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April 18, 2019

Acting CEO’s Message

A flurry of activity has been occurring in the political space since the last Member Update, with the NSW Ministerial line-up announced, another Federal Budget completed, and the announcement of a Federal Election for May 18.

There have already been pre-election campaign announcements, and of particular relevance for our sector was Labor stating that they would be seeking the banning of price parity clauses. Following Labor’s announcement, Expedia has now indicated that they plan to drop their use of full price parity clauses. TAA will continue to be vigilant to make sure they do not ‘darken’ providers who offer a better deal on their own website. It also remains to be seen whether Booking.com will make a similar commitment. Andrew Leigh, the Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity, has provided an article written solely for TAA, which you can find further below. TAA has called on the Coalition Government to match the pledge to bring a bipartisan approach to this important issue

Many of you will have seen that TAA will soon have a new home in the heart of the Sydney CBD. The premium 380sqm offices come complete with glass atrium, interconnecting terrace, full kitchen, bathroom and shower facilities, meeting areas, glass ceilings and city skyline views. The new premises in Castlereagh Street gives TAA its own space to service the accommodation sector. A detailed Member Bulletin on the new offices can be found here.

Boardroom in the Castlereagh St Offices

View from the outdoor area

Happy Easter from the TAA NSW team! Bunnykind (2).svg

Dr Adele Lausberg

Message from the Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Keeping it Local
Just imagine if your local café had to pay 30 percent of the bill to an offshore multinational. You’d buy a $3 coffee, and they’d get to keep $2.10. Ninety cents would go to an overseas firm that processed the payment.

Bizarre as it seems, something like this is happening right now to our accommodation providers. Increasingly, bookings are being made through overseas online platforms. They trade under a farrago of names, including Expedia, Kayak, Hotels.com, Wotif, Priceline, Booking.com, and Trivago.

Like laundry detergents, all these brands are really just two huge firms. Together, they control more than four-fifths of the market. Like many technology giants, they’ve designed their affairs to maximise revenue and minimise tax.

As the multinational duopoly has extended its reach, the two firms haven’t dropped their commissions, which range from 10 percent to 30 percent. For that slice of the bill, do they provide a friendly face at the check-in desk? No. Do they change the towels? Fat chance. Do they offer advice on the best local eateries? You must be joking. All they do is electronically process the booking.

One way that the multinational booking providers have kept their market share is by preventing Australian hotels from telling their customers that they can book direct and save. The online agencies have applied ‘price parity clauses’, which require accommodation providers to promise that they won’t offer a better deal on their own website. Speaking with hoteliers in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and Launceston, I’ve heard directly about how frustrating it can be when your customers can’t be encouraged to book directly.

A Shorten Labor Government will change that. Alongside my colleagues Anthony Albanese and Ed Husic, we have announced that Labor would ban hotels from using price parity clauses. The move has been welcomed by peak accommodation groups, including the Australian Hotels Association. It would bring Australia into line with Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Belgium and Austria.

Immediately following our announcement, one of the two platforms, Expedia, announced that they will no longer use price parity clauses to stop Aussie hotels from offering the best deal to people who book direct. We still need to ensure that Expedia won’t indirectly punish hotels that offer the best deal on their own sites, but since Expedia has 38 percent of the market, it’s a promising start. We’re calling on Booking.com, which has a 46 percent market share, to do the same.

The tourism sector has a bright future. Ask people in other countries which destinations are on their bucket list, and Australia often tops the poll. Tourism demand will only grow as incomes rise in the Asian region. Jobs in the tourism sector range from entry-level to high-skilled, suggesting that its growth potential will translate into a wide range of fulfilling careers.

But to ask our tourism sector to compete with 30 percent of its revenues going offshore is like expecting Phar Lap to race on three legs. A fairer deal for the accommodation sector will mean more tourism, more jobs, and a stronger economy. That’s the future Labor wants to see for Australian hotels.

Dr Andrew Leigh is the Member for Fenner, ACT, the Shadow Assistant Treasurer, Shadow Minister for Competition & Productivity, Shadow Minister for Trade in Services and the Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits.

Industrial Relations 

Public Holidays

As a reminder, Good Friday, Easter Monday and Anzac Day all fall very close together this year. The Public Holiday Listing for 2019 can be found here.

If you have any further questions, contact the legal team on (02) 8218 1855 or by email at legal@ahansw.com.au

TAA NSW Awards For Excellence 2019

The presentation ceremony will take place at the Star Sydney on Thursday, 25 July 2019. Your ticket includes three courses with drinks including a special half time entertainment act, Furnace and the Fundamentals. The exclusive event after party will continue at Marquee Nightclub Boom Box. Don’t wait, purchase dinner tickets now to secure your seat.

