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Politics and Personality

Featured in HM Magazine February 2023 Issue

The Statesman Hotel in Canberra has reopened to the public after a major refurbishment, designed to showcase its 54 years of history in a unique and playful way.

The Statesman General Manager, Kirsty Danks-Brown, spoke to Swisstrade about the refurbishment and the important touchpoints throughout the hotel. 

Australian political history is a great play for a historically well-known hospitality property in Canberra – what would you like to hear and see in a guest’s experience after visiting The Statesman?

We hope our representation is taken with respect but with a tongue-in-cheek ‘cheers’ to all our past or present leaders and parties. Being situated in our nation’s capital, we want to raise a glass in honour of the history of Australian politics and appreciation of the larrikins and personalities that have formed the same. We are a young country but with some seriously fun history, to be celebrated.

How important are guest touchpoints throughout The Statesman, and what products promote that within the hotel rooms?

We are hoping to provide a seamless journey from start to finish at The Statesman. We know our new digital applications and check-in may take some time to be understood and appreciated by our regular guests and guests that are not familiar with the process, however, the intention is to free up the team to be more physically and intentionally present, rather than stuck behind desks plugging away at administration. We want our guests to be able to come and go at their leisure, not our operating hours. We have focused our in-room services on great beds, great Wi-Fi and incredible coffee in the morning from our Ballot Box coffee and bake shop. We are either the first or one of the very few hotels in Australia to offer IPTV, so for a little hotel in Curtin, we have big dreams.

During the industry recovery period, how important was selecting the right OS&E partner with industry experience?

Our OS&E partner, Swisstrade, was of significant relevance to our rebrand and redevelopment. Such a partner needs to understand the final brand deliverables and not over or under-provide for the rooms’ equipment. Given the cost of so many other variables in a refurbishment, being able to have someone who can reliably quote and deliver on time, and more importantly on budget, provides for one less heartache in an otherwise dynamic environment. Moreover, having an OS&E partner that genuinely cared, followed up, sourced and suggested or re-suggested as necessary (with proactivity) is to be appreciated.

The Statesman is a dynamic operation across Food & Beverage and accommodation, how important is selecting the right OS&E brands and product design through a consolidated service provider such as Swisstrade?

Being able to source and purchase from one specialist saved a lot of time and that directly equates to money. Additionally, the theme can be carried from one department to the other via the same supplier as Swisstrade already have the impetus of the brand and can seamlessly articulate this in the delivery to other areas.

Given the complexity, extent and quantity of OS&E items to consider, would you agree that the OS&E category needs to be given more time than initially thought?

It is only in hindsight that we realise the value of choosing the right OS&E – when a mini-bar fridge is not just a mini-bar fridge or selecting the perfect guest amenity such as Leif shampoo, body wash, and conditioner, and not just consumables. This is when the right partner quietly and carefully provides their guidance, as Swisstrade did throughout the OS&E selection process. They got us to the finish line. We appreciate their market knowledge which gave us a clear understanding of what guest touchpoints we needed to emphasise to give us a competitive edge. It was simply refreshing to have bona fide hoteliers by our side along the journey which made what could have been a daunting process, a real joy.

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