May 19, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Accor Pacific CEO Simon McGrath is predicting business events and corporate travel to Melbourne will remain subdued for the next year but leisure travel and events will make a V-shaped recovery.

As the nation’s largest hotel operator, Accor is preparing for an influx of new properties into the market in Australia’s second largest city.

“Melbourne is one of the world’s greatest cities and, over the next two years, we are bringing eight hotels and 1,583 rooms to the city, which is an investment of over $700 million by a variety of owners. This will create around 600 jobs, whilst boosting the appeal of the city and the quality of accommodation available,” said McGrath.

“As well as the new Mövenpick hotel, which will open in June, we will be opening new hotels which include SO/, 25hours, Mercure and Peppers – before the end of 2023. These new properties will complement our current portfolio of 43 hotels in Melbourne, offering even greater choice for travellers.

”People love to visit Melbourne for its world-leading events calendar – for its sport, arts and culture. Sporting events such as the Australian Open, the AFL and Formula One are also tourism events, attracting thousands into the city. Even without international travel, events can contribute to the city making a serious tourism comeback.”

McGrath also believes the pandemic has changed travellers expectations but that Accor is adapting.

“We are no longer travelling, consuming or working the way we did before the health crisis, and people want experiences, authenticity, meaning and emotion,” he said.

“We are investing and growing our exciting new hotel portfolio in city centres and in leisure locations. We expect these hotels to contribute significantly to the revival of the travel sector in the next two years, until corporate, conference and international travel returns to pre-pandemic levels.”