Hotel fast-tracks upgrades for Tasmania tourism boom

26 March 2014


Hobart’s shortage of upgraded accommodation and events venues has prompted one central Hobart hotel to fast-track its first round of refurbishments. Business owners, event organisers, families and newly engaged couples are invited to a public open day at Best Western Hobart (156 Bathurst Street, Hobart) on Sunday 6 April to tour its upgraded conference spaces and new restaurant.

Between 9am and 3pm, attendees can enjoy sampling local wines and free pizzas from Ember’s Bar-Pizza-Grill, open seven days to guests and the public. There will be prizes to win throughout the day, with a major accommodation prize to the value of $500 drawn at 3pm.

Liz Gifford, Sales and Marketing Manager at Best Western Hobart said to cater for inbound tourism and events in Hobart, the hotel’s conference and restaurant spaces became priority upgrades with soft refurbishments to the 140 guest rooms and building exterior due to follow.

“We needed to complete the first round of our three-phase refurbishment by April, to get ready for MONA’s Dark Mofo in June and local conferences around the city in August,” Ms Gifford said.

“Hobart’s newest wood-fired pizza restaurant, Ember’s Bar-Pizza-Grill is now taking bookings and the menu features locally sourced produce and wine from vineyards including the Tamar Valley.”

Wedding and exhibition organisers are keen to see the hotel’s biggest events space, the Goulburn Room, after Best Western Hobart exhibited at the Hobart Bridal Expo earlier this month.

“Our biggest conference room can host up to 300 people for weddings, conferences and special events,” Ms Gifford said.

With Tasmania’s tourism portfolio now being considered by newly elected Premier Will Hodgman, all Tasmanian accommodation operators should expect higher occupancy if last year’s rising visitor numbers continue on trend.

Rob Anderson, Best Western Australasia Chief Executive said Best Western is committed to brand expansion in Tasmania.

“As a tourism destination, Tasmania hosts arguably some of Australia’s finest cultural events and iconic attractions, including MONA, the historic Port Arthur site and beautiful Cradle Mountain.

“Rising interest in Tasmania as a tourism destination now places greater demand on Hobart to provide more all-in-one accommodation and conferencing options.

“Best Western Hobart will play a significant part in helping deliver this solution for the city. Although the first phase of refurbishments are complete, there are still soft refurbishments to all 140 guest rooms and bathrooms due to be completed by the end of 2014,” he said.

Meanwhile, upgrades have begun at the 116-room Best Western Plus Launceston in Northern Tasmania, which also joined the hotel group with Best Western Hobart in August 2013.

“Right now, there’s a new Tasmanian government and the Australian dollar is low. It’s a good opportunity for hotel groups to look at new properties entering the market that are well placed for people travelling between city areas and regions over the next three years,” Mr Anderson said.

For the year ending March 2013, Tourism Tasmania reported a record 931,100 visitors to Tasmania, up 10 per cent from 845,800 on the previous year.

This growth supports the increase in overall booking revenue recorded by Best Western’s Tasmanian hotels recorded during the hotel group’s annual short breaks promotion.

From 1 October to 11 November 2013, Hobart and Launceston hotels reported the most bookings out of Best Western Hobart, Best Western Plus Launceston and Best Western Balmoral Motor Inn in Glenorchy compared to all of Best Western’s 180 hotels, apartments and resorts in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.

“If these trends are anything to go on, hotels will continuously need to keep upgrading their product and delivering superior customer care to continue accommodating more people coming to Tasmania for work and for play,” Mr Anderson said.

Best Western has hotels in Bicheno, Burnie, Hobart, Glenorchy, Lauderdale, Launceston and Ulverstone. Find out more at