AccomProperties NewsManagementManagement RightsNewsNews In Brief

Young ideas in a wealth of experience

Exclusive interview: Grantlee Kieza talks with Chris de Closey on becoming a driving force for innovation in the management rights industry

At just 31 Chris de Closey, a father of two, is becoming a driving force for innovation in the management rights industry.

The accommodation entrepreneur’s company, Switch Hotel Solutions, employs ten people and has almost 60 clients stretching across the length and breadth of Australia.

This article was originally published in Resort News – subscribe HERE

He says he aims to provide resident managers with the best professional support at an affordable price so that they can dramatically grow their business through strategic marketing campaigns and the assistance from relief staff.

What’s your background in the accommodation and property sector?

I started with a school-backed traineeship at the Twin Towns Resort at Coolangatta when I was in Years 11 and 12. It was actually a school subject for me, so I’d do one class at school and then leave for Twin Towns at 10 in the morning to spend the day there. I thought it was the best thing ever. It taught me all about management rights from a young age, and I’d get paid to take a day off school.

The new summer print edition of AccomNews is available now. Read it HERE

That was a good grounding in the industry?

Yes. Outrigger Twin Towns was a 350-room letting pool management rights property when I was there. My background has always been management rights rather than hotels. So I have a very good understanding of how management rights work and how to step into it. I was with Twin Towns for six and a bit years including two years through the end of school. I got a Cert 4 in hospitality and then a Bachelor of Tourism while I was working at Twin Towns. I then made the jump to work for Mantra six months before they bought Outrigger. I was at Mantra for two and a half years and while I was there I gained my master’s degree with an MBA from the Australian Institute of Business.

I had another job lined up at another property but one of my old friends from Outrigger was the area manager on the Gold Coast for Expedia and he said, “why don’t you come and work with me?” I moved to Expedia and was there for another couple of years.

Chris with wife Lisa and son Tommy and daughter Pippa

Was all of this work based on the Gold Coast?

Yes, except for a month or so in New Zealand when I was working for Mantra. At Expedia I was looking after the whole area from the Gold Coast down to Yamba, as a market manager.

Then I saw these guys doing consultant work at some of the properties – revenue, marketing, and sales consulting – and I knew I could do it better. I knew there were a lot of people in hotels and management rights who were coming into the business needing assistance and I knew that I could provide it at a better price. So, a month before I got married I quit my job at Expedia and started my business Switch Hotel Solutions. That was in September 2019.

Things grew quickly?

Yes. We started with a couple of clients and we now have almost 60 from as far north as Townsville, as far south as Phillip Island and as far west as Kununurra in Western Australia.

It covers pretty much the length and breadth of the country. We’re not in Perth or Tasmania yet, but we will be eventually.

What services do you provide?

We provide outsourced support for hotels, motels and resorts, focusing on sales, marketing and revenue. We run marketing campaigns, we do their sales representation for them. We might go and negotiate a deal for luxury escapes for example. We also develop revenue strategies for our clients and we help set up their revenue strategies. At the moment our niche is small scale management rights and what we’re finding is that within this space a lot of people come in and they have to be the jack of all trades. They do the gardens, do reception, sometimes they clean – they do everything.

The revenue, sales and marketing space now requires quite a niche understanding to make sure you get it right. If you get it wrong, you can potentially cost your business a lot of money.

What we find is a lot of these mum-and-dad operators and the small-scale management rights operators will give us the reins to help them take control of their business.

We develop all the strategies needed to ensure that they are going to have the best representation in terms of the best bookings, the best marketing campaigns, and the best sales representation that is suited to their business.

What about relief staff?

We have a management package that we can offer to clients where we will run the business for them. We are looking to make more of a move into relief and we do have a couple of relief managers lined up. It’s a constant problem for small-scale operators to find time to take a break, especially if they’re new to the business and they haven’t got that support network established already.

How have you turned businesses around with your campaigns?

Without giving you the names of the properties, we’ve had instances of managers coming to us after having bought management rights. They’ve asked us to take over the reins and we’ve doubled revenue, and then we’ve doubled it again the next year. It’s what we do and what we do well. We’re very good at generating revenue growth for clients and in terms of cost we do it with a very cost-effective scenario. We have different packages to suit people and we are very transparent with clients.

We don’t lock anybody in. Everything we do is month to month so that way, customers can have an understanding that we must make sure that we are going to perform for them every single month and meet all our obligations of working together.

Have you found that new people in management rights have been crying out for help?

Yes, we find that they are looking for support. They come in with so much on their plate and learning on the go, we are here to help them through that process. I’ve got that background in management rights. I understand it. I also walk the walk in it because I own a couple of management rights myself – on the Gold Coast and at Yeppoon. I’ve also got a couple of short-term letting businesses as well, so I know the business back to front and how to get the best out of their businesses. We can guide them through all aspects of the business, and we often find ourselves offering support for a wide variety of scenarios for our clients.

Switch Hotel Solutions team at The Best of Tourism Awards Annual Gala 2023

You have ten people working with you, do they have a similar background in property?

We’ve got teams focusing on different aspects of what we offer. We’ve got a marketing team, a social media team and a revenue team. We’ve got an operations team that can help with the running of things, and we’ve got accounts and administration that can help with that, too. We do have a wide variety of support and each person is working towards the main goal of generating more bookings for our clients and providing a high quality of support.

Management rights has been under fire a little bit lately with threats to cut terms and other legislation. You must think the industry still has a big future?

Yes, I think the industry is going to continue growing. Management rights is always going to have a place in the market. There will always be a need for it because there will always be people who need to have their properties looked after. I think what is going to continue to happen is that the good operators who choose to make good business decisions such as hiring consultants will continue to flourish. Over the last 10 to 15 years there’s been a real sophistication of management rights. Good operators are going to continue to grow.

Our aim at Switch Hotel Solutions is to ensure that managers and operators can get the best professional support possible and at an affordable price. But it’s also having someone who is in the business and who knows the business giving that advice and assistance. We’re not just sitting here telling operators this is the way that it should be because that’s what we think, we’re doing it because we know the solutions that we offer work and they’ve worked for us in our business and across several scenarios. We like to undercharge for the value we bring and over-deliver with the best service possible.

We want to ensure that the management rights business flourishes, for our clients and our business as well.

You’ve also got a young family to keep you busy away from work?

My wife Lisa and I have a two-and-a-half-year-old son named Tommy and a little girl named Pippa who is just 16 weeks. They’re fantastic. I feel very blessed.

Chris de Closey is a speaker at Strive To Thrive in Melbourne from March 20- 21 – Get your tickets HERE

Related Articles

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
WP Tumblr Auto Publish Powered By :
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x