In General Business by Clyde Mooney

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As the pub sector shows no sign of slowing, “pent up demand” identifying opportunity and driving values, Knight Frank is ramping up its hotels division, led by old hand Mike Wheatley and new blood.

Headquartered in London and operating 413 offices across 60 countries, Knight Frank LLP (KF) enjoys a global perspective and offers consultancy for a broad range of asset classes, on “the world’s most desirable properties”.

KF’s Australian hotels division is headed up by industry veteran Mike Wheatley, who boasts more than 30 years’ experience in the game.

Kate MacDonald has spent the past five years with PKF Accounting, working with the development of a cutting-edge cloud platform that has benefited more than 100 NSW pubs. She has previously worked directly with managing several pub and hospitality operations in Sydney.

In a seller’s market transacting often sophisticated modern offerings, KF has been seeking the right person to be part of plans for its hotel team, and hopes MacDonald will complement the experience and market depth of Wheatley.

“Ms MacDonald is a proven industry leader who demonstrates all the key traits of being a very successful agent, and we are confident that her strong relationship base will assist growing this area of the business and add value to our clients across the board,” reports KF managing director, Richard Horne.

Noting the relentless growth of gaming throughout the industry and stable low interest rates like he has not seen before, Wheatley says buyers are largely driving the market.

“There’s pent-up demand. We need to be aware how many publicans who in the past may have been single or maybe dual owners, now have substantial portfolios and always looking to expand – but most importantly, rarely sell.

“We should also take into account the number of high-quality hotels tightly held by corporates such as ALH.

“In short, it’s the age-old story of supply and demand. A good, apparently stable product with all the cash flow benefits and numerous quality purchasers.”

Kate MacDonald & Mike Wheatley