“I’m now looking to upgrade and improve the hotels I have, rather than look at new investments. But it will take a bit longer for the industry to recover than what was expected.”

Group chairman and chief executive of Pro-invest Ron Barrott, speaking from Dubai to the AHICE2020 conference, said while there was a lot of conjecture of when travel would start again, he believed there would be a recovery in the next 18 months to two years.

“We are not slowing down our development program as our investors are keen to maintain the investment and expand the portfolio,” Mr Barrott said.

“The market changes are providing an opportunity to acquire, rebrand and reposition hotels within the portfolio.” Pro-invest’s latest development is the Holiday Inn Express Sydney Airport.

Mr Barrott said investors in the hotel sector could ride the upside of the COVID-19 crisis and be well-positioned for a return to travelling “normality”, as long as they committed to a sustainable future.

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Quest Apartments is also expanding with the opening of six new properties in 2020 by Christmas. The Quest Robina on the Gold Coast, Queensland and Quest Palmerston North, in New Zealand, have already opened and there are four properties under construction in Western Australia and Victoria, totalling 340 rooms.

“Working closely with our trusted development partners, despite headwinds, we have been able to maintain a steady program of openings in 2020, and by the end of the year will have launched a total of six new properties in twelve months between our core markets of Australia and New Zealand,” Quest chief operating officer David Mansfield said.

CBRE’s regional director, hotel valuation & advisory, Troy Craig, and CBRE managing director capital markets, hotel, Michael Simpson, said there had been a shift in the sector to regional areas with the border closures with a focus on leisure rather than corporate conferences.

“In markets least affected by local movement restrictions we are seeing shifting demand patterns. Like the booming drive markets, city getaways are growing in popularity, resulting in these weekend spikes,” they said.

“The opening of high-profile, luxury hotels in our CBDs over the past few years is also driving this trend, providing locals with greater options for an indulgent city getaway.”

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