7 questions with … Giovanni Viterale, The Fullerton Hotels & Resorts

COVID presents opportunity to innovate and explore new ways to engage with guests

Sydney’s newest luxury landmark hotel, The Fullerton Hotel Sydney, celebrated its first year anniversary last month with the introduction of new promotions, programs and partnerships. Since its debut in October 2019, The Fullerton Hotel Sydney has become synonymous with warm hospitality and one-of-a-kind flair.

Engagement with guests through new services and heritage programs, introduction of signature Fullerton food and beverage concepts and support for its charity partner, The Girls & Boys Brigade, demonstrate the brand’s desire to connect, inspire and create lasting memories.

LATTE took the opportunity to reconnect with General Manager of The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts, Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, to get an update on the past year.

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Giovanni, congratulations on the first anniversary of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney. What a rollercoaster 12 months! Can you tell us about some of the highlights and how the travel industry has responded to the introduction of the Fullerton name in Sydney and Australia?

Since the launch of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney on 18 October 2019, we have been warmly welcomed by the Australian community with strong forward accommodation bookings, and a busy corporate meeting and social event schedule well into 2022.

The Hotel was recently voted in the top four hotels in Australia and New Zealand in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards 2020. I am also delighted to share that we are ranked the number one hotel in Sydney.

We will continue to cement our position as the leading luxury landmark heritage hotel. Our vision remains to create a destination in itself, bringing this to life through our unique guest experiences. 

Cavaliere Giovanni Viterale, General Manager of The Fullerton Hotels and Resorts | credit: James Alcock

The past eight months have been no doubt tumultuous due to the pandemic. Can you share with me how the Fullerton Hotel Sydney has responded to this unprecedented situation? 

Not long after opening, the global environment was dramatically changed with the coronavirus pandemic. It has altered how we work, how we interact and how we travel. It presented challenges but also an opportunity to innovate and explore new ways to engage with our guests.

We responded by tasking ourselves to become leaders in enhanced health and safety protocols. We have invested significantly in this area especially in the adoption of hospital-grade sanitation technology and equipment. Our team has also received the highest level of ongoing training to effectively monitor and maintain our stringent protocols, including the Australian Government’s COVID-19 Infection Control Training; a hygiene and health certification.

During the lock-down and then the gradual reopening phase, what innovations did the Fullerton Sydney fast track?  

We took the opportunity to fast track the final phase of The Fullerton Hotel Sydney façade remediation program. That includes works to both the General Post Office building’s Clock Tower and the Pitt Street façade now earmarked for completion in January 2021.

On the food and beverage front, we tasked our culinary team to get even more creative; to craft new menus and culinary concepts that could be available through delivery and takeaway and updated menus within our dining venues to ensure a safe and inspiring meal experience.

Have you witnessed an up-tick in business since travel restrictions have eased? Where are guests coming from?

Demand for luxury and experiential travel is very evident – we are well positioned to meet this, bundling special experiences into a number of staycation packages to cater for this demand.

The ongoing global challenges posed by COVID-19 during the first year of operations resulted in us refreshing our accommodation offerings to ensure relevancy and appeal to Sydneysiders. With international travel restrictions in place for the unforeseeable future, we curated packages for domestic and local travellers. We are encouraging Australians to discover the beauty of their own backyard. Our recently launched Love Sydney Package, which offers Sydneysiders a 24-hour staycation, has proved very successful.

We are seeing strong demand from Sydneysiders as well as increased interest from the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and regional NSW. The Fullerton Hotel Sydney offers a holistic value proposition with our strong focus on safety and hygiene together with a variety of room packages to suit every need, including families, couples and corporates.

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney Grand Staircase

What staycation and other packages is Fullerton Sydney offering to entice visits?

We have bundled several special Fullerton experiences into a number of staycation packages, where there is truly something for everyone. For those celebrating something momentous – or simply surviving the year that was 2020 – we have the Celebration Package. The entire family will enjoy the perks of the Family Getaway package, while those seeking something luxurious will find solace in the Luxury Weekends package. The Work From Fullerton package reinvents the working from home principle, offering guests an environment where they can find their most productive self

Our complimentary 90-minute heritage tours, have remained our most popular experience since their inception on 1 November 2019. The tours offer hotel guests and members of the public a unique opportunity to discover the character and history of the building that was once the centre of Sydney’s early working and social life.

The Fullerton Hotel Sydney, Bar

Has the corporate market made a comeback yet? 

With more than 2,400 square-metres of event space, including two spectacular ballrooms, the recent increase to event capacities to meetings and weddings is encouraging. We have captured a number of short-lead events for the remainder of the year with customers seeking a safe, flexible and inspired meeting experience that is able to accommodate the revised restrictions of up to 300 people while abiding to the 4 square-metre rule.

The corporate market is still hindered by the internal and international border restrictions. However we know our customers are eager to travel and connect with their staff and clients and expect to see progress here as soon as the borders are open between NSW and Victoria, one of our strongest supporting markets.

And can you tell us about any new collaborations Fullerton Sydney has developed?

We have partnered with I Prefer the largest independent hotel reward and recognition program to offer two exclusive promotions to I Prefer Members in celebration of our anniversary. I Prefer Members will enjoy 20 percent off dining at The Place, and 20 percent off Afternoon Tea Mondays to Fridays from 18 October to 30 November 2020 and a one-time gift of 2500 bonus points when indulging in one of these limited-time offers.

We have also sought new partnerships and collaboration with Australia retailers to provide one-of-a kind packages and experiences including a new luxurious pampering stay package together with Endota Spa who are located at the Hotel. We also have an exclusive promotion in partnership with Calleija – renowned for their incredible Argyle Pink Diamond creations with John Calleija at the helm – one of the very few Argyle Pink Diamond Select Ateliers internationally, with a $5,000 giveaway. 

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