Name: Trent Fraser
Position title: Chief Executive Officer
Company name: Choice Hotels Australasia
When and why did you join the industry?
I joined the hospitality industry when I was 17 years old where I worked in conferencing at the original Canberra Parkroyal. I had an early fascination with hotels ever since I was 7 years old when I travelled with my parents to Europe. Each night when we’d get back to our hotel, just before bedtime, a chocolate would have magically appeared on my pillow! It always stuck with me.
What do you like most about your job?
Working with our amazing team here at Choice Hotels to make our franchisees more successful. Nothing pleases me more than seeing a happy, engaged and successful franchisee in the Choice family making most of the resources available to them.
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
The biggest achievement of my career was being given the great responsibility of leading this wonderful team of people and the privilege to make a really positive difference to many of our licensees and employees.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
A very wise man who shall remain anonymous once told me “things are never as bad as they sometime seem or never as good as they seem”. Perception is everything.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
I admire the New Zealand Prime Minister John Key and the steady influence he and his party have had in the turnaround of the New Zealand economy over recent years. I really like the idea of the Prime Minister also being the Minister for Tourism – we could probably learn something from this in Australia!
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
I expect every one of our team to treat people as they would want to be treated. Respect, Honesty & Integrity are three of our core values. As a pure franchising organisation our sole mission is to deliver more business back into our properties. We stay clear of owning or managing hotels which allows us clear focus on this objective.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Spain & Portugal have been on the list for a while now and I think we may be able to cross them off at the end of this year as my wife and I plan to travel to Europe to sample some Rioja and Pinxto!
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Three years ago I was with my wife in New York City on the way home from a show on Broadway. We stopped at a local Pinkberry yoghurt bar to get some to take away. We lined up in the queue (of almost 30 people) and gave our names to the young lady serving us, paid and went on our way. Three nights later we went back again and after another 15 minute wait in line, the young lady “Melissa” who served us earlier in the week greets us with “Hello Michelle & Trent, welcome back!” – unbelievable.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Patience, sense of humour and my camera.
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
I’d like to travel with Greg Norman (in his private jet) to Augusta National and walk the course with him during the US Masters.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
I think the next 5-10 years will be a very exciting time for our industry. I think we’ll recover strongly from the downturn during the GFC. I suspect the hotel industry may see some rationalisation amongst the big brands as it’s a very congested marketplace at the moment from the consumer’s point of view. Customer service will continue to be a major factor in the level of success a property experiences and therefore recruiting and retaining talent will be super important.