwath Sydney.

Michael Simpson, Managing Director, Savills Hotels

Michael is responsible for the management and development of the Savills Hotels business in Australia and New Zealand, and its integration with the Asian and global Savills Hotels platforms.

He has a particular focus on investment sales, capital raising, joint ventures and advising on and structuring hotel and mixed use developments.

Before joining Savills, Michael spent more than 10 years as a lawyer responsible for advising on, structuring, negotiating and executing asset level and entity level single asset and portfolio hotel and resort sales, corporate M&A real estate transactions, bilateral, syndicated and private placement financing, and capital market bond issuance.

Michael also spent four years leading a hotel, resort and leisure development team in the Middle East, and jointly established the company’s hotel and leisure asset management team.

Josh Oaks, Founder, The Sunshine Tribe

In 2007 Josh and his wife started a day tour company in Melbourne, Australia. 

They had no experience in tourism, no  business experience, no networks or support and no funds. 

After two years  of 60 hour weeks, they were taking home $20,000 a year and had nearly thrown in the towel more times than they could count. 

Fast forward seven years and they had grown that business to $2 million plus in revenue annually, before selling the company in 2017 for seven figures.

They achieved this without working themselves into an early grave – creating a great lifestyle where they stepped out, worked remotely, travelled 4-6 months of the year, enjoyed all the things that they love about life and empowered others to run their business as it grew.

Josh recently launched – helping  tour and activity operators,  and small tourism businesses across the globe build amazing businesses AND create awesome lives for themselves.

Peak Travel Month Sends Global Airline Loads to Record High

Overall global airline load factor hit what the International Air Transport Association (IATA) believes may be a record high of 85.3% during the peak travel month of August.  “The industry experienced continued strong traffic growth in August, putting the cap on a very good peak travel season. The all-time record load factor reflects that airlines are maximizing the efficiency of their assets at a time of rising fuel prices and other costs that are limiting the opportunities for low fare stimulation,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.     

Quirin Schwaighofer, Co-Founder & COO, MadeComfy

Quirin is an entrepreneur, innovator and strategy enthusiast and Co-Founder & COO of Australia’s sharing economy innovator MadeComfy.

MadeComfy, launched in 2015, is Australia’s first performance-based home sharing partner and a fast-growing disruptor in the Real Estate and Travel markets.

MadeComfy enables property owners to participate in the sharing economy boom by renting out their properties on the fast-growing short-and mid-term rental market.

That way, property owners are able to cash in ~40% higher net returns than through traditional rentals whilst guests booking MadeComfy enjoy a unique and creative experience and a high level of comfort and convenience. 

Prior to MadeComfy, Quirin co-founded tech start-up HiKey Resources to develop a mobile workforce management solution tailored to the harsh requirements of businesses operating in the Mining and Construction Industries. HiKey operates in Germany, Australia and Chile. 

Growth Accelerates as AccorHotels Hits 1000 APAC Properties

AccorHotels has opened its 1000th in Asia Pacific, the Pullman Tokyo Tamachi, and is aiming to open one new property in the region every two days by 2020. 

“We currently open, on average, a new hotel in Asia Pacific every three days, but our goal is to move this to a new hotel every second day by 2020 and one hotel per day globally,” said Michael Issenberg, CEO Asia-Pacific AccorHotels. More