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!
Brisbane was full of development in 2018, with an impressive range of 5 Star properties opening in the Sunshine State capital within as many months.
The latest to open in December 2018 was the Brisbane Marriott Hotel.
Completed on time to celebrate it’s 21st birthday, the Brisbane Marriott Hotel enjoyed a $20 million renovation refurbishment which has transformed the hotel’s 267 guest rooms and suites, Executive Lounge, two floors of event space and signature restaurant.
Furthering our relationship with the Marriott Group, Kohler featured in the bathrooms of all suites, with Malaysian-based company Duoz Design designing and YTL Hotels the owner and developer.
Stunning guest bathrooms feature restored, original marble, thoughtful lighting, magnifying mirror, roomy baths and separate shower. The Presidential suites feature the Red Dot design award winning Avid tapware paired with Chalice Oval basin and Reach Back to Wall toilet, while the Executive suites feature the ever-popular Aleo tapware with the Chalice and Reach.
Presidential suite bathroom
Award winning Avid tapware with Chalice Oval basin.
The Presidential Suite at Brisbane Marriott
Brisbane Marriott Hotel General Manager, John Douglas said careful consideration was given to the hotel’s unique natural and historic surroundings and these details were effortlessly incorporated into the new design to create a multidimensional sensory experience for guests.
Standard rooms feature Aleo tapware and Chalice Oval basin
Located at the Howard Smith Wharves and Petrie’s Bight Precinct, guests can enjoy breathtaking views of either the Brisbane River, taking in the Story Bridge and Kangaroo Point Cliffs or the River City skyline.
The hotel’s signature restaurant – Motion Dining – is a destination in itself, refurbished to include a range of dining options and bars for both guests and locals alike.
From San Francisco to the Scottish shores, Midtown Manhattan to Ho Chi Minh City, luxury hotels around the world have counted on Kohler to help welcome global travellers with luxurious environments, gracious hospitality and elevated experiences.
In 2018 the William Inglis Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel – a five-star boutique lodging opened in Sydney, forming part of the new $140m precinct developed by thoroughbred horse sales company William Inglis & Son Ltd and operated by the multinational hotel Group Accor Hotels, called Riverside Stables.
Riverside Stables is set across eight levels and features 144 guest rooms – each personalised to the champion racehorse it is named after – and offers a host of hospitality and leisure facilities. Each room includes artwork of the relevant racehorse and associated winning jockey silks.
Kohler was exclusively selected by design studio Chada to provide bathroom sanitary ware products including tapware, toilets and showering tapware, showcasing the timeless Purist range in stunning PVD Brushed Bronze.
Guests staying at the new property can enjoy world-class hospitality facilities onsite including the all-day dining paddock-to-plate restaurant Newmarket Room, headed up by chef Samuel Bull. The menu focuses on robust food with rural soul but refined elegance – the perfect complement to the Warwick Farm precinct, celebrating racing history and the thoroughbred industry.
There is also a stunning rooftop bar and pool deck atop the hotel lined with cabanas and sun loungers overlooking 300 acres of greenery.
As part of the hotel’s new marketing initiative the William Inglis Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel last week launched a program called “Inspired by Her”, a new hotel initiative designed specifically for women.
Inspired by HER event at William Inglis Hotel, M Gallery by Sofitel
The program will see high quality hairdryers, bathroom lighting, makeup mirrors and other feminine amenities introduced to all bathrooms in MGallery hotels around the Pacific, to meet the needs of travelling women.
MGallery by Sofitel recently worked with a global marketing research company to conduct an in-depth survey to understand guests’ habits and what they want to see and experience in hotels. The survey found that 86 per cent of female travellers wanted a hospitality program designed specifically for them.
Australian international model, photographer and Inspired by Her ambassador, Candice Lake, flew in from London for the event ahead of Sydney Fashion Week, to speak on the Inspired by Her program and why it is so important to cater to the needs of travelling women.
Inspired for Women event at William Inglis Hotel, MGallery by Sofitel in May 2018
Held in the big barn at the new hotel, guests of the intimate lunch were given an insight into Candice’s life as an in-demand photographer and her thoughts on what makes a hotel a great hotel.
“Having those thoughtful extras in a hotel such as great bathroom lighting, quality high powered hairdryers and emergency kits which have items such as stockings, hair ties, nail polish remover and moisturiser turns a good hotel into a great hotel, and one that you want to keep coming back to. It is always a pleasure when I know I am travelling to a destination where there is a MGallery by Sofitel hotel and it has been wonderful learning more about brand.”
Kohler are thrilled to be working with Accor and MGallery to deliver premium bathrooms for hotel projects and initiatives such as these.
