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EXECUTIVE Q&A: Minor Hotels Chief Operating Officer Australia and NZ, Craig Hooley


Traveltalk puts the travel industry’s leaders under the microscope to find out more about its latest projects, innovations and developments.

Minor Hotels’ Chief Operating Officer, Craig Hooley

Minor Hotels represents hotel brands in Australia including Oaks Hotels, Avani Hotels and soon, NH Hotels and its luxury offshoot, NH Collection – with the latter two under development.

First announced in 2020, NH Collection Sydney will be a 254-room newbuild property in the Sydney CBD, featuring a restaurant, lobby bar, fitness centre and conference facilities. Whilst originally estimated to open in 2023, the pandemic has pushed this back.

NH Hotels is eyeing regional Australia for its debut and will welcome guests to a 243-room hotel in Wollongong. While also originally forecast to open this year, this project has also been delayed.

For more, Traveltalk sat down with Minor Hotels’ Chief Operating Officer, Craig Hooley.

 

Thanks for your time Craig. How far, if at all, has the pandemic set Minor Hotels back in terms of hotel development and openings?

The pandemic has had a material impact on our development and opening pipeline. The two main areas that caused a decline in the pipeline was the number of properties transacting during COVID resulted in a similar reduction in EOI for operator selection, and the second impact was many developers stopped development activity during COVID due to the uncertain future at the time.

Both of these factors have returned to pre-COVID levels and we expect to see significant growth over the coming years.

NH Collection Sydney is now on track for a 2025 opening.

What is the progress of NH Collection Sydney? When is this now expected to open?

NH Collection Sydney has not been significantly impacted by COVID and construction on the site has commenced. The hotel is on track for an opening in 2025.

What parts of Australia does Minor see as the most fruitful areas for new hotel development?

Minor is actively looking in all capital cities in Australia and key secondary locations including the Gold Coast, Wollongong, Newcastle, and Geelong. We believe over the next 10 years as travel to Australia becomes more direct and convenient, we will see larger international numbers coming to Australia.

Why should travel agents keep Minor Hotels and its brands front of mind when arranging accommodation for clients?

Travel agents work closely with Minor Hotels because while we are the in the top 20 hotel companies globally, we do have a very localised team who can work directly with travel agents and provide customised solutions that allow travel agents to add value to their sales.

How does Minor Hotels encourage travel agents to book their clients into your hotels and what incentives are there for this?

Minor Hotels is very proactive within the TMC space. Within this market it is important to ensure relationships are built on trust and efficiency and we have done this through individual management of accounts as well as through our Strategic Partnership Director who works directly with agents on how we can improve our services, increase sales and help the travel industry as a whole.

We have been through a challenging few years together, so it’s essential that the travel industry sees us as market leaders. We are constantly working with the TMC’s with fun engagement activities and incentives to increase sales and maintain strong brand awareness.

 


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Written by: Matt Lennon
Published: 17 January 2023

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