Earlier this month was the 10th anniversary of the Australian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE) – hosted and presented by HM Magazine at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne – and Kohler Australia once again was a Silver Sponsor at the event.
With the largest attendance of delegates in its 10-year history, AHICE is now the #1 attended hotel industry conference in APAC. 850 delegates joined key figures from global Hotels and related industries spanning from developers to designers, builders and real estate to investors and financiers, in addition to keynote speakers and thought leaders from around the world.
Day One’s proceedings kicked off with a welcome by Howard Kemball (Host of AHICE & Director, KCom) and James Wilkinson (Editor-In-Chief, HM magazine) followed by an overview of local tourism by the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Sally Capp. Together they cheered 10 years of AHICE as a giant anniversary birthday cake was presented to the group for their enjoyment at the morning tea break!
With yet another world class speaker program comprising industry members and presenters from around the globe, the 10th AHICE conference looked sure to provide an informative and inspirational series of discussions and panels.
Kenneth MacPherson – CEO of EMEE, IHG got the main event underway in a Q&A session talking about IHG’s past twelve months – a very busy time for the company, launching two new brands (Avid and Voco) and acquiring two luxury brands in Regent and Six Senses.
This session was followed by a thought-provoking Executive Panel discussion on “What Owners Want”.
Panellists ranged from boutique hotel owners including Dr Jerry Schwartz (Schwartz Family Co – Australia’s biggest private hotel owner) and Malcolm Bean (Owner of luxury properties Mount Lofty House, Sequoia Lodge, The Reef House etc) to financiers Lucia Grambalova (GM Hotel Investments Mulpha AU Ltd) and David Scalzo (Perri Projects – investment and development group) and host Howard Kemball. A controversial discussion point from this panel saw Dr Jerry Schwarz jumping to his feet, waving signs to “Maintain Rates” – a message for hotel owners not to cut room rates, creating a price war – rather than guests selecting on hotel and brand experience.
Executive panels explored the “Boutique Blooming” and the Development of Luxury Brands” with IHG, Accor, Marriott and Hyatt VPs and Directors sharing key points around boutique hotels being on the rise as they believe that smaller properties offer more flexibility in design and services for the owner and developer and we should see an influx of boutique openings in the next 2 – 3 years.
Hotelier Q&As for the day included Simon McGrath from Accor Hotels who enlightened delegates on their signing of the new $100 million world class beachfront resort in Byron Bay; Paul Bromley from Choice Hotels APAC explaining how Choice Hotels Asia-Pac has rolled out the ‘Book on Google’ feature across its Australian hotel network allowing travellers to search and pay for their preferred hotel through the Google platform rather than a third-party website.; Dino Messatesta from The Star in Sydney who spoke about their hotel rebrand to The Star Grand Hotel including a $100million renovation and refurbishment underway and…
Heidi Kunkel from the Hilton Australasia who shared on the Hilton’s 100 year celebration as well as the overall performance of the ever-growing portfolio of Hilton Hotels & Resorts in Australia, NZ and the South Pacific.
Investor Q&As included Pro-Invest’s CEO Ron Barrett talking about their recent deal with IHG for a 245 room Holiday Inn Express Hotel in Adelaide, while private investor Dr Jerry Schwartz talked about his recent purchase of the Hilton Surfers Paradise, cementing his place on the hotel and tourism industry map now with management rights to 5 groups and 14 hotels in his ever-increasing portfolio.
Keynote speaker for the day, in association with Fairmont Designs, was Gus Balbontin. As the former Executive Director and CTO of Lonely Planet, Gus led one of the most loved brands in the world through significant disruption. An investor, entrepreneur, founder and explorer, having spent decades helping businesses adjust strategies, products, services and culture to better deal with rapid and regular changing markets, Gus demonstrated with a great deal of energy and enthusiasm about the “Importance of defining your own path” in what is a crowded market.
A fun, interactive hotel industry challenge game ensured the delegates were competitive and still on their game before the afternoon session dived deep into a Global Hotel Sales Outlook, followed by panels on the Australasian Real Estate Outlook and 2020 and beyond Australian Hotel Industry Outlook.
Changing pace, STR APAC presented on Tourism by the Numbers – an insightful session looking at hotel performance and occupancy rates and hotel ownership. It was reported that Australia is still going strong for hotel investment sitting closely below South Korea for the Asia Pacific region. With approx. 25% of hotel investors coming from Asia, this shows an increase in local developers getting into the hotel sector.
