Fresh start for Mantra Hospitality

Monday 14 September


Fresh start for Mantra Hospitality


As boss of the former Stella Hospitality Group, Bob East has been at the sharp end as the company navigated its way through a difficult few years, constantly being bombarded with  questions about the future of its parent company.


In an article from Travel Today last month Stella Group announced a major restructure, splitting its hospitality and travel services divisions into two separate entities. With the restructure came a new brand for the hotel arm – Mantra Hospitality Group.


As Chief Executive, East said the restructure dispelled any confusion in the market and clearly put the focus back on its 131 properties in Australia under the Mantra, Peppers and Breakfree brands.  “I was trying to tell anyone  who would listen, forget anything you’ve heard in the past.  This is the company.  It is a new identity,” East said.  “We are finally able to say this is who we are. We are a hotel business. There’s no confusion anymore with us in the travel industry.”


With a $285 million debt facility, East said the company was now able to make its own decisions and embark on its own growth strategy.  “There were competing needs in the previous structure. That’s not a bad thing,” East said. “But with our own debt facility we can start investing in our business, so the cash that we generate is obviously going towards improving our portfolio, be that through new acquisitions or mergers.”


Refurbishments are underway at several properties, and Peppers will soon expand into CBD locations, starting in Queensland.  “It would make sense for us to also have one in Sydney and one in Melbourne, and probably one in Perth, sooner rather than later,” he said.


While it does have properties in New Zealand, East said there would not be any international expansion in the medium-term, though it did have some appeal.


All three brands will receive a major promotional push over the next few months on television, radio, print and online.