There is no doubt – 2020 was a tough year for Australian tourism, and well into 2021 the industry is continuing to experience challenges with various state border closures impacting on domestic traveller confidence.
In light of the current circumstances, a question a prospective franchisee may have is: “Is Quest a good franchise business opportunity despite the global pandemic?”
In short, the answer is an emphatic YES. Quest Apartment Hotels’ franchise businesses are well placed for a strong recovery, and many are currently marching towards a ‘pre-Covid’ operating environment.
Quest Apartment Hotels is an enduring brand in the Australasian accommodation market. With over 30 years experience, Quest enjoys strong relationships with the corporate sector as well as state and federal government departments. The strength of these relationships, and the ability of Quest franchisees to quickly adapt the product and service offering to meet client’s needs during the pandemic was crucial to maintaining business during 2020.
Additionally, the strength of the Quest brand, and the nimble nature of the Quest business format franchise model, meant that Quest Apartment Hotel businesses were able to remain open and operational throughout 2020, whilst many competitor brands in the Australian accommodation sector were forced to close or go into hibernation.
Furthermore, Quest is a member of Singaporean-based The Ascott Limited (Ascott), one of the leading international lodging owner-operators. This means that Quest can benefit from Ascott’s global presence and its network of over 300 sales managers, and direct connectivity to major Online Travel Agents effectively cross sell properties and deliver top-line revenue opportunities.
Regional & Trans-Tasman Travel, and Aviation capacity
Tourism Australia, with the backing of state-based tourism organisations, are investing heavily in the “Holiday Here This Year” marketing campaign, encouraging Australians to take holidays domestically. With hotels in 39 regional Australian locations, including Ballarat, Portland, Wagga Wagga and Wangaratta , as well as significant presence across suburban and inner-city locations, many Quest franchise businesses are starting to welcome more leisure travellers as Australians get out and see their own backyard in the face of international border closures.
With the recent opening of the trans-Tasman bubble with New Zealand, Quest has a strong brand presence and enjoys high brand awareness amongst business travellers on both sides of the Tasman, with over 130 properties in Australia and 35 properties in New Zealand.
Further, Qantas Group has just announced plans to increase their domestic capacity:
The current environment is characterised by extremely strong leisure demand – helped by the Federal Government’s half-price fare offer – and the return of the majority of corporate and small to medium business travel. As a result, the Group is revising its estimates of reaching 80 per cent of its pre-COVID domestic capacity for the fourth quarter of FY21 and is now expecting this to be beyond 90 per cent, provided there are no significant border closures (1).
These factors are going a long way to pave the road to recovery for many Quest businesses across Australia.
The Return of Business Travel
The growth of Quest over the last 30+ years has been underpinned by a laser sharp focus on the corporate traveller. With domestic business travel starting to resume, Quest franchisees are now inching closer to pre-Covid operating levels, as their core customers get on the road again and resume their normal business activity.
Furthermore, despite the rise of videoconferencing during the pandemic, recent research released by Collinson indicates that close to two thirds of Aussie businesspeople admitted to being negatively affected by a lack of person-to-person meetings (2).
This further creates a compelling case for the corporate sector to resume domestic business travel and have personnel engage face-to-face with their clients, colleagues and other business associates after going without this for most of 2020, with Quest Apartment Hotels set to benefit greatly due to being the accommodation brand of choice for many business travellers across Australia.
2 | Collinson: “The Return Journey” research report: https://www.collinsongroup.com/en/insights/the-return-journey