Schwartz wants Airbnb evicted from Hilton

Hotel tycoon Jerry Schwartz has taken ownership of the five-star Hilton Surfers Paradise – and wants to restore its reputation by kicking out Airbnb.

Dr Schwartz, Australia’s largest private hotel operator, settled on the $70 million Gold Coast property this week and is planning a multi-million-dollar overhaul of its public spaces and 169 hotel rooms.

The Hilton also comprises some 500 privately-owned residential units, but just 150 remain in the official Hilton Residences letting pool as owners opt to rent them out through private operators like Airbnb.

Dr Schwartz says the exodus of owners from the official pool had led to a reduced standard of accommodation within units, damaging the hotel’s reputation, and is offering to subsidise renovations for those who return to the fold.

[pro_ad_display_adzone id=”37778″ align=”left” padding=”20″]He told the Gold Coast Bulletin he would induce owners to remain with, or return to, the official Hilton Residences pool by offering heavily-discounted furniture, carpet and fitting upgrades in their private apartments.

“I certainly will be upgrading the hotel, so at the same time it would be really good to do some work on the units that are associated with the hotel,” he said.

“I want to entice the owners to upgrade their units at half the cost it would be if they wanted to do it themselves.”

Dr Schwartz acknowledged many unit owners had paid ‘top dollar’ when they bought into the Hilton and said he understood the desire to maximise returns.

“Because Hilton has a high standard of quality of the rooms, and the cost of maintaining the rooms, owners have looked elsewhere to make their revenue,” he said.

“Airbnb and other management companies competed for the Hilton pool and quite a lot of owners left.

“I want to stop more owners from leaving and try to lure those who have left back to the Hilton pool.

“I want to add value to owners for their unit being a Hilton Residence, rather than an apartment that is based at the Hilton.”

Dr Schwartz, a cosmetic surgeon, owns 14 hotels across NSW, the ACT and Victoria, including Four Points by Sheraton Sydney Central Park. The Hilton is his first foray into the Queensland market.

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Jeff Berwick
Jeff Berwick
5 years ago

Yeh good luck with that incentive Jerry. It’s destined to flop like the rest of that development. There is only one way to get those apartments back into the pool & they don’t have the faith in their ability to turn that dump around, to do it.

Nick Israel
Nick Israel
5 years ago

This purchase is that much needed spark for Hilton Residences and given Jerry Schwartz’s success in the hotel space that he has invested in, coupled with his astute understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of Hilton Surfers Paradise especially its minimalist design and lack of product ambiance, the Hotel Management and Team members will benefit from Jerry’s positive thoughts, flexible style and further investment. In turn the Residence Pool Owners should appreciate and benefit from this much needed influence. A warm make over can be expected at one of the Gold Coast best located hotel with a brand that is powerful…..NHI.

Mike Butler
5 years ago

Today I read Mr Schwartz’s comments to a hotel conference where he admonished his fellow hotel owners for discounting their room rates. He was advising them to hold their rates up! Why have these comments not attracted the attention of the regulators? Why is this not cartel behaviour in the eyes of the regulators?

I am a real estate agent. If I went to a real estate conference and implored my fellow agents to hold their commission rates up, I would be jumped upon by the regulators immediately and fined many thousands of dollars for promoting price fixing!

What is the difference for Mr. Schwartz?

Reply to  Mike Butler
5 years ago

The difference being that air B&b owners are selling their apartments for fifty eight dollars in your same establishment in direct competition to your management rights, whilst you process a variety of behaviour.s. Is this what you would expect your business to do? Should it not maintain reasonable value and proper service as a result?

Nick Israel
Nick Israel
5 years ago

Well Mike firstly hoteliers have a propensity to panic when the market softens which is happening now and for as long as I have been in the business the end game is to maintain rate integrity. Once one or two operators start serious discounting the rest follow and everyone is then a loser. Jerry Schwartz’s input to the conference participants is a reminder message to minimize discounting strategies as the market is attuned to current rate levels.

Secondly, I doubt Regulators would be interested in that comment whereby if the Regulators were on top of their game the likes of Airbnb and Uber would have had to comply to regulatory governance, impost protocols and prevented from bypassing the checks and balances that hotel operators and taxi companies are subjected to like good corporate citizens. And yes I’ve noted that some real estate agents are more flexible with their commission rates, why, perhaps it is a softening market…….NHI

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