Exclusive: New Zealand’s Managing Director of Pro-invest talks about the development of a ‘historic’ double hotel
Fraser McKenzie, recently appointed Regional Managing Director of Pro-invest Hotels for New Zealand, spoke with HM’s Ruth Hogan about the opening of the country’s first dual-branded hotel property and future growth plans.
Being from Auckland, how does it feel to see such hotel investment in your hometown?
My return to New Zealand was both emotionally engaging and a refreshing experience to see the growth and maturity of the hospitality industry after a 17 year hiatus from Auckland, eight years out of New Zealand. This [dual development] is an iconic hotel build that not only adds to Auckland’s skyline but also enhances New Zealand’s hotel offering with two international brands – voco and Holiday Inn Express. With authentic Kiwi service, Auckland continues to be a premier convention and exhibition destination and a must-visit location for domestic and international leisure travellers, and it’s no surprise that investment in hotel space increase.
You have worked in various hotels in Asia-Pacific and in this new role you will oversee Pro-invest’s growing New Zealand portfolio. What do you think makes New Zealand hotels and hospitality unique?
Consistent quality hotels in this country underpin New Zealanders’ authentic approach to the service industry. It is the professionalism and commitment of our teams that make the difference and create a desire for commitment among international tourists. The hospitable nature of Kiwis also provides a high level of confidence to event and incentive planners everywhere. The feedback we receive regularly from our source markets indicates that people are struck by our great teams and unparalleled experiences.
With Holiday Inn Express and Voco both occupying this new development, how will they complement each other?
Doubling the number of hotel rooms our IHG One Rewards members can access in Auckland, as well as providing tiered accommodation with different service offerings in one location puts us in an unparalleled position. Whether travelers wanting to immerse themselves in a premium voco experience, travelers in town for an event or visiting friends and family, voco Auckland City Center and Holiday Inn City Center offer a central and secure accommodation in the beating heart of Auckland City. We have a team working in both hotels which means consistency of service and local operators and event organizers can take comfort in knowing they have a single point of connection between the two brands.
The two hotels have very different customer value propositions, but what attributes do they share?
Voco Auckland City Center offers an upscale hotel experience from Italian-style creations by Mozarella & Co to unparalleled views of the Inner Harbor and beyond from Bar Albert, our rooftop venue. The Holiday Inn Express Auckland City Center offers premium comfort and convenience with absolute connectivity from the front door to in-room streaming technology. While different value propositions and offerings, it’s the genuine, caring team that moves through both hotels that creates a memorable experience for our guests – all underpinned by the IHG True values and operating culture. Hospitality.
What does the future of Pro-invest in New Zealand look like?
With hotels in two of the country’s top destinations, Pro-invest Hotels is a significant provider in domestic and international tourism and we are excited for the future. The trajectory that Pro-invest Hotels has had in the Pacific in 2022 has been extraordinary, having opened seven hotels this year alone. Voco Brisbane City Center and Holiday Inn Express and Suites Sunshine Coast opened in June, and we feel a great connection with sister properties across the divide and have no doubt that the growth of these hotel brands will be very beneficial. We will have exciting news to share [about new hotels] in the not too distant future.
This interview was published in the June edition of HM Magazine.