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Mice Net : February 2010
206 mice.net WOLGAN VALLEY RESORT & SPA BOOSTS AUSTRALIAN LUXURY TRAVEL MARKET Just months after its soft opening the Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa in the Blue Mountains has been recognised as one of the world's best luxury resorts. The Emirates Hotels & Resorts property has been included as a member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World portfolio. Only five Australian properties hold this membership status to date, with Wolgan Valley the second only in New South Wales. As the world's foremost authority on hotel assessment and grading, the Leading Hotels of the World serves as the benchmark for the luxury hospitality industry, and only accepts its members following a rigorous and anonymous inspection process to arrive at the elite worldwide list. Just 450 of the finest hotels, resorts and spas around the world are included. With sister property Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa in Dubai already a member, Emirates Hotels & Resorts now has both its properties included in the prestigious luxury hospitality portfolio. Tony Williams, senior vice president, resorts & projects of Emirates Hotels & Resorts, said: "This is great news for Emirates Hotels & Resorts, and for the Australian travel industry. We believe that the opening of our Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is significantly boosting the luxury travel sector in Australia, and we are delighted that Leading Hotels of the World has recognised our contribution." Heralding a new era of luxury travel in Australia, Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has taken up a leadership role in hospitality as well as conservation. Visit www.wolganvalley.com to learn more. venue update SUSTAINABILITY PRACTICES BOOST BOTTOM LINE Environmental responsibility and the realisation that going green also delivers on their bottom line are influencing companies to adopt sustainability focused practices. An authoritative study published in 2009 by global consulting firm A.T.Kearney titled, Green Winners: The Performance of Sustainability focused Companies in the Financial Crisis, found that during the first six months of the global financial crisis (GFC) companies with a strong commitment to sustainability initiatives surpassed industry averages by 15 per cent. In early 2008, the Accor Hotel Group launched Australia's first carbon neutral meeting service -- "Mercure Meetings" under CRI's NoCO2 certification program through the purchase of carbon offsets. As a direct result the group has experienced a significant increase in the demand for its carbon neutral meeting service in the company's Mercure Hotel chain, despite the GFC. "There is no doubt that Mercure's commitment to carbon off-setting helped the brand achieve above-market performance in the conference and events sector during 2009. The GFC affected total conference numbers, but we had many instances when companies or government bodies put their business into Mercure specifically because of our genuine environmental commitment highlighted through the company's green marketing initiatives. It was an important point of difference that environmentally-responsible meeting planners wanted to support," says Garth Simmons, Mercure operations manager. "It has been vital to have the support of a highly accredited certification organisation because this assures conference organisers that the program is credible and accountable." "Once a company is exposed to the investment potential of energy efficiency for example, most business owners soon realise that the return is often greater than 100 per cent on the initial outlay over a 12 month period," explains MD of the Carbon Reduction Institute, Rob Cawthorne. "Given the inevitability that future energy costs are certain to increase at rates greater than inflation, the return will get even better over time. Changing staff behaviour for green alternatives can deliver some of the best financial returns for an organisation with very little capital outlay. Simply increasing staff energy awareness will reduce a company's electricity bills, teaching efficient driving behaviour will lower the fuel bill for an organisation's fleet while increasing recycling will trim waste costs." MANTRA GROWS NZ PRESENCE The Mantra Group has expanded its presence in New Zealand with the launch of a luxury apartment complex in the adventure capital of Queenstown. Officially opened on February 1, 2010, Mantra Marina Resort marks the first foray into New Zealand for the group's premier Mantra brand. It joins Mantra Group's other New Zealand properties Peppers Beacon, BreakFree The Point, BreakFree the Waterfront, Highview, Peppers Clearwater Resort and Peppers Bluewater Resort on the South Island plus the North Island's Peppers on the Point and Peppers Martinborough, to cover the full spectrum of holiday experiences for couples, families and corporate guests. Mantra Group CEO Bob East said he was delighted to be launching the Mantra brand in New Zealand with such a high calibre property. "The acquisition of this modern and superbly appointed property is the ideal springboard into New Zealand for Mantra Hotels, Resorts & Apartments,'' he said. Mr East said that he was looking forward to expanding the highly successful Mantra brand throughout New Zealand. Mantra Resorts is currently Australia's fastest growing hotel brand. For further details visit www.mantra.com.au.