Have you heard about smart toilets but wonder what all the fuss is about? Toilets have finally entered the realms of sophisticated design and new generation hygiene…
Introducing the Veil Wall Faced IntelligentToilet
The release of Kohler’s Veil intelligent toilet, in a wall faced design, is the ultimate pairing of pure, ergonomic design and customised personal cleansing, operated via a touchscreen LCD remote control. The fluid, balanced curves and minimalist design of the Veil Wall Faced intelligent toilet contain some of the most advanced features in optimal toilet hygiene and individual comfort.
Every aspect of the Veil toilet experience is hands free – including an auto, touch-less flush – with a focus on absolute comfort. The cover and ergonomically designed seat are motion-activated while the temperature of the heated seat can be adjusted for optimal comfort. And for total peace of mind, the bowl can be LED lit for night time visits.
Combining both a toilet and a modern-day bidet, the Veil’s advanced personal cleansing functions can be customised for water temperature; spray style, position and pressure; plus pulsate and oscillate functions. The precision air dryer can also be adjusted to personal preferences for temperature.
On sitting down, a fan is activated which draws air from the toilet bowl through a carbon filter to remove odours and help keep the bathroom fresh.
In line with the hands-free design of the Veil – which sports an uber-hygienic rimless bowl – the wand is self-cleaning, using UV light and electrolysed water systems to sanitise its surfaces every 24 hours, which can be pre-set by the owner/user at the point of installation.
The Veil wall faced intelligent toilet, is a compact toilet with elongated bowl and French curve seat for added room and comfort. It features an in-wall fully concealed cistern with a 3/4.5L flush.
The Veil is also available in a wall hung configuration.
Converge brings a new level of control – it’s the very latest in showering technology! This piece of ingenuity sees sleek design converge with space-saving smarts to create a truly multifunctional showerhead that features a cleverly integrated hand shower.
The 152mm diameter flat-faced showerhead is wall mounted and at first glance appears to be a simple, large format showerhead – but its exterior rim almost magically detaches from the magnetic docking station and becomes a very convenient, separate hand shower!
Converge, with its advanced spray engine, provides three powerful spray patterns while using only 9 litres of water a minute (WELS 3 star rated). The showerhead literally sculpts water!
Choose from the dense, luxurious Silk spray; or Infinity – three spray experiences in one (complete cleanse, refreshing massage and delicate rinse); or Full Coverage for a drenching, all encompassing spray.
In sleek polished chrome, Converge features a MasterClean™ spray face that simply wipes clean with a damp cloth, without any build-up of minerals. It also has Kohler’s premium finish to retain a long, enduring and unblemished polished chrome surface.
Converge, with its innovative 2-in-1 space-saving design is an exciting development for all those who love a luxurious, ultra-responsive shower but may have less space than they wish! The release of this product coincides with Kohler’s 145th anniversary – 145 years of ongoing revolutionary design and innovation for the bathroom.
Launched to great acclaim and garnering international accolades, Kohler’s ModernLife toilet suite has been recognised for its revolutionary approach to hygiene and ease of cleaning with the prestigious international Red Dot Design Award.
The key feature of the ModernLife back to wall toilet is its truly rimless bowl – a first in the Australasian market. In taking rimless technology to the next level, Kohler has introduced a beautifully engineered pan featuring a bevelled and chamfered edge. This bevelled edge is finished with Kohler’s patented CleanCoat™ technology.
The ground-breaking combination of the rim’s inward-sloping design and the finish of the edge means any liquid hitting this area will form small beads of liquid that will roll easily into the toilet bowl. In addition, the Vertical Quick Release seat means the seat can be removed with just a gentle pull (when vertical) making thorough cleaning both fast and easy.
It is these innovative features that create the new level of hygiene and easy cleaning that Kohler is introducing with the ModernLife collection.The smooth, sleek interior also means there are no ridges or channels in which germs or dirt can hide. And its 360˚ dynamic flush flow ensures the bowl is rinsed thoroughly.
In another first, Kohler has included an optional Elite Seat. This introduces new levels of comfort and convenience in the form of a subtle LED pinstripe light – to subtly light the seating area when dark, without creating too much light – and a fragrance sachet to gently perfume the air. Both are operated by two AAA, easily replaceable batteries. The ultra-streamlined Elite Seat has an easy fit invisible hinge (easy to install and quick to release for thorough cleaning) plus quiet close seat and lid.
The timeless form of ModernLife’s design is the essence of simplicity with the slight overhang of the lid creating a seamless look.
The ModernLife Back to Wall Toilet suite also features optimal water-saving technology with a mere 4.5/3L water consumption (4 star WELS rating).
The ModernLife toilet suite – with the option of the Elite Seat – is complemented by the ModernLife vessel basins (with and without tap hole) that emulate the simplicity of form and sleek profile of the toilet.
Discover the ModernLife design story here…