Accommodation Industry response to the release of labor’s sharing economy principles

Accommodation Association of Australia Chief Executive Officer, Richard Munro said: “While there are some positive aspects to what Labor is proposing – such as greater taxation obligations for sharing economy companies – overall, the principles fall short of ensuring there is a level playing field for operators of tourism accommodation businesses and platforms which enable private residences to be used for tourism accommodation. The lack of a level playing field would have the potential to further compromise tourism accommodation investment in Australia and would mean that people with disability could be left without adequate access to accommodation booked through a sharing economy platform.”

The Accommodation Association’s perspectives on Labor’s Sharing Economy Principles are:

Extract from principles: Additional property used to deliver services does not fall within the scope of the sharing economy

Accommodation Association assessment of this proposal:

Mr Munro’s comment: “Standard commercial regulations and requirements should apply to any property which is used for tourism accommodation.”

Property compliance responsibility should rest with sharing economy platform operators
Mr Munro: “Platform operators must not shirk responsibility for compliance with regulatory obligations set by all levels of government in Australia.”

Sharing economy services must not undercut the wages and conditions of Australian workers

Mr Munro: “Even allowing for the fact that sharing economy accommodation businesses employ very few people in Australia and create very few jobs in Australia, workers in the accommodation industry must be paid in accordance with appropriate awards and/or in accordance with Australia’s Fair Work Act.”

Sharing economy companies must pay company tax at the standard corporate rate on all revenue generated in Australia

Mr Munro: “This proposal would stop Airbnb from funnelling to Ireland transactions involving guests and hosts who are located in Australia.”

Australians delivering sharing economy services must pay income tax and collect GST when their activity exceeds the GST-exemption threshold

Mr Munro: “All companies operating in Australia’s sharing economy should pay the same taxes and ‘bricks and mortar’ companies, including GST and company tax.”

Compliance responsibility for meeting insurance requirements should rest with sharing economy companies

Mr Munro: “If a platform which promotes private residences for tourism accommodation does not have appropriate insurance, the safety of consumers is at risk.”

State and local governments should develop licensing and inspection codes specific to sharing economy services

Mr Munro: “Why should a sharing economy business in the accommodation industry be treated any differently to any other accommodation business by government?”

Sharing economy services should comply with accessibility standards negotiated with disability advocates

Mr Munro: “Disability access requirements for accommodation businesses are mandated by government, therefore people with disability could be left without adequate access to accommodation booked through a sharing economy platform under this proposal.”

There should be zero tolerance for companies that flout Australian laws

Mr Munro: “There should be zero tolerance for companies that flout Australian laws.”

Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Australian Timeshare Industry, Business | Leave a comment

TripAdvisor launches free analytics dashboard for accommodation providers

1114-2TripAdvisor has announced the launch of the Review Performance report – an online analytics dashboard available for free to all registered businesses on the site.

Designed based on user feedback, the new dashboard provides registered business owners with insights and trend data about their reviews, ranking and competitors in an interactive online display. The Review Performance report analytics are designed to help businesses easily monitor and maximise their presence on TripAdvisor.

“According to the recent research conducted by Atmosphere Research Group[i] in partnership with TripAdvisor, highly engaged businesses[ii] get more visibility, have higher popularity rankings and receive more booking enquiries through TripAdvisor. In fact, highly engaged hotels receive almost four times more page views and are on average 63% higher in popularity ranking than non-engaged hotels,” said Minesh Shah, senior director, global hotel partnerships, TripAdvisor.

“The Review Performance report has been designed to make it is easier for businesses to engage with their TripAdvisor listing and their guest feedback,” continued Shah. “What makes this new dashboard so valuable for registered business owners is that it automatically aggregates performance trends and presents them in an easy-to-digest display, placing valuable learnings at their fingertips to help them drive engagement and optimise their presence on TripAdvisor.”

Review Performance report features:

  • Free and available to all registered businesses in all languages across all points of sale
  • Data is viewable in weekly, monthly or quarterly displays
  • Owners can build and modify up to 10 competitor sets
  • Ability to compare reviews and rankings with their competitors over time
  • Consolidated performance information in one easy-to-use dashboard
Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Australian Timeshare Industry, Consumer Tips & Advice | Leave a comment

AccorHotels appoints Dino Mezzatesta as Accor Plus Asia Pacific CEO

accor1115Dino Mezzatesta has been appointed chief executive officer of Accor Plus Asia Pacific, AccorHotels’ travel, dining and lifestyle program.

