Top hotels gear up for competition

THE completion of the Burswood International Resort Casino’s extensions and the opening of the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre are good news for the MICE market, and also for some of Perth’s best convention destinations – the five-star hotels.

The Burswood International Resort Casino has increased its MICE offering with a $96 million overhaul of facilities and a new hotel resort pegged for 2003. Public relations manager Julie Cameron said the combination of the two would allow Burswood to cater for its own conventions, as well as to capture hospitality dollars for the functions that the PCEC will bring to the State.

“While the development of the PCEC will increase competition for Burswood’s convention and exhibition business, it is expected to increase activity in other areas of the resort’s operation,” she said.

“Burswood will benefit from ongoing ‘spin-off’ business from large international and national conventions held at the PCEC.

“In addition to an increase in visitation from PCEC convention delegates utilising accommodation, entertainment and recreation facilities at the resort, Burswood expects to benefit from growth in planned social activities, and function and special event bookings.”

Part of the refurbishment included the $30 million extension to the convention centre, with an 1,800 square metre Grand Ballroom, an adjoining pre-function foyer and registration area.

“The ‘new Burswood’ is positioned as a one-stop destination for local, national and international conference activity, providing a distinct competitive advantage in the 500 to 1,000 delegate-range of conferences,” Ms Cameron said.

The Grand Ballroom was opened earlier this year in January with the Hyundai Hopman Cup Ball, and already has attracted large events, including the visit of former US president Bill Clinton.

Burswood’s main competitors – other four and five-star resorts – remain unaffected, as yet, by the extension.

The Hyatt Regency Perth’s business development director, Belinda Davey,

said Burswood’s expansion has not

affected the Hyatt’s business.

“The effect of Burswood’s recent extension has not kicked in yet,” Ms Davey said.

“We actually work very closely together, helping out with any overflow of accommodation.

“All the hotels in Perth work very closely together, unlike in Sydney and Melbourne.

“Obviously, companies have loyalties to certain hotels, but they do tend to move it (conventions) around for obvious reasons.”

Ms Davey said Burswood’s capability to host large groups meant that the two companies catered for different markets.

The location of the major hotels within the city calls for an amicable relationship, Ms Davey said.

Sheraton Perth general manager Craig Seaward said it was too early to notice the effect of the Burswood renovations.

“The positives of this are (that) Burswood is a well-known resort in Australia and Asia, and they will be bringing in large conference groups into WA, and hopefully there will be an overflow in accommodation,” Mr Seaward said.

He remained concerned, however, about the impact on the market and said the introduction of extra facilities by Burswood would place more pressure on other hotels.

Mr Seaward also believes the conference market in Perth is in decline, partly due to the restrictions of air routes into and out of Perth.

Adding more pressure to the market will be the opening of a new , 300-room, three-star hotel to be developed in a partnership arrangement with Six Continents Hotels and Resorts (Australia) Pty Limited at the end of next year.

“It will be located on vacant land adjacent to the Burswood Convention Centre.

The proposed $50 million hotel will cater to the high demand for additional capacity and an alternative style of accommodation at the resort, particularly during conventions and events,” Ms Cameron said.

“Under the proposed joint venture agreement, Six Continents Hotels will build and manage the new hotel, to be named Holiday Inn Burswood, and will manage the existing 413-room, five-star hotel, to be re-branded Hotel Inter-Continental Burswood. Burswood will manage the food, beverage and meeting room facilities within both of the hotels.”

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