The World Travel and Tourism Council’s President Gloria Guevara Manzo talked about Australia as a drawcard and the forecasted growth in tourism in the APAC region, resulting in a pull of more hotels through the pipeline.
With the theme of 2019 being ‘People, Product and Performance in a period of Unprecedented Growth,’ an executive panel featuring Heidi Kunkel (Hilton), Suzi Finkelstein (WLA), Leanne Harwood (IHG), Sean Hunt (Marriott International) and Simon McGrath from Accor, discussed “Human Resources, Why Diversity Matters” – Kohler being an equal employer and a company that has an extensive Female presence in Senior Management, it was interesting to listen to Marriott Group’s Sean Hunt express the same values in their business and plans they have implemented to encourage female’s into the higher ranking management positions available at Marriott Group globally.
The winner of the inaugural award honouring of former Pro-Invest Director Paul Davis – the Paul Davis Hotel Design Award, in association with Pro-Invest Group – was announced. Terence Yong of Terence Yong Architecture won the award for the Little Albion Guesthouse – however he was not able to join us at the conference.
The industry-based award recognises and celebrates excellence in Australian hotel design, valuing the vital contribution made by interior design to the Australian hotel industry.
Pictured is runner up, Rick Whalley from Chada, pictured with Paul Davis’s family and judging chair, Leone Lorrimer. Paul tragically passed away last year after a lifetime dedicated to architecture and the hotel industry.
Over the course of the conference, delegates experienced thought-provoking updates and presentations from key hotel CEO’s including IHG’s Keith Barr, Marriott’s Craig Smith, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts Joon Aun Ooi and Ovolo Hotels Girish Jhunjhunuwala (winner of the APAC Hotel of the year at the HM Awards late 2018) spoke on panels – and independently – to update delegates on their brands current activity and expansion plans, with a number of hotels in the pipeline for Australia in the near future.
A Food and Beverage related panel discussion revolved around the current and inherent food and beverage issues and trends including re-energising Australia’s nightlife and the impact on the hotel industry; while the event hospitality and entertainment topic explored the need for hotels to consider themselves a go-to destination for locals and guests alike, In conclusion Emirates Airlines Joost Heymeijer weighed in on the secrets to F&B success that he has learned, from luxury lodges to inflight dining with a fascinating presentation.
The end of day two finished up with presentation of prizes with one lucky winner taking home a Kohler Purist Accessories prize – perfect timing for his home renovation!
Exhibitors ranged from software companies, exercise machines, food and beverage through to paint – yes the Dulux Dog was even there!
The Kohler display featured some of our latest hotel-related products including the new Components tapware with matching accessories and rimless Reach II toilet – due for release later this year – Milano Lithocast bath, Kathryn rectangular undermount basin, and Hydrorail Showering Systems featuring Katalyst RainCan showerhead and Renew handshower.
And our very own Sales Manager David Wu appeared on AHICE TV!
Last week, Kohler Australia sponsored and exhibited at the ninth annual Australian Hotel Industry Conference and Exhibition (AHICE), hosted and presented by HM Magazine at the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne.
The largest line-up of global Hoteliers in the nine year history of AHICE descended on Melbourne for the two-day event with more than 800 delegates attending the conference, including industry leaders, investors, consultants, developers, architects, designers and educators.
Boasting the strongest and most comprehensive speaker program ever produced for AHICE, world class industry members and speakers from around the globe joined the line-up to provide an informative and inspirational series of discussions and panels.
Early on the first day, former Starwood CEO, Frits van Paasschen, flew in from New York to give a keynote on the power of disruptors. This was a fascinating session looking at ‘change blindness’ and how a lack of agility and not focusing on potential disruptors can affect our strategic outcome as change in any complex system is inherently unpredictable!
Fritz Dirk Van Paasschen – ex CEO of Starwood Hotels giving his talk on ‘The Power of Disruptors.’
Another major keynote speaker was London-based Professor Toby Walsh (Scientia Professor of Artificial Intelligence at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of New South Wales), talking about how Artificial Intelligence will impact the hotel industry. He said: “AI has the opportunity to make us happier, healthier and wealthier. The smartphone in your pocket has more power than the technology that took us to the moon.”
Other international key note speakers included Michael Issenberg – Chairman and CEO APac – Accor Hotels; Tony Ryan – Managing Director of Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Hotels & Hospitality, JLL and George Nicholas – Global head of hotels, Savills in London.