Nominations are now closed for the TAA NSW Awards for Excellence. We received an overwhelming number of over 300 nominations! Good luck to all the nominees, judging has now commenced. Finalists will be announced Thursday, 13 June 2019.

Furnace and the Fundamentals

Government & Policy

New NSW Ministers

The NSW Coalition Government has won a third term. Of particular interest from their campaign announcements are the proposed new 45,000 seat stadium to replace the SFS, a rail line from Parramatta to the CBD – the Metro West project, and construction of the Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link. Gladys Berejiklian’s historic win as the first elected female Premier of NSW has brought the following reshuffle of Ministers that hold key positions for the accommodation sector:

  • The Hon Stuart Ayres MP, Minister for Jobs, Investment, Tourism and Western Sydney
  • The Hon Kevin Anderson MP, Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation
  • The Hon Robert Stokes MP, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces

Stuart Ayres has been brought back to tourism, and Rob Stokes has similarly come back to planning. TAA NSW will continue to advocate to the relevant Ministers, Shadow Ministers and crossbenchers to ensure that your interests are represented.

Federal Budget

There was welcome news for NSW’s accommodation sector with a financial injection for a skills package in the Federal Budget. Our sector has already been running programs, including the successful Hotel Career Expo, to address the sector’s labour challenges – so Federal Government support is very welcome.

Federal Government support for the skills package will include a $525.3M contribution to improve the quality of the Vocational Education and Training (VET) system nationwide, with $200.2M of this to go to a new apprenticeship incentive aimed at creating 80,000 additional apprentices nationally over five years in priority skills shortage areas. The incentive will double existing payments to employers to $8,000 per apprentice placement – new apprentices will also receive a $2,000 incentive payment. This includes much-needed culinary roles such as pastry cooks.

TAA also welcomed new infrastructure funding including $3.5B for stage one of the Western Sydney North South Rail Link, which is vital to continue to invest in key NSW infrastructure projects.

Other job stimulus areas in the Budget included changes to the visa system designed to support regional Australia. From November 2019, two new regional visas will be implemented which will permit skilled migrants to stay and work in the regions for five years. TAA NSW is also pleased that extensions will be granted to Temporary Graduate Visas from November 2021.

Industry News

Holiday Inn Express opens in Newcastle
IHG has opened its fourth Holiday Inn Express in Newcastle. The 170-room hotel is aimed at the corporate market and offers select service and a standard room is 20 square metres.

Sofitel Sydney Wentworth Refurbishment
Sofitel Sydney Wentworth hotel has recently completed the refurbishment of its 436 rooms. The six-month revitalisation project commenced in October 2018.

New-build Mercure hotel announced for Sydney’s Rouse Hill
Currently under construction, Mercure Sydney Rouse Hill is being developed alongside The Fiddler Hotel, a major dining and entertainment venue. It is expected to open in July 2019.

Hilton Hotels Doubling Foot-print in Asia-Pacific
in the next five years, 23 new properties are planned in addition to the current 27. Currently in the pipeline is a new 245-room Hilton in Sydney’s Parramatta to open in 2023. Hilton in the Sydney CBD is set to undergo a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of its rooms this year.

IR and Legal Calendar of Events

Thursday, 2 May – Webinar: Know Your Award Overview
Thursday, 16 May – Managing Bullying, Harassment and Discrimination
Thursday, 23 May – Webinar: Guidelines for Hiring or Firing Employees

To book a place in any of the above courses, please contact the legal team on (02) 8218 1855 or by email at legal@ahansw.com.au


Social Media Training Beginner/ Intermediate
    Tuesday, 14 May
Time:    9:00am – 5:00pm

Social Media Training Advanced
    Wednesday, 15 May
Time:    9:00am – 5:00pm

Introduction to Hotel Revenue Management
     Monday, 27 May 2019
Time:     9:00am – 5:00pm

Advanced course in Revenue & Distribution Management
Date:     Tuesday, 28 May 2019
Time:     9:00am – 5:00pm

All training will be held at:
TAA NSW Office, Level 15, Hudson House,
131 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000

TAA NSW Events

International Market Briefing 

Date:      Friday, 3 May 2019
Time:      8.00am for 8.30 start till 10.00am
Venue:   Meeting Room 3, Primus Hotel Sydney

GMs Boardroom Lunch on Cruise Briefing

Date:      Thursday, 30 May 2019
Time:      12.00pm for 12.30pm – 2pm
Venue:   The Drawing Room, The Langham Hotel Sydney

RSVP is essential: Please email taa@tourismaccommodation.com.au

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