Holiday Inn Express opens first NZ hotel in Queenstown

Holiday Inn Express opens first NZ hotel in Queenstown

Pro-invest Group is set to launch its first hotel in New Zealand with its doors opening to guests in Queenstown for school holidays and the start of the ski season.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown is a 227-room hotel, on the corner of Stanley and Sydney Streets in Queenstown’s centre. It officially opens to guests on Friday 10 July.

The hotel opening is being seen as a massive ‘shot in the arm’ for the beleaguered Queenstown tourism industry and a mark of faith in the resurgence of domestic and future international visitors.

The hotel’s room offering includes spacious suites – a Holiday Inn Express ‘first’ in New Zealand and Australia – in addition to superior rooms, which provide breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables mountain range.

Ronald Barrott, Pro-invest Group Chief Executive Officer, said the Group was excited to launch a new product at its first New Zealand property and expected strong demand.

“We are committed to expanding the Holiday Inn Express brand in New Zealand and we’re confident that Queenstown’s reputation as premier destination makes it the ideal place to start,” he said.

“Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown has a stylish vibe, complete with an outdoor lounge with firepit. It’s also equipped with the smart, simple rooms, and features business and leisure travellers know and love.

“With school holidays approaching, the ski season underway and New Zealand’s COVID-19 travel restrictions lifted, we are anticipating that Queenstown and our latest hotel will be a popular destination for many holidaymakers.

“It provides easy access to popular ski destinations of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona and Treble Cone, while popular tourist attractions such as the Skyline gondola and the town’s dining precinct are on your doorstep. Queenstown is the home of adventure and also the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Milford Sound.

“The hotel’s location will also appeal to corporate and business travellers and makes for an ideal events and convention venue, as it’s only a short distance from the CBD.

“We are pleased to contribute to Queenstown’s vibrancy with another high-quality hotel offering.”

The hotel is equipped with all the features the Holiday Inn Express brand has become renowned for including an Express Start breakfast, power showers, black-out blinds, high-quality bedding with a choice of pillows and uncapped Wi-Fi.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown also features a fitness room, sauna, two flexible meeting rooms, self-serve laundry, dry room, onsite parking and a free business centre.

The hotel’s architecture – designed by local architectural practice McAuliffe Stevens (MSRA) – combines abstract elements representing ice and erratic rock forms to pay homage to the hotel’s landscape history and achieve a design that fits with the surrounding urban environment.

The hotel’s General Manager, Jason Sabin, said his team was looking forward to showcasing what smart, simple travel is all about.

“Our rooms provide all the quality conveniences that make you feel at home, even when you’re away,” he said.

“We are proud of our sustainability-focused facilities and initiatives, such as the carpets throughout the building which are made from recycled fishing nets.”

Mr Barrott also highlighted other initiatives.

“From a design perspective for instance, all air leaving the hotel passes through a heat recovery plant. This extracts the energy from air coming from the hotel’s bathrooms and other areas and transfers that energy, whether it’s heat in winter or cooling in summer, to the incoming fresh air. The results are a substantial reduction in energy used to pre-treat the incoming air for the hotel ventilation,” he said.

“We are also excited to continue rolling out IHG’s flagship sustainability initiative, A Greener Stay, which Pro-invest in collaboration with IHG introduced to the APAC region back in 2017.  A Greener Stay allows guests to take part in conserving the environment through opt out of housekeeping services should they stay two or more nights, resulting in energy and water savings. As an added reward, guests who choose the opt-out receive up to 500 IHG Rewards Club points per night.

“As a group, Pro-invest is committed to developing, operating and managing its hotel portfolio in a sustainable manner and continuously improve on its ESG strategies wherever feasible.

“We look forward to welcoming locals looking for a staycation, travelers exploring the region from all over New Zealand and – circumstances permitting – from overseas very shortly.”

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Queenstown is the first and only hotel under the Holiday Inn Express brand in New Zealand to date. It is the sixth Holiday Inn Express property since 2016 to be opened by Pro-invest Group, following the launch of Sydney Macquarie Park, Brisbane, Adelaide, Newcastle and Melbourne Southbank hotels in Australia.

Pro-invest Group has plans for additional New Zealand properties.

“We have acquired a prime site in Auckland on the North Island to help continue the Group’s international growth in the coming years,” Mr Barrott said.

“This site will become New Zealand’s second Holiday Inn Express hotel and Pro-invest and New Zealand’s first voco hotel in 2021.”

The voco Hotels brand is a lifestyle-orientated brand by the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).

Pro-invest Group develops and operates Holiday Inn Express and voco hotels in Australia and New Zealand under a franchise agreement with IHG.

