Quick Q&A: Emma Fraser, Fraser Marketing International

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Emma Fraser, founder of Fraser Marketing International, tells SAN about the creation of the Nesuto aparthotel brand and the plans for its roll out.

• Tell us about your background and how you came to be working with Waldorf/Nesuto?
"Following 20 years in brand marketing across global leading hotels, I moved back to Australia in 2013 and established my own consultancy business in 2016 to deliver B2B and B2C services across hospitality and tourism. Waldorf Apartment Hotel Group was one of my first clients, in which CEO Mark Ronfeldt appointed me to redefine its brand to Nesuto Apartment Hotels through digital assets, marketing and property alignment. Following the 2017 investment by Japan’s Daiwa House (Daiwa Living Management Co. Ltd (DLM)) the investment was a strategic acquisition for DLM to grow within the Australasian market. The specific role commissioned is to create a brand that represented the Japanese heritage and ownership but also to create a fresh, inspiring apartment-hotel brand, with the potential to grow successfully and globally."

• What were the reasons for the rebrand from Waldorf to Nesuto?
"Successfully operating for more than 20 years, Waldorf Apartment Hotel Group has repositioned itself with a strong rebrand to take into the Australasian market. It is set to treble its footprint over the next four years with the potential to grow the portfolio globally. The company has intelligently spent a solid 12 months investing in its infrastructure – technology, staff, policies and procedures to ensure the foundations can support a new brand."

• Why has the rebrand been applied to some but not all the portfolio?
"The full portfolio of 23 properties under Daiwa Living Management umbrella group represents the Waldorf and Nesuto brands. A calculated decision to rebrand immediately 11 of the properties was due to the ease of brand standards and establishing a gradual transitional growth period both internally and externally. Nesuto is continually focused on driving direct bookings, investing in its team and offering a real stay."

• What results are you hoping for, and do you expect the rebrand to raise awareness of the brand and grow the customer base?
"The rebrand was required in order to position a new hotel and apartment hotel brand into the market, with the potential for global growth. The key results we are looking for are most definitely to raise awareness, across both guests and the developer/investor community. A majority of the original Waldorf team members were long standing employees and love their jobs. It was extremely important to ensure engagement and empowerment of the team was the golden thread in this brand journey. My motto has always been 'branding begins within, the entire business has to create the brand story and go on the journey together'."

"Nesuto proudly supports empowerment and encourages its team members to 'make the call' on their business decisions that impact a guest's stay, the success of this is already evident in the team feedback and across guest reviews. The rebrand was a great development opportunity, we now have a distinct brand to sell into developers and investors. It is about building up awareness of the Nesuto Group powerhouse, as a successful hotel and apartment-hotel management company. The business is dedicated to supporting the investment of owners, continually delivering on its core focus and investor promise - profit and value. Nesuto nurtures investor returns by providing years of global experience and insight, a strong operational structure and solid foundation for successful growth and yields. Growing the portfolio essentially means higher brand awareness, more guests and optimal returns."

• How does developing a concept for a serviced apartment/aparthotel differ from a regular hotel?
"The concept is very much around the space, comfort and convenience of apartment living. Nesuto is the Japanese pronunciation of Nest – this is the concept we wanted to create, designing a welcoming space for guests, essentially your nest when travelling. A place for a guest to stay is very similar, whether designing a hotel or designing an apartment hotel. In my mind, the hotel concept is more about the “traditional” hotel service - 24-hour reception, a restaurant to enjoy breakfast in and concierge services as a minimum. Sometimes a guest wants more than just a room to sleep in, they want to be able to work from there, hold meetings in their living area, have friends or family over for dinner, or breakfast (with no set times to eat), the laundry is a welcome element enabling cost saving on washing and ironing, and guests want to explore the local area themselves, and lastly the space of an apartment hotel is always a winning factor.

"We knew from the early stages of the brand discovery phase that this brand should focus on its team and truly position itself as a 'real' brand. No bells and whistles, no pretence just genuine service, warm smiles and a real welcome. Some of the properties in the Nesuto portfolio also offer meetings and events, these spaces have been designed to create spaces in which to meet, work and play, rather than the traditional MICE positioning. Creating an apartment hotel brand allows key 'living' messages to be played out – Nesuto and its team are your companion when travelling, creating everything you need including space, a kitchen and a laundry. Each property reflects the local neighbourhood and we encourage guests to explore the local area. An apartment hotel brand differs because we can combine the freedom of apartment living with the benefits of a hotel service."

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