Hotel giant Hilton has underlined its commitment to growing its brand presence in Australia, despite the difficulties of investing locally.
Vice president operations Australasia, Ashley Spencer, told The Nibbler that expansion across Australia, both in state capitals and secondary cities, is on its agenda. However, he highlighted the difficulties of growing a property portfolio in Australia which has slowed the firm's local development to date.
"Without state support, so without things like tax breaks, it can be really prohibitive to make it economically viable," he said.
But while challenges in the form of building costs and land costs still exist, Spencer revealed Hilton is finding ways around them through acquisitions such as those which saw the Hilton Darwin, DoubleTree by Hilton Darwin, DoubleTree by Hilton Esplanade Darwin and DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs all open at the start of the month.
"And in some cases like Karratha, very strong markets, we've got very determined investors and very innovative and creative ways of putting helps," he said.
The new build property in the West Australian mining town, to open in mid-2014, will use a new cost effective construction model combining traditional and modern techniques.
The lower two floors of the new Karratha property will be built using traditional methods, with the upper six storeys to be effectively pre-built, transported to the site and slotted into place.
It's a model that Hilton will look at using in other regional areas, Spencer confirmed.
In addition, the broader mix of brands that now exist under the Hilton umbrella make it easier to expand across Australia then ever before, he added.
"You just couldn't put a Hilton in some of those locations – it just wouldn't work," he said. However, he highlighted the less formal DoubleTree by Hilton brand as a great fit for many Australian areas.
He hopes to have "two or three" brands present in Sydney in the coming years.
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