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Crowne Plaza Queenstown rolls out red carpet to welcome first conference business post COVID-19

Crowne Plaza Queenstown rolls out red carpet to welcome first conference business post COVID-19

Queenstown’s premium place to meet, Crowne Plaza Queenstown, has opened its doors earlier than anticipated and is rolling out the red carpet to welcome its first conference post COVID-19.

The iconic lakefront hotel was originally scheduled to re-open in July to welcome domestic travellers for the school holidays and ski season. Instead it opened yesterday (Wednesday June 17) to welcome a conference group from The Icehouse business growth and development company in Auckland.

Business leaders attending the conference from June 18 to 20 all operate businesses turning over $3million-plus, and after completing management programmes with The Icehouse are visiting Queenstown as part of an Owner Manager Exchange (OMX) program.

The Icehouse Customer Relationship Manager Raewyn Goodwin says there was “no better place than Queenstown” for business owners to take a helicopter view of their business and assess growth opportunities in the wake of COVID-19.

“They own and operate businesses that are the backbone of the New Zealand economy so we’re delighted to bring them to Queenstown and support the town,” she says.

Crowne Plaza Queenstown General Manager Stewart Manson says the hotel also made the best a tough situation, using its temporary closure as an opportunity to refresh its conference rooms and carry out a ‘soft touch’ update to its premium Lakeview Rooms. It has also introduced enhanced cleaning and operating protocols under its new IHG Clean Promise in guest rooms.

“Conference and events are key segments for the business mix of the hotel, and we’re delighted to have had the opportunity to open a little earlier than expected to welcome this group,” he says.

“Although recovery from COVID will certainly take a while, this is a positive indicator that there’s demand for meetings.

“A number of new and repeat customers have already confirmed events for later in the year. This is great not just for Crowne Plaza, but other hospitality and accommodation providers in the region.”

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chair Craig Douglas welcomed the news.

“Queenstown’s home to a vibrant mix of innovative and resilient businesses, and while we recognise we’re on a long road to recovery, we’re happy to celebrate milestones like this.”

Tourism body Destination Queenstown, which last year generated approximately $47million-worth of leads for Queenstown through its own conference and incentive bureau activity, is also delighted with the news.

“Queenstown is a world-class destination for business events, and it’s fantastic to see the recovery begin in this sector,” says interim chief executive Ann Lockhart.

“Conferences, incentive programmes and other business events will play an important role in our district’s recovery.”

ENDS

Picture captions:

1/ Conference facilitator Professor Darl Kolb (L) and Crowne Plaza Queenstown GM Stewart Manson, today at Crowne Plaza Queenstown

2/ Crowne Plaza Queenstown is in the heart of Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu

For more media information or imagery please contact:

Fiona Woodham
Southern PR
M: 0274 313 270
E: [email protected]

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Beyond Belief – Fiordland targets domestic visitors with call to experience their own backyard

Beyond Belief – Fiordland targets domestic visitors with call to experience their own backyard

While tourism businesses scramble to adapt to the domestic market in the wake of Covid-19, Fiordland’s regional tourism organisation could argue its one step ahead of them all.

Destination Fiordland has always been justifiably proud of its operators and attractions in the lakeside townships of Te Anau and Manapouri, and the raw majesty of Fiordland National Park’s glacier-carved fiords and rugged mountains.

But with many visitors starting and finishing their Fiordland adventures in Queenstown, making a quick pit-stop in Te Anau, the tourism organisation embarked on a brand refresh in October last year.

The goal? To shout loud and clear from those mountaintops that Fiordland exemplifies all that’s good about New Zealand and is a destination in its own right, where locals value their visitors and ‘walk the talk’ about maintaining the world-class natural environment for generations to come.

The new brand ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ was revealed to operators this week, setting out to target domestic travelers from day one and positioning Te Anau as ‘base camp’, while opening the eyes of international visitors to the fact there’s so much more to Fiordland than Milford Sound.

“The launch of our new brand comes at a challenging time, where fortune favours the bold,” says Destination Fiordland manager Madeleine Peacock. “Our challenge was to find a positioning that reflects all this majesty and helps drive visitation by making Fiordland a unique, inspiring, authentic and unmissable part of Aotearoa New Zealand, a place worth visiting.

“Fiordland is a must-see for international visitors but even last year we could see the untapped potential of domestic visitors. We clearly have a job to do at home, and this is a great start.”

Ms Peacock says ‘Fiordland – Beyond Belief’ conveys the scale, grandeur and mind-blowing nature of the area, and applies to everything on offer from the people who call Fiordland ‘home’  to the quality of experiences, accommodation and food, and a deep sense of connection with the environment .

