Anne Majumdar

Australian corporate travellers bored of generic hotel rooms will now be able to access a wide range of independent and boutique accommodation options around the world under a new deal.

The shift comes as German firm HRS secured a minority shareholding in Sydney-based The Lido Group signalling the start of a new strategic partnership between the two hotel solutions providers.

The tie-up brings together The Lido Group’s inventory of 7,000 hotels across Australia and New Zealand with HRS’ more than 300,000 hotels in 190 countries.

Many of these properties are independent such as bed and breakfasts which are often overlooked in the corporate space.

HRS' Tobias Ragge and Lido's Steve Mackenzie, Sydney 25 May 2016

HRS’ Tobias Ragge and Lido’s Steve Mackenzie, Sydney 25 May 2016

“When you look at the global hotel market’s 450,000 properties, 80% of those are independent hotels,” HRS Chief Executive Tobias Ragge said.

“We’re hoping to introduce independent hotels which trade at a great rate with good quality to the corporate community and which weren’t accessible to them before.”

Family-run HRS, established 44 years ago, now operates in 26 markets. Australia, although always on its agenda, was pushed down the list of priorities due to distance but is now firmly on the agenda, according to Ragge.

“What was missing to our value proposition was Australia because it is the seventh biggest market for business travel and we just didn’t have that base covered. We need to penetrate that market if we want to be a true global leader.”

Tobias Ragge, Chief Executive, HRS

The Lido Group Chief Executive Steve Mackenzie described the two companies as “incredibly alike” with both specialising in “end-to-end” hotel solutions.

Although The Lido Group, which began as a groups and events specialist back in 1987, currently focuses mainly on the government sector, this new deal represents a “very deliberate play” for corporate business, Mackenzie told KarryOn.

“We need to grow corporate exponentially,” he said, adding the shift is mainly due to the contract-based nature of government business.

Although the expanded range of content is expected to be online in the next quarter, other technological and operational enhancements, for example in the area of payment solutions, will be rolled out over the next 12 months.

Mobile was also flagged as a potential area for development with The Lido Group hoping to benefit from HRS’ existing mobile capability.

What do you think about the partnership between HRS and The Lido Group?