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The rise of airport hotels

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The rise of airport hotels
Hotels at airports across Australia are being built, renovated and revamped at an impressive rate.

Currently it’s Melbourne Airport in the spotlight.

The PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport has just completed a $30 million refurbishment and Accor is about to debut a new-build mammoth – a $230 million combined Novotel-ibis Styles property, owned by Melbourne Airport itself.

The Accor complex at Melbourne Airport will have a collective total of 464 rooms when it opens on July 1. Room capacities lean a touch in Novotel’s direction, with the midscale brand having 248 rooms to the economy brand’s 216.

Both Accor’s new offering and the PARKROYAL have meetings space – PARKROYAL has a larger inventory with 16 rooms and around 1,000m2 of space altogether on its own floor, while Accor’s single dedicated space is a touch larger than PARKROYAL’s largest at 373m2 with PARKROYAL’s Victoria Ballroom measuring 334m2.

David Tonkin, the country general manager for Pan Pacific Hotels Group in Oceania, to which the PARKROYAL brand belongs, told micenet the airport property sees a lot of fly-in, fly-out day meetings.

“It’s a great piece of business and it comes in from Canberra, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney – fly in, maybe stay a night, meet and fly out again, with direct connectivity to the airport, it’s easy, right?

“Then what we find, interestingly enough, is when there is a residential [meeting] it tends to be quite a big one and it tends to be over a few days, which is interesting in itself because you’d think, well, that would be the type of business that may go into the CBD or somewhere else, but I think it’s just that whole ease of transport…fly in…walk across the skybridge and you’re there.”

PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport reveals upgraded event spaces
One of the refurbished meeting rooms at PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport

Accor, meanwhile, has undergone a massive expansion of its airport hotel portfolio in the Pacific over the last decade. In 2014, the hotel group had just nine airport hotels; with the opening of the Melbourne Airport properties next month, it will have 22 this year.

Other recent upgrades and additions to Accor’s airport collection include the $30 million revamp and merge of the Mercure and Novotel properties at Darwin Airport, to create Australia’s first airport resort. The 423-room result was unveiled in December 2023.

Also in December 2023, the Te Arikinui Pullman Auckland Airport opened in New Zealand, as the first five-star hotel in that precinct.

“Airport hotels are no longer necessarily just about transiting travellers; they are the engines of whole new integrated multi-use developments that have evolved to offer a complete mix of business, retail, industry and tourism activities,” said Accor Pacific’s COO, Adrian Williams.

“Airport precincts are transforming into mini-cities in their own right with their own demand drivers.

“Novotel and ibis Styles Melbourne Airport will be a prime example of hotels fuelling this demand and providing considerably more than just a place to sleep for a night.

“In particular, we expect the hotels to become highly popular venues for conferences, events, incentives and functions, fuelled by the range of leisure facilities within the area.

“The precinct around Melbourne Airport is thriving, and with tourist attractions such as Urbnsurf and iFLY within 15 minutes of the airport, the hotels are well located and designed for satisfying leisure guests and conference groups.

“The reasons to stay at an airport hotel are growing exponentially, and particularly in Melbourne, where the lack of integrated transport options to the terminals makes staying overnight at one of our hotels and relaxing and preparing for a major overseas trip one of the best investments a traveller can make.”

Other brands and airports are also getting onboard with airport hotels. Marriott International chose to debut its Moxy brand in Australia at Sydney Airport. The company was also announced as the first operator to commit to building a hotel in the under-construction Western Sydney Airport precinct – and the airport is already sourcing interest for a second hotel in the airport’s business precinct.

Perth Airport has also recently announced it will be developing its first airport hotel as part of a $5 billion infrastructure investment alongside a partnership with Qantas.

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