Meet the marketer that’s steering Australia’s first Moxy hotel to success

by Ruth Hogan

First-time general manager Michelle Scott is flexing her sales and marketing skills to bring Marriott International’s ‘Wild Child’ Moxy to life in its first Australian hotel.

Michelle, tell us about the Moxy brand and what makes this hotel different?

This brand has been described by some of our clients who use Marriott globally as Marriott’s Wild Child. Everything we do at Moxy challenges that traditional hotel experience. To start with, check-in is at the bar; every guest who checks in receives a free cocktail.

Michelle Scott, Moxy Sydney Airport

When you walk into this hotel, you’re just greeted with that amazing industrial chic design and Art Deco pops throughout. There’s a lively atmosphere at the bar and that homely feel in the lounge area around the fireplace, so it really does make our guests want to sit down and enjoy the space.

Our rooms are cosy. Additional furniture hangs on the peg wall so it’s not taking up space, and the safe is tucked away under the bed.

What type of traveller does Moxy appeal to?

It’s for the young and the young at heart – it’s more of an attitude than a number – so guests will range from 22 to 82. I was talking to a guest at the bar a few nights ago who was 82 years old, and she was saying that she felt younger just by staying here. it’s great to see people of all ages come together and connect in the social spaces.

How does that ‘playful’ guest experience come to life?

We want to give guests a fun place to stay with those playful touch points throughout – games in the lobby area, Happy Hour every day a DJ on Friday nights. Our team members are encouraged to mingle with guests and challenge them to a game of Skeeball or Jenga.

We work with local and global partners for activations – there’s always something happening. We’ve recently had a Red Bull activation where guests complete a virtual reality game to get a free Red Bull at the bar.

Throughout the bar experience we also have mini activations. For example, at the start of Happy Hour, our guests can ‘spin the wheel’ to win different prizes – it could be anything from a free drink or a free meal to Marriott Bonvoy points.

It’s really about creating an urban lifestyle hotel in the airport precinct.

How is the hotel catering to that airport traveller?

We have our own shuttle bus that runs every half from 5am to 11pm to take guests to the domestic and international airport. And we’re reasonably priced as well.

We have an extended minibar in the lobby with everything from healthy bites and sandwiches to frozen meals that can be heated up for guests who arrive late at night after the kitchen has closed or are leaving in the wee hours of the morning to catch a flight. And we have all the travel essentials that that might need. We also have a stash cupboard on level 4 where guests can help themselves to extra towels, pillows etc.

How is the hotel performing since opening? Are you welcoming a lot of airport travellers?

We do see a lot of Aussies travelling domestically and flying internationally and then quite a few corporates coming in as well domestically, but certainly our international market share has been increasing from day one. We’ve set some high goals in terms of our occupancy level, and we continue to ramp up.

Within the first month of opening, we sold out over the Grand Final weekend, and we have increased month-on-month occupancy since opening. We’ve also recruited some more team members which to me is a real sign of success.