Tony Ryan – Managing Director of Global Mergers & Acquisitions, Hotels & Hospitality, JLL – speaking on how the hotel industry is currently fragmented.
Over the course of the two days, a number of CEO’s inlcuding TFE Hotels Chief Executive Rachel Argaman and Far East Hospitality CEO Arthur Kiong gave an update on their brands and expansion plans, with a number of hotels in the pipeline for Australia in the near future.
Delegates experienced thought provoking updates and presentations by Tourism Australia Chair and Mantra Chief Executive Bob East; industry updates by organisations including Tourism Accommodation Australia chair Martin Ferguson and Q&A sessions with Travelodge Asia chairman Stephen Burt and Intrust Super Chief Executive Brendan O’Farrell.
With regards to F&B, Time Out Australia Managing Director Michael Rodrigues led a panel discussion on food and beverage issues and trends.
IHG Managing Director Leanne Harwood took to the stage next with HM editor-in-chief James Wilkinson to discuss her new role and ways to develop staff to take on leadership roles. Harwood said that the talent pool for top level jobs is getting smaller and smaller. “Hospitality isn’t just a part-time job, we do have great careers available for you,” she said.
IHG Managing Director Leanne Harwood at AHICE with HM Editor-in-Chief James Wilkinson
Staying on the topic of innovation, B-Hive founder Tammy Marshall delivered an educational presentation on the ‘7 Deadly Sins of Innovation’, and how to embrace them and use them to your advantage. She implored the audience to make sure that the innovations they were implementing were meaningful to their customers. “Don’t just innovate for the sake of innovating,” she said.
The technology discussion continued with tech experts Toby Berger, Revinate; Jeremy Holmes, Elements of Byron and Wayne Taranto, Crown Group in a panel discussion delving into the emerging tech that hoteliers should look into, including digital compendiums and in-room tablets.
Another marketing and social media highlight was PR Maven Kim McKay’s keynote on the business of influence and what hoteliers need to know about influencer marketing. On the topic of targeted social posts, she said: “Consumers are more likely to survive a plane crash than click on a banner ad,” she said. Instead, consumers are looking to honest influencers for recommendations on products and services, she said.
Kim McKay of Click Communications talked about the power of Influencers.
With the sharing economy a hot topic in the industry, the session with Airbnb Country Manager Sam McDonagh inspired heated discussion among delegates before the final Q&S with ex Starwood CEO Frits Dirk van Paasschen returning to the stage.
At the end of the event, a number of exhibitors offered prizes for attendees. The lucky winner of an Exhale Kohler Slide Shower was Kate Quigley from Radisson Hotel Group, pictured with KOHLER’s Rachael Biggs.
Rachael Biggs with shower prize winner Kate Quigley of Radisson Hotel Group
The Kohler display featured some of our top hotel-spec’ed products including the Veil Intelligent Toilet, Hydrorail Showering Systems, Katalyst showers (Exhale, Awaken) and a new tapware range soon to launch.
Celebrating its 145th year of producing some of the world’s most fashion-forward bathroom fixtures, Kohler presented a celebration of modernism at this year’s Salone del Mobile (Milan Design Fair).
Transforming Milan’s famed Museo Bagatti Valsecchi, Kohler treated its audience to an experience that was both visually enticing and emotionally evocative.
Guests were taken on a journey through the entire spectrum of modernism – from minimalism to maximalism – via the lens of a series of artistic installations constructed from Kohler’s world wide products portfolio.
The ornate décor of the Museo Bagatti Valsecchi served as the perfect backdrop to a series of installations set in the grand rooms of the historic museum.
One of the highlights was the newly released ‘Dutchmaster’ sinks collection featuring bold embellishment in the form of large scale botanical patterns in a rich, dark, moody colour palette.
As a direct contrast the smart, sharp ‘Components’ tapware collection drew much attention. Exuding a strong, raw industrial aesthetic the taps feature a clean matte black finish.
Other drawcards in the modernist oeuvre were the newly released Ombré finish and the DeStijl-inspired Kallista Grid tap. The latter is a feat of design and engineering, featuring a dramatic geometric silhouette created with cutting-edge 3D-printing technology.
A further element of Kohler’s visual feast was the very creative use of lighting to add a new and exciting dimension to a number of products. Its new Lighting Suite, for example, created for the organic Veil collection, magnified and enhanced the products – which included mirror, basin, vanity, bath and wall-hung vanity. Each piece was framed by an ambient glow that can change shade according to the user’s mood.
