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Cookies flow as DoubleTree catches pulse of market

February 10, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

DoubleTree by Hilton has 475 hotels throughout the world but only eight in the Australasian region – though the fast-growing chain won’t take long to expand that number.

There’s no fixed pattern when it comes to DoubleTree properties. Hilton Worldwide Vice President Operations Australasia, Paul Hutton, pointed out this week that the DoubleTree portfolio in this part of the world – Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea – consists entirely of conversion properties. Because of that, they are all very singular and distinctive.

DoubleTree by Hilton Northbridge Bar

“The eight we have couldn’t be more different,” Hutton says. An example: DoubleTree’s Christchurch property features rose gardens and a vineyard.

Certain elements remain constant, including cookies – not the online sort but real, fresh-cooked, chocolate chip cookies. These are given out to guests on arrival and are so popular DoubleTree dishes out about 100,000 of them every day worldwide. Another hallmark of the brand is a program called Creating a Rewarding Experience (CARE) for hotel guests, which also involves community service. DoubleTree by Hilton properties go out of their way to link themselves to local issues and local communities in the places they serve.

DoubleTrees are generally smaller than Hilton properties. Perth looms large on the DoubleTree by Hilton horizon. Hutton says the brand is well positioned for the Perth market, upscale but not high priced. With the minerals boom having come off the boil, Perth doesn’t need more top-of-the-range five star hotels.

“It’s not about volume, it’s about yield,” Hutton remarks. “DoubleTree is a better-value proposition.”

Hilton’s Western Australian portfolio rises to four hotels this year with the opening of the new DoubleTree by Hilton Perth Northbridge, a 205-room property less than one kilometre from Perth’s CBD. Located at 100 James Street in Northbridge, it offers guests a gym and outdoor pool, a business centre, 400 square metres of event space, a restaurant and bar – plus of course, a chocolate chip cookie at check-in.

DoubleTree by Hilton Northbridge Guest Room

Another DoubleTree is set to open in Perth, right on the Swan River (20 storeys with a bar on top) and a third in Fremantle. Perth is big on leisure traffic, particularly from Malaysia, and corporate is coming back, Hutton observes. Intra-state WA business, ranging from theatre packages to dental conventions, is booming.

Hilton’s fourth in the Perth region is the existing Parmelia Hilton. DoubleTree has a property in Melbourne, opposite increasingly colourful Flinders Street Station, and it’s hoping for a presence in Sydney eventually.

In the meantime, DoubleTree in Australasia is doing well on all fronts, notching up double-digit growth. Sometimes the growth is from unexpected sources. Japanese tourists who visited Cairns years ago as backpackers are returning to visit it again, Hutton says. Port Moresby will benefit from next year’s APEC summit, Papua New Guinea’s first. Alice Springs is doing well, with extra flights from Brisbane and Adelaide helping. Conventions are popular in the Alice; organisers realise that delegates are less likely to go AWOL and wander off shopping. Speedsters enjoy the Alice too; drivers of Maseratis and Ferraris appreciate the absence of speed limits in the Northern Territory.

Paul Hutton, Hilton Worldwide Vice President Operations Australasia

Written by Peter Needham

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