Dino joined AccorHotels in March 2005 as director of sales and marketing for The Menzies Hotel in Sydney. He then moved to Ibis Sydney Airport where he spent almost two years as general manager. In March 2008, Dino moved to the AccorHotels’ Sydney regional office where he spent the last seven years leading the franchise operations for Australia and New Zealand, while also playing a key role in the implementation of the group’s strata business and integration of the strategic Mirvac acquisition.

Dino most recently held the position of vice president franchise operations, overseeing a portfolio of over 70 hotels. In his new role, Dino will bring his sales and management experience to Accor Plus and continue to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit which remains the basis of the success of Accor Plus over the last 21 years.

Accor Plus is a paid membership program of AccorHotels, enabling members to enjoy exclusive discounts and benefits at more than 600 hotels and 800 restaurants across the region. Dino will oversee the program across 17 participating countries.

He replaces Louise Daley, former CEO of Accor Plus who has now been promoted to the position of executive vice president and chief financial officer AccorHotels Asia Pacific.

“I am very excited to take on this role with Accor Plus and provide our 350,000 members with new benefits and new destinations, while also growing the program so that more travellers can experience the very best of AccorHotels,” said Dino.

Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Accor Vacation Club, Australian Timeshare Industry | Leave a comment

Wyndham Worldwide Green Day celebrates carbon emissions goal

wyn-2GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA (30 September 2015) – Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific staff will join their counterparts from across the globe to celebrate Wyndham Worldwide Green Day on October 8.

Employees at the Gold Coast head office and across the region’s 30 managed resorts in South East Asia and the Pacific Rim will also be celebrating the global company’s achievement of reaching its goal of a 20 per cent reduction in carbon emissions in 2014, six years ahead of schedule.

Wyndham Worldwide set the target in 2010 as part of its Wyndham Green initiative with the goal of reaching it by 2020. After beating the target so early, the company has now raised the bar and set a new target of a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2025.

The Wyndham Green program was launched in 2006 by Wyndham Worldwide and demonstrates the company’s commitment to corporate social responsibility and the environment through efforts to conserve resources, preserve natural habitats, prevent pollution and educate staff, timeshare owners and hotel guests.

In the Asia Pacific region, sustainability initiatives have been implemented at all resorts with the introduction of water efficient washing machines and dishwashers, low flow restrictor taps and shower heads and recycling bins within hotel rooms and resort apartments.

The Wyndham Corporate Centre in Bundall on Queensland’s Gold Coast is 5 Green Star rated through the Green Building Council of Australia and uses sustainable technology including sensor lights, efficient zoned air conditioning and harvested rain water for toilets. State-of-the-art window finishes that control light and limit air-conditioning losses are also part of the building design.

The Asia Pacific also has a Wyndham Green mascot, Wynnie the Wallaby, who encourages children in particular to help protect the planet through fun resort activities and the Wynnie the Wallaby activity pack.

Resort and corporate employees receive ongoing education about the importance of conserving energy through a regular email and training update program.

President and Managing Director of Wyndham Vacation Resorts Asia Pacific and Wyndham Hotel Group South East Asia and Pacific Rim, Barry Robinson, said sustainability was a key focus for the company.

“We are committed to educating our staff, timeshare owners and hotel guests about the importance of protecting the environment and, as a company, we aim to lead by example,” Mr Robinson said. “We’ve invested significantly to adopt best practices and build a culture that continuously strives to improve our impact on the environment.”