Curator of the exhibition, Mark Bickerstaffe, Kohler’s Director of New Product Development, Kitchen and Bath, said the installations demonstrated Kohler’s love and commitment to comprehensive and forward-thinking design. “From minimalism to maximalism, we love creativity in all its forms; and that has never been more apparent than with our new products”, said Bickerstaffe.
See the video here:
Only weeks into 2018 and Kohler has created history at two of the world’s leading trade shows for the bathroom industry.
The Kohler Co. exhibit shines at KBIS 2018KBIS (Kitchen and Bathroom Industry Show) held in Orlando, Florida is the world’s leading platform for showcasing the latest products, trends and technologies while CES (Consumer Electronics Show) held in Las Vegas, Nevada is the global stage for the technology industry drawing more than 184,000 attendees.
Kohler Co. attended both of these vast shows simultaneously and successfully raised the bar in terms of innovation, new products and the exhibit at both events.
The extended Artifacts range launches at KBIS 2018
KBIS hosts over 600 brands, including 100 new companies and features workshops, networking circles, the integrated Design & Construction Week. New products released at KBIS 2018 included
New products on display at KBIS
New floral basins from Kohler
This year, Kohler’s Mark Bickerstaffe spoke to an extended group of designers and architects on 2018 design trends in both product design and the bathrooms of the future.
KBIS was proud to win Gold in the Bathroom category for its Kallista designer collection of bathroom products and Best In Show for Kallista’s breakout Grid tapware design. Grid was inspired by the fundamentals of the De Stijl movement. Kohler worked with a 3D printing specialist to harness the very best in direct metal printing technology in order to create this outstanding design.
Kohler’s Kallista brand won the Gold Best In Show Award
The prize winning Kallista Grid tapware
CES is THE global show for the tech industry attracting almost 200,000 attendees. Kohler clearly led the bathroom industry, with CES recognising Kohler’s outstanding and world-leading contribution to bringing technology and voice control to the bathroom in a meaningful way.
Media and designers alike were excited during the launch of Kohler Konnect
Kohler used the CES industry-specialist stage to launch its voice-enabled Kohler Konnect technology whereby, for the first time, consumers can customise their bathroom experience by simply saying the words!
The technology extends to the shower, bath, toilet, mirror and tap – they are all finally connected. And simply by saying a command such as ‘make-up mode’, ‘pour 500ml’, ‘flush’, ‘sports shower’ the mirror, the tap, the toilet and the shower can be activated. The result is a truly customised bathroom experience that is both hands free and totally relaxing.
The Kohler Konnect Shower
Run a bath to a preset temperature, turn on the foot warmer on the intelligent toilet, activate presets for sound, water, steam and lighting in the shower – all by voice control.
These incredible products of the future will launch in the US late 2018 … we hope to see them reach our shores soon after. Watch this space!!
This week we opened the doors to our seventh Kohler Experience Centre, in West Hollywood, Los Angeles.
The opening night of the KOHLER Experience Center – West Hollywood, Los Angeles.
Following on from KEC’s in New York, London, Singapore, New Delhi, Taipei and Bangkok, the Hollywood store (KEC LAX) continues our mission to launch our new retail concept – KOHLER Experience Centre’s located around the world, offering a global immersion in the full offering of KOHLER products.
What this means is that each Centre will showcase fully-functioning displays of Kohler’s global product lines available across the world— a first for both the industry and for the KOHLER brand. This will enable trade professionals to test and source KOHLER products like never before. Fully-functioning products, including showers, tapware, basins and toilets will enable all customers to experience the true differences in performance and design.
Extensive displays showcase products.
Designed by noted Los Angeles architectural firm Marmol Radziner, the sleek, white two-story shopping destination is flooded with natural light and features soaring ceilings, sliding walls of glass and more than twenty fully designed kitchen and bath vignettes.
20 bathroom vignettes adorn the showroom.
The opening was attended by key designers, celebrities and industry associates alike. LA has an emerging design scene – not just limited to product design, but also encompassing fashion, film, culture – and has been looking for something like the KEC LAX to learn more about a manufacturer’s passion for gracious living, leading-edge design, and outstanding customer service.
Visitors to the KEC LAX can fully immerse themselves in the world of bathroom and kitchen design by browsing the stunning vignettes, or taking it a step further by booking a real-life experience of the products in the Experience Room, featuring recently released products such as Real Rain, DTV+ digital shower systems, VibraAcoustic hydrotherapy along with the Veil and Numi Intelligent Toilets*.
