The Gold Coast Bulletin - - FRONT PAGE - RYAN KEEN

GOLD Coast tourism bosses are sali­vat­ing at the prospect of global ho­tel gi­ant Ac­cor adding the city’s Mantra Group prop­er­ties to its mar­ket­ing and book­ing sys­tem.

If Paris-based Ac­corHo­tels’ $1.18 bil­lion bid – which Mantra Group’s board has ac­cepted – is fi­nalised by reg­u­la­tors and share­hold­ers next year it will see Mantra’s 22 Coast ho­tels join Ac­cor’s stable.

Ac­corHo­tels’ foot­print of 4200 ho­tels, re­sorts and res­i­dences – plus 10,000 pri­vate homes – spans 95 coun­tries and in­cludes lead­ing brands Raf­fles, Sof­i­tel, Novo­tel, Mer­cure and Ibis.

Gold Coast Tourism chair­man Paul Dono­van said the boost from hav­ing Mantra’s Gold Coast prop­er­ties mar­keted via Ac­cor’s book­ing sys­tem would be sig­nif­i­cant.

“That is going to re­sult in ad­di­tional tourists,” he said. “If you are any­where in the world and have an Ac­cor fre­quent users card then all of a sud­den Ac­cor might have spe­cial deals and we’ll be part of that.

“I don’t see any­thing other than ad­di­tional value that a global brand like that will bring to an or­gan­i­sa­tion like Mantra.

“The other big thing is it is recog­nised the Gold Coast has a pre­mier com­pany that has caught the eye of a global brand like Ac­cor.

“How good is it that a brand in­spired and de­vel­oped by a Gold Coaster is now big enough to get on the world stage with Ac­cor? It all comes back to the work done by Bob East as CEO.”

Since Mr East’s ap­point­ment as CEO in 2007 he has grown Mantra Group’s 41 prop­er­ties to about 115 in Aus­tralia plus an­other dozen in New Zealand, Bali and Hawaii.

Surfers Par­adise Al­liance CEO Mike Win­law said Mantra had pro­vided great mar­ket­ing sup­port and eco­nomic in­jec­tion into the Surfers Par­adise precinct over the years.

“The an­nounce­ment of Ac­cor as a global com­pany tak­ing the reins will pro­vide a solid plat­form for both a do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tourism boost for the Gold Coast econ­omy,” he said.

Broad­beach Al­liance CEO Jan McCormick said ex­po­sure from the Ac­cor deal for the city’s tourism and com­mer­cial rep­u­ta­tion would be out­stand­ing.

“It opens up more global op­por­tu­ni­ties for all the prop­er­ties on the Gold Coast. It will help with the rep­u­ta­tion of the Gold Coast as well in terms of the get­ting the city’s brand out there.”

Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate was also en­thu­si­as­tic. “We need to be cau­tious as any deal is yet to be fi­nalised but the Mantra group’s story is quin­tes­sen­tial Gold Coast – a world-class ho­tel port­fo­lio built through vi­sion and hard work, led by a highly com­pe­tent board,” Cr Tate said.

“There is no doubt the Gold Coast punches above its weight in the com­mer­cial world.”

Broad­beach coun­cil­lor Paul Taylor, an Ac­corHo­tels mem­ber, said: “Ac­cor is a mas­sive or­gan­i­sa­tion – it shows a lot of con­fi­dence in the Gold Coast.”

Mantra Group is un­der­stood to have least sev­eral hun­dred staff work­ing out of its head of­fice in Surfers Par­adise.

But Bond Univer­sity as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor of fi­nance Co­lette Southam said Mantra’s head of­fice staff shouldn’t be too un­com­fort­able. “When it’s a cross-bor­der ac­qui­si­tion like this it’s not like you bring in a bunch of peo­ple who don’t un­der­stand the lo­cal con­text,” she said.

Ms Southam said the pre­mium price be­ing of­fered by Ac­corHo­tels to make the ac­qui­si­tion was “quite nice” and showed Ac­cor had a lot of faith in Mantra’s po­ten­tial for growth.

Pic­ture: KIT WISE

Mantra CEO Bob East at the Pep­pers Soul build­ing.

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