An example of green initiatives in place at Wyndham resorts include:

  • Ramada and Days Hotels Singapore At Zhongshan Park, which were recently awarded the Singapore Green Hotel Award 2015, have introduced a herb garden and recycling programs as well as a linen savings program, which alone saved SGD$506,795 in 2014. The hotels will pilot an environmentally-friendly concept of presenting in-room meals and conduct a sale of upcycled plastic water bottles for its staff and guests in line with Wyndham Green Day.
  • Ramada Plaza Melaka in Malaysia uses an Energy and Environmental Action Plan (EEAP) to collect and monitor data and reduce consumption levels. It recently received the Melaka Green Award for its efforts.
  • WorldMark Resort Golden Beach on Australia’s Sunshine Coast installed 240 rooftop solar panels and a new, more efficient chiller for its central air conditioning system in April 2014, resulting in a saving of $44,185 and a 121,078kwh reduction in 12 months.
  • Wyndham Coffs Harbour – Treetops on the New South Wales Mid-North Coast is a star performer when it comes to green initiatives. The resort has upgraded its lighting to be 50% LED, fitted eight speed controlled pool pumps to reduce energy usage and installed more than 100 solar panels. It has a worm farm and generates its own fertilizer for the gardens, which are irrigated with water captured in rainwater tanks. Power monitoring has also allowed for the streamlining of energy usage throughout the day to reduce network and demand charges resulting in a 13.5% cost reduction.
  • Wyndham Vacation Resorts Flynns Beach has a Wyndham Green area with a composting station, worm farm and herb gardens used to teach children about sustainability. All garden lights were replaced with LED bollards to save on electricity usage and the spa heater was replaced with a more energy efficient model. The resort is located in a koala corridor and has worked with Landcare to clear weeds and plant over 250 koala-friendly trees through annual tree planting days.
Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Australian Timeshare Industry, Wyndham News | Leave a comment

DAE Global Conference heads for Spain

dae1115Orlando, FL (September 18, 2015) — Worldwide vacation exchange provider, DAE, is hosting its annual DAE Global Conference in Marbella, Spain from 13 – 15 September, 2015.

The Conference will see regional heads and key stakeholders from across the global organization come together for the two-day conference, this year to be hosted at Don Carlos Resort on Spain’s southern coast.

CEO of DAE, Francis Taylor, said the DAE Conference was an opportunity to reflect on DAE’s activities over the past 12 months, and plan for the future.

“We’ve had an extremely successful 12 months across the globe, with DAE expanding across key timeshare markets in the US, Latin America, Middle East and the Asia Pacific,” said Mr Taylor.

“Hosting the DAE Global Conference allows us to align our global vision for the coming year, as we continue to grow our business through a strengthened product offering for both members and industry partners.

“The Conference will cover everything from the global brand’s new marketing direction, to new business markets and how to add even more services and value to individual members as well our growing number of resort and industry partners.

“This gathering of all the DAE offices brings together the strategic think tank that has allowed the DAE brand to flourish and grow year on year. It’s an incredibly energetic event on our annual calendar.”

Now operating from 10 global offices and servicing more than 1.5 million timeshare owners around the world, including 550,000 direct members, Mr Taylor said DAE’s continued success was built on the shared vision from each region to provide the industry’s best customer service.

“Our focus has and always will be on providing outstanding service to every DAE customer – wherever they are in the world. During our Conference we will collectively shine the spotlight on service and how we can continue to improve our service to members and business partners across the globe.”

The DAE Global Conference 2015 in Spain will tie in with the Resort Development Organization (RDO) Annual Conference, also to be held at the Don Carlos Resort, from 17 – 19 September.

Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Australian Timeshare Industry, DAE (Dial An Exchange) | Leave a comment

Accor Hotels and Mission Australia follow in ANZAC footsteps on the Gold Coast ‘Kokoda Trail’

2015-AVC-Whispers-Nov-2015AccorHotels teamed up with Mission Australia again in 2015 to host the fourth Race to Survive event: Kokoda Trail – a dynamic, three-day fundraising event.

On the 14th to 16th October 38 teams of four from Australia and New Zealand represented Accor and participated in the annual Race to Survive.  On this year’s “Kokoda Trail” in the Gold Coast Hinterland the teams endured torrential rain, 25 km treks through rugged bushland, canoeing, obstacle courses, stretcher challenges and tug?of?war competitions, all in the name of fundraising and mateship while honouring the ANZAC legend which celebrates its centenary this year.