Showering experiences can be enjoyed by visitors – bookings required!
Experience suites offer visitors the opportunity to ‘try before they buy’.
Each KOHLER Experience Centre includes an art installation to pay homage to the John Michael Kohler Arts Centre and KOHLER’s dedication to the arts. KEC LAX features the large-scale work of renowned sculptor, David Franklin, a Kohler Artist-in-Residence at Kohler, Wisconsin. The installation – named Ghost School (2015), features a piece from the Kohler Co. permanent collection and is crafted from clay during Franklin’s 2015 residency, celebrates life on the water while giving form to the artist’s continued concern of the ocean environment where he frequently spends time.
David Franklin’s art installation – Ghost School (2015)
Kohler Co. plans to launch a total of 10 KECs in 2017 and 2018 to meet global demand. Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Dubai will follow in 2018.
* Note that not all products are available in this market as yet.
This year, Kohler has successfully opened Kohler Experience Centers (KEC) in the US., U.K. and India and can now add Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand to the ever-growing list of experiential kitchen and bathroom showrooms.
TAIPEI KOHLER EXPERIENCE CENTER
On August 28, President and CEO, David Kohler, and Larry Yuen, Group President – Kitchen and Bath, opened the Taipei KEC (KECTPE)
The opening ceremony of the KEC Taipei was a dramatic and exciting event!
The design of the KEC Taipei was inspired by the arcs and angles of a book – like it was being flipped through – and the designers applied the aesthetics of these lines throughout the showroom.
The new KEC Taipei is reminiscent of pages flipping open in a book.
The rich, avant-garde displays of kitchen and bathroom suites included a range exciting new products, including the iconic TouchMe mirrors, Intelligent toilets, Moxie Wireless Bluetooth showerhead, live water zones and the signature Bold Art installation.
The suites include working displays and a range of innovative new products in bathroom settings.
The immersive opening ceremony experience was followed by a Kohler Design Forum, which Kohler partnered with the Chinese Society of Interior Designers (CSID) and was attended by architects, designers and industry guests.
CEO and President, David Kohler, addresses the audience
BANGKOK KOHLER EXPERIENCE CENTER
Just 24 hours after the Grand Opening of the KEC Taipei, David Kohler and the team raised their glasses to officially welcome in the KEC in Bangkok – the fifth KEC to open.
The Bangkok KEC opening also celebrated the 15th anniversary of Kohler in Thailand. The beautiful new retail space in Nobel Remix 2 Condo near the trendy Thong Lor Skytrain station sports a post-industrial, minimalist style.
The stunning new Bangkok experiential showroom.
The 700sqm space was designed by award-winning Bangkok based P49 and was developed with the concept of an industrial art gallery in mind. With hundreds of showrooms currently existing in Bangkok, the challenge was to create a truly unique space to showcase their iconic, award-winning kitchen and bathroom products.
The extensive showroom offers the latest innovations in intelligent toilets, PVD tapware displays and an Artist Edition basin gallery. Visitors can also experience working displays featuring the latest products and technologies.
The immersive display offers consumers and designers the opportunity to experience Kohler products.
Tapping into the growing popularity of collaborative working spaces, the KECBKK includes a co-working space and coffee bar for visitors and designers alike to meet and discuss their kitchen and bathroom projects.
The KEC BKK
Following the Industrial Art Gallery theme and blueprint of all KEC’s, visitors to Bangkok’s KEC are greeted by an art space featuring both local and international artists. Artwork will be rotated to continuously keep visitors intrigued and inspired.
The art installation at the KEC BKK.
SINGAPORE KOHLER EXPERIENCE CENTER
While Kohler products can be found in various showrooms around Singapore, the KEC is the first Kohler-exclusive location in this regional design and architectural hub.
The opening of the KEC SGP featured a light show – both inside and out!
The 790sqm showroom is situated in the heart of Singapore’s downtown district in a traditional conservation space. The ground floor is divided into five distinct zones – Fashion; High Tech; Family; Classic and Black.
Some of the suites at the KEC SGP…
The art installations on opening are ‘Born in Taiwan’ by Taiwanese artist Wu Peishan and ‘time artifacts’ by Singaporean artist Thomas Cheong.
The KEC Singpore art installation was by Taiwanese artist Wu Peishan
KECSGP Guests were treated to an illuminated light show both internally, during the opening ceremony, and externally on the building front – a unique occasion in Singapore!