“Our research has identified Kiwis desire to connect with nature, looking for real world experiences in their backyard, connecting with natural environments and ensuring those environments will be protected for generations to come – it’s about who we are as Kiwis.

“Doubtful and Dusky Sounds, the Great Walks and Lakes Te Anau and Manapouri have to an extent been hiding in the shadow of Milford Sound, however these areas are equally as impressive.”

Kerri James, owner operator of award-winning five-star accommodation provider Radfords On The Lake, says she’s “absolutely delighted” with the new brand.

“People down this way epitomise Southern hospitality, and ‘beyond belief’ is the perfect fit to describe Fiordland and everything we have to offer,” she says.

Fiordland Outdoors owner operator Christine Wallace says the brand is in “perfect synergy” with the high-value experience that Fiordland offers.

“The brand communicates a premium location and offering that’s very much in sync with what we do here. It’s very timely when all regions around New Zealand are being considered by domestic travelers,” she says.

Jodi Williams, Air New Zealand’s General Manager Global Brand and Content Marketing, says Air New Zealand has a special connection with Fiordland through its work with DOC to bring back birdsong on the Great Walks, three of which are located in Fiordland.

“Fiordland Beyond Belief helps position Fiordland as a world-class destination, famous for its majestic scenery, and has inspired me to visit this unique and special part of New Zealand,” she says.

Operators are currently being encouraged to incorporate the ‘Beyond Belief’ brand and associated imagery into their marketing and a new website is expected to launch within the next two months.

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Adventure Tourism Operator, Experience Co., Inks Cross-Tasman Deal with IBIS Technology

In a signal of confidence in the post COVID-19 recovery of the tourism sector, Experience Co. Ltd (ASX:Exp) announced today it has selected Queenstown-based IBIS Technology as its tourism business systems software provider for the company’s skydiving operations in both New Zealand and Australia.

The new relationship marks IBIS Technology’s first major reservations, operations and e-commerce software customer overseas.

Experience Co. is New Zealand and Australia’s leading Skydive operator with three skydiving businesses in NZ’s Southern Lakes region, including the world renowned NZONE Skydive, Skydive Southern Alps and Skydive Wanaka.

The company also offers tandem skydiving in 13 locations in Australia and several marine based operations in Far North Queensland.

John O’Sullivan, CEO of publicly-traded Experience Co seeks to ensure the company emerges from COVID-19 stronger than ever.

“Now is the time to reconsider how we are operating our businesses to both streamline operations and improve the holistic experience of the customer with our brands,” he said.

“After a thorough review of tourism business operations systems available in our markets, we chose IBIS because of its integrated ‘whole business’ functionality and 22 years of committed customer support. The IBIS team has deep knowledge of the skydiving and tourism industry and they’re very passionate about that. I look forward to working together as partners with IBIS to help us rebuild New Zealand and Australian adventure tourism in a way that strengthens both our business and the customer experience.”

Founder and CTO of IBIS Erik Bradshaw commented, “We’re excited about the opportunity to work with the brilliant team at Experience Co., both here in NZ and as one of Australia’s largest tourism businesses.”

Bradshaw continued, “IT systems are a mission-critical part of our customers’ success. Recognising this, IBIS has taken a financially conservative approach to managing our own business so that we can be a solid partner to Experience Co. and other customers in these challenging times.

Coming out of the COVID-19 crisis, our goal is to provide tourism and leisure operators the flexibility and tools to respond nimbly to changes in market conditions, from unexpected downturns to re-thinking pricing, scheduling, product offerings and partners.”

Experience Co. will implement IBIS systems this winter, giving staff time to ‘settle in’ before the tourism visitor numbers begin to climb to their new normal.

IBIS Technology has been designing tourism business management solutions for the New Zealand tourism industry since 1998.

Fully NZ-owned and operated, the company has grown from its early start in reservations software to offering an integrated platform for online and direct reservations, admissions, point-of-sale, e-commerce, accounts management and reporting for tourism and leisure businesses large and small.

As the leading tourism business management software company in New Zealand, IBIS focuses on partnering with its clients to ensure that its software and services add value, improving both business and customer experience results.

Experience Co. is an adventure tourism company founded in 1999 in Wollongong, New South Wales, with the vision of now becoming the largest and most respected adventure tourism company in the world.

In Australia, Experience Co. owns and operates Skydive Australia along with several marine and tour businesses operating in Far North Queensland, while in New Zealand they run NZONE Skydive, Skydive Wanaka and Skydive Southern Alps.

 

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