Published: October 07, 2015

HOTELS and developers are capitalising on Adelaide’s expanding tourism and events market with nine new properties expected to be ready to accommodate city guests by 2019.

Industry leaders say the boom comes in response to increasing interstate visitor numbers and visitor nights prompted by the $535 million world-class redevelopment of Adelaide Oval, $350 million of works to the Adelaide Convention Centre and an extended events calendar.

Four hotels have opened in the past year bringing an additional 700 rooms to the city.

Figures supplied by the South Australian Tourism Commission show Adelaide room supply has increased by 17.2 per cent from 2010 to 2015. As at June 2015 there are more than 8200 rooms in Adelaide with the State Government is working toward an $8 billion tourism industry by 2020.

The evolution of the Adelaide hotel market has welcomed such international brands as Sofitel, Aloft (a product of Starwood Hotels), Holiday Inn and Ibis alongside boutique offerings such as the Mayfair.

Hotels that are either complete, in development or proposed include:

  • Sofitel on Currie St, 250 rooms, opening late 2018;
  • Holiday Inn Express, Hindley Street, 245 rooms, opening 2018;
  • Lester Hotel, West Terrace, 244 rooms, proposed with view to open March 2016;
  • Ibis Hotel, Grenfell Street, 311 rooms, open;
  • Mayfair Hotel, King William St, 170 rooms, open;
  • Quest on Franklin St, 117 rooms, open;
  • Quest King William Street South, 100 rooms, open;
  • Aloft Adelaide, Sturt St, 200 rooms, opening 2018 and;
  • Sheraton, O’Connell St North Adelaide, 160 rooms, proposed.

Two existing hotels – the Grand Chifley and Rendezvous - are subject to refurbishment and will be newly managed by major hospitality brands Sage and Peppers.

The Mayfair, the city’s newest 5-star property in decades, has brought new life to the former CML insurance heritage building in the heart of Adelaide’s retail and entertainment precinct.

Mayfair general manager Aaron Oh said for 17 years the owner had dreamed of turning the site into a hotel.

“We have new world-class amusement and corporate facilities nearby and we are proud to have a hotel that’s a prime product to compliment these developments,” Mr Oh said.

“There are a number of new products that have rejuvenated the city and it feels very fresh.

“There are new bars and eateries that have really changed the vibrancy and outlook for visitors and tourists and we strive to be a hotel that matches what is happening in the city.”

The city’s sporting and entertainment calendar is formidable and features international events such as the friendly match between English Premier League giant Liverpool and local squad Adelaide United in mid -uly.

An Economic Research Consultants study revealed Adelaide Oval had provided the state with $244.5 million economic benefit in its first year of operation. This figure is expected to grow again in 2015 thanks to the ICC Cricket World Cup that generated $90 million in direct spending alone.

Yet it is the well-patronised Australian Rules Football games that are really boosting visitor numbers to Adelaide. The 2014 AFL season attracted one million spectators to Adelaide Oval; domestic overnight visitors jumped 6.5 per cent in the 12 months to March 2015 accordingly.

The Tourism Research Australia National Visitor Survey shows that 5.6 million domestic visitors stayed in Adelaide for 21 million nights total in that same period.

AccorHotels will open the 5-star Sofitel on Currie Street in late 2018 in a $140 million development that changes the entire cityscape. The 33-storey structure will be the tallest mixed use building in the CBD, and include 250 rooms and 80 apartments over the top eight floors.

“Pleasingly in Adelaide there has been a lot of soft and hard infrastructure coming online to stimulate the market,” AccorHotels chief operating officer Pacific Simon McGrath said.

“Adelaide is surrounded by a myriad of tourism assets from Kangaroo Island to world-famous wine regions and the city is really building its reputation for hosting drawcard sports and cultural events as well as first-rate culinary experiences,” he said.

Competition between the new properties will only strengthen the industry, stakeholders say.

Starwood Hotels and Resorts will debut in Adelaide with the Aloft brand in 2018. Pacific regional vice president Sean Hunt said the level of investment industry-wide showed confidence in the market.

“And so (investors) should be (confident),” Mr Hunt said.

“Adelaide is emerging as a young, dynamic and vibrant city appealing to international and domestic travellers.

“There has been a significant shortage of rooms in the city for some time now and these new openings will help address this,” he said.

Aloft’s signature is a social and energetic guest experience at an affordable price point. Aloft Adelaide will debut Starwood’s latest mobile, keyless entry system in Australia. The system allows guests to bypass the front desk check in and use their smartphone as a key.

Australian Hotels Association South Australia general manager Ian Horne said the economic benefit of industry growth was two-fold.

“While the building of new hotels firstly means construction jobs, importantly long term hospitality careers are also created,” he said.

“The economic equation that flows from the establishment of accommodation properties is significant and long term through ongoing expenditure of visitors.”