The end result saw the event raise $460,000 for Mission Australia and $40,000 for Kokoda Youth  foundation in 2015. This fundraising will directly benefit Mission Australia services which includes Missionbeat, which patrols inner Sydney streets seeking out those in distress and offering them support. And Charcoal Lane, an innovative social enterprise in Melbourne which combines a restaurant with a comprehensive training program for young people who have experienced barriers to employment.

Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Accor Vacation Club, Australian Timeshare Industry | Leave a comment

Wyndham unveils the world’s most generous rewards program for meeting planners

wyndham-logo2Wyndham Rewards® is helping meeting and group travel planners win big. go meetsm, the world’s most generous rewards program for meeting planners transforms and simplifies the world of hotel loyalty programs for planners.

Planners who are members of the Wyndham Rewards loyalty program can earn one point for every dollar spent on qualifying revenue at participating hotels, regardless of billing method. Unlike any other program, there is no minimum spend requirement and no maximum point limit. The lack of restrictions means the earning potential is vast, leading to faster, easier routes to the tangible and meaningful rewards planners deserve, like free nights.

The new go meetsm aligns with the simplicity and generosity of the new Wyndham Rewards, launched by Wyndham Hotel Group in May 2015, which, dollar for dollar, lets members earn more and redeem faster than any other program in the industry today. It’s the first major rewards program of its kind to offer a flat 15,000-point free night redemption rate and the only program in the industry to offer a minimum of 1,000 points with every qualified stay.

Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Around the World, Australian Timeshare Industry, Wyndham News | Leave a comment

Wyndham Hotel Group strengthens Ramada brand in Malaysia with third location

Wyndham Coffs Harbour - ExteriorWyndham Hotel Group has announced plans to expand its Ramada® brand in Malaysia with the signing of a franchise agreement with Mah Sing Group for a 322-key property in Johor Bahru.

Ramada Encore Meridin Johor Bahru is scheduled to open in 2018.  It will feature studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments and, upon opening, will join two other Ramada properties currently operating in the Malaysian cities of Kuala Lumpur and Melaka.

The new hotel will be located within the Meridin Hotel Suites complex in Medini, a township development that will become a central business district in the newly created southern economic zone of Iskandar in Johor Bahru.

Ramada Encore Meridin will be operated by leading hotel management company Topotels and will feature an on-site restaurant, gymnasium, fitness course with yoga deck, swimming pool, Jacuzzi, business centre with Wi-Fi and 24-hour security.

Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Around the World, Australian Timeshare Industry, Wyndham News | Leave a comment

Indonesia’s first Wyndham Resort set to open doors in Bali

Wyndham Resort Tamansari Jivva - sand poolWyndham Hotel Group today announced plans to open its first Wyndham Hotels and Resorts® property in Indonesia at Bali’s Lepang Beach. Scheduled to open in January 2016, the US $22 million, beachfront resort development will be situated minutes from the world-famous surf break, Keramas.

The agreement between award-winning developer and investor PT. Wijaya Karya Realty and Wyndham Hotel Group, one of the world’s largest hotel companies with approximately 7,700 properties globally, calls for Wyndham’s management arm to manage the resort’s day-to-day operations.

Designed by award-winning Indonesian architect Gregorius Supie, Wyndham Resort Tamansari Jivva will comprise eight villas and 214 apartments set on 1.4 hectares of beachfront land. It will feature an open lobby surrounded by a pool; a second, separate oceanfront pool; a large beach bar; an all-day dining restaurant; conference facilities; and a gym.

Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Australian Timeshare Industry, Wyndham News | Leave a comment

Wyndham Seven Mile Beach and Ability Tasmania Implement Community Garden

wyndham-logo2The eco-friendly Wyndham Vacation Resorts Seven Mile Beach is developing a community garden to cultivate fresh produce in partnership with disability support service, Ability Tasmania.

The community garden, located on the resort grounds, will be used to grow a variety of vegetables and house the resort’s chicken coops. The fresh produce cultivated in the garden will be used for the onsite Beaches Restaurant and will also be made available for resort guests to purchase and cook in their fully self-contained apartments.

The resort has been providing work experience opportunities for recruits from Ability Tasmania, a local not-for-profit organisation that provides employment opportunities to people with intellectual disabilities or who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Posted in 2015 Enews - 11/15, Australian Timeshare Industry, Wyndham News | Leave a comment