In Marketing by Clyde Mooney

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As Solotel prepares for major initiatives in the latter half of the year, PubTIC speaks with high-profile agency man Dan Lacaze, who has been engaged as Solotel’s first Group Marketing Director.

Bruce Solomon and Matt Moran’s Solotel has come to boast 30 brands in hospitality, incorporating some of Australia’s