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Published on : Friday, November 15, 2013
Fast-growing Sydney-based accommodation operator StayWell Hospitality Group (StayWell) is set to expand to New Zealand after signing a major five-hotel management agreement with international hotel investor CP Group.
StayWell, operator of the Park Regis and Leisure Inn hotel brands, will take over properties in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Rotorua and Picton, now operated by Accor under the Mercure badge.
The debut New Zealand deal is a significant move for the Australian company, which launched with just five hotels in NSW and Tasmania in 2006 and already commands an international portfolio numbering 32 properties.
Group CEO and Managing Director, Simon Wan, says the multi-property agreement is part of StayWell’s deliberate strategy to grow its network to at least 100 hotels in three years.
“This is another key strategic milestone for StayWell as the New Zealand market is complementary to Australia, with visitors from each country representing a large percentage of the other’s annual international visitation,” Mr. Wan said.
“From a branding perspective, it strengthens the value proposition and loyalty to the group and further internationalises our brands.”
Management agreements with CP Group, to take effect from December 1 (2013), will see
the five properties rebranded as Park Regis Auckland, Park Regis Dunedin, Park Regis Picton, Leisure Inn Wellington and Leisure Inn Rotorua.
CP Group, headquartered in Auckland, is owned by the Pandey family, headed Charles Pandey and run by his son Prakash Pandey.
It is New Zealand’s largest private hotel owner with 20 properties across that country, as well as interests in Australia, Singapore, India, Fiji and the United States.
“Recently, an industry magazine reported that many international hotel companies would love to do business in New Zealand but, with development costs so high and room rates relatively low, the best way to enter the market was to deal with CP Group.
“We did just that, and we have done so very successfully,” Mr. Wan said.
“It gives us prime position in the capital Wellington, in the largest city Auckland, the ‘city of the south’ Dunedin, and two major tourist centres, the Marlborough region and Rotorua.
StayWell plans extensive interior refurbishment of the Wellington and Auckland hotels and will complete room upgrades already underway at the Picton property.
Their substantial five-hotel entry into New Zealand follows the company’s recent push into India, where StayWell has so far secured eight hotel agreements, and the opening earlier this year of its first Indonesian property, Bali’s new Park Regis Kuta.
“Most of Australia’s major hotel brands are now overseas owned and operated,” Mr. Wan said. “We are one of the very few hotel companies based in Australia, and we are proud to not only remain here, but to expand internationally from our Australian base.
“StayWell has established a UK-Europe development office in London, with our first hotel in England, Park Regis Birmingham, due to open in 2014.
“And we have many more deals in the pipeline, including in India, China and Australia, putting us well on track to achieve our goal of more than trebling our portfolio by 2016.”
The NZ hotel deal was negotiated by Richard Doyle, Executive Director and Corporate Counsel and Rodolphe Belin, Group Development Director of StayWell with Prakash Pandey and Grahame Fong of CP Group.