Mixed development central to AccorHotels expansion; best bet for ROI, says Gaurav Bhushan

Instead of creating a single massive luxury property, AccorHotels is smartly mixing its offerings to cater to different segments of travellers. Located in the same building complex, running two or more properties in the same space helps reduce operational expenses and optimizes returns on investment, says Gaurav Bhushan, Global Chief Development Officer AccorHotels. He shares key trends in mixed development space in AccorHotels. 

Gaurav Bhushan, Global Chief Development Officer AccorHotels2AccorHotels has a long history of opening combined hotel developments which encompass two or more of its brands within the one complex or precinct. For example, in Sydney’s Olympic Park precinct the group opened a combined Novotel and ibis hotel before the 2000 Games and has since added a Pullman hotel across the road which utilises the same back of house areas underneath the street. An ibis Budget followed several years later. These combined developments give guests access to more facilities and mean that the group can cater to different types of travellers in the one destination.

In 2011, the group opened Novotel Bangkok Platinum, located in the heart of Bangkok’s shopping district and strategically on top of Thailand’s largest fashion shopping centre – Platinum Fashion Mall. The hotel is located on the 6th floor of Platinum Fashion Mall, Zone 3, which is the region’s top wholesale shopping centre. With a panoramic view of Bangkok’s city centre, it features 283 “new generation” guest rooms and suites. As part of its guest service experience, the hotel also provides a “Personal Shopper” for in-house guests and personalised shopping delivery service from Platinum Fashion Mall where guests can shop and have the goods delivered to their rooms instead of carrying it around.

In 2013, Mercure Bangkok Siam and ibis Bangkok Siam, located within the same building in the Siam area of the Thai capital, were opened by the group. Although they share accessibility within the same building, Mercure Bangkok Siam and ibis Bangkok Siam are two different hotels, each of which has been uniquely designed with modern facilities and attractive room rates. With 189 guestrooms each, the two hotels provide a total of 378 international-standard rooms that cater to business and leisure travellers alike.

In 2014, AccorHotels announced that they would be part of a new mixed-use hotel, commercial and retail precinct to be developed in Mascot, near Sydney Airport. The group signed a management agreement with Goodman to manage a 5-star hotel as the Pullman Sydney Airport, part of an AUD$100 million development project that encompasses extensive office and retail facilities. The just opened Pullman Sydney Airport not only adds 229 rooms to Sydney’s tourism infrastructure but it will be the first internationally branded 5-star hotel serving the international airport precinct. Pullman Sydney Airport is right next door to ibis Sydney Airport and one of the great benefits of these dual or multi-hotel developments is that it allows guests to use the facilities of all the Accor Hotels properties in the precinct. For example they can stay at the ibis but dine at the Pullman.

In August 2015, AccorHotels, along with developers Flynn Property Group and Scott Flynn Properties, commenced with the construction of two new-build hotels, Pullman and ibis at Brisbane Airport. The new 5-star Pullman and 3.5-star ibis hotels will be built at Brisbane Airport’s Domestic Terminal Precinct as part of a new $150 million development project. The hotels branded with Australia’s largest hotel group AccorHotels will adjoin a new Brisbane Airport Conference Centre.

The Pullman Brisbane Airport will feature 130 rooms including two Presidential Suites, 10 Junior Suites and 45 Executive Rooms. The ibis Brisbane Airport will offer 243 rooms including 99 Superior rooms.

AccorHotels announced the opening of its upscale Pullman New Delhi Aerocity and the Novotel New Delhi Aerocity in November. The two hotels, with a combined room inventory 670, were launched at New Delhi Aerocity, a 43-acre hospitality precinct at Delhi International Airport. The opening of the two hotels took the group’s presence to three properties in New Delhi Aerocity, along with ibis Delhi Airport that opened in 2014, making the hospitality major the largest hotel operator in the precinct. The Pullman New Delhi Aerocity and Novotel New Delhi Aerocity were developed as a part of a strategic and joint partnership between InterGlobe Enterprises Ltd, APHV India Invest co Pte Ltd and AccorHotels. The Pullman is a perfect mix of luxury and convenience whilst Novotel New Delhi Aerocity exemplifies a midscale hotel brand which is a classic blend of modernity, design, simplicity and efficiency. Both hotels  feature an assortment of dining options which span a total of five restaurants and offer an exciting mix of food and beverage options from South Asian street food to Tapas and a fine selection of wines. Both hotels are also positioned strongly to respond to India’s growing Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) needs.

In May this year, AccorHotels signed an agreement with Bankstown RSL to open a new hotel in South Western Sydney under its international midscale brand, Mercure. The 5-storey, 240-room Mercure Sydney Bankstown hotel will be developed in two stages. The hotel located on Marion Street Bankstown, will be developed on the second level above the podium floor of the Bankstown RSL Community Club’s facilities and will have a dedicated street entrance leading to a reception and public areas. Construction of the mixed-use development is expected to commence in July 2016 and Mercure Sydney Bankstown is likely to open in late 2017.

Following the announcement in Sydney on the development of Mercure Sydney Bankstown, AccorHotels announced the opening of three new hotels under the Pullman, Novotel and Mercure branding with Wanda Group in Nanchang in the Greater China region, as a key development of the Nanchang Wanda Cultural Tourism City. It is the largest investment project in three decades for Jiangxi Province. Pullman, Novotel and Mercure Nanchang Wanda will form part of the biggest hotel cluster featuring 1,388 guest rooms, 4 restaurants, 3 bars and 1,310 square metres of banquet and meeting space including an 800-square-metre pillar-less ballroom in addition to wellness facilities. The three properties combined will offer the largest guest room inventory under the AcccorHotels Greater China portfolio.

“Mixed use development has emerged as a real trend in hospitality because it sometimes a destination might not warrant a 500-room five-star hotel but could really benefit from both luxury and economy rooms,” said Gaurav Bhushan, Global Chief Development Officer AccorHotels. “It allows for cost savings from utilising shared facilities and provides a good return for owners”

AccorHotels has seen key social trends, shifting cultural preferences, and new ways of working and connecting have clearly begun to drive the shape of today’s cities in fundamentally different ways.

Room layouts, guest bathrooms, and design styles are being developed in response to each brand’s target customer base and changes in technology. Airports are no longer considered transport hubs, they are transforming into complete entities where hotels, conference centres, retail and office spaces co-exist.

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