Salter Brothers were pleased to be invited to be part of the HM Magazine 2020 Industry Leaders Forum, published in February/March 2020.
Leading Owners 2020
Salter Brothers is one of Australia’s leading investment managers in the hospitality sector. Following another successful capital raise in the second quarter of 2019, we settled on our 7th asset acquisition in our Australian hotel fund, Next Hotel Brisbane, which saw our fund achieve circa $1 billion in asset value – a fantastic milestone. We also completed our refurbishment and relaunch of the voco hotel Gold Coast in early 2019 and substantially completed major redevelopments and refurbishments of both Crowne Plaza Melbourne and Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach.
Leading our hotel relaunch activity for 2020 is Crowne Plaza Melbourne. We will relaunch this riverfront hotel to the market in June with an additional 40 guestrooms and a new dedicated focus placed on attracting events, conferences, meetings and exhibitions to utilise a variety of new spaces, following the completion of its multimillion–dollar redesign. The hotel has been redeveloped to now include a purpose–built events centre, 10 new flexible meeting spaces and new event dining concepts, with all 430 guest rooms also having been renovated. With a new–look lobby and arrival experience and informal and formal co–working spaces which can be booked by the hour or the day for private meetings, workshops or dining, our new offering aims to capture the evolving trends of our customers.
This story is also very similar for our Crowne Plaza Coogee Beach hotel which will be relaunched in two phases; 1st March with most facilities available and then finally on 1st October, with the new infinity edge pool and pool club with unmatched 180 degree views over the Pacific Ocean.
Also new in 2020 will be the commencement of our dedicated Restaurant and Bars team, which will operate our facilities in the relaunched hotels. Headed up by the much celebrated and extremely talented Executive Chef, Matthew Butcher, we are excited to be investing in, creating and operating innovative new hospitality concepts which will provide on–trend experiences for our hotel customers and local communities and distinguish our hotels from competitors. We’ve created this dedicated team to bring a new approach to operating restaurants and bars (R&B) in hotels in Australia and, along with other owner operators in our sector, will look to reposition hotel R&B experiences to be the first preference for guests.
On the development front, we are progressing our planning on new hotel projects in Canberra and Melbourne. Our site in Canberra is adjacent to our currently held Crowne Plaza Canberra hotel, which neighbours the Canberra Convention Centre and Casino. We plan to commence construction by year–end on a Holiday Inn Express hotel and target the select–service accommodation opportunity in this fantastic location. We also expect further growth opportunities may present and we will remain active on further acquisition opportunities where we see value in line with our investment strategy.
Some other major focuses for the Group in 2020 include furthering our sustainability goals and innovations through technology, delivering improved digital services for guests and improved margins for the business through automation. We have already achieved advancements in our InterContinental Melbourne hotel where we have successfully deployed the AirService in– room tablet innovation. We believe there is much more to be achieved here, given the hotel industry is behind other sectors in their advancements.
We share the view of industry analysts in that we are expecting the markets in 2020 to remain strong, with continued growth in demand for hotel room nights. However, we also anticipate new supply will outpace demand in some markets in 2020 and result in short–term occupancy declines. Again, along with industry analysts’ views, we expect these to recover over time and throughout the period fundamentals will remain positive for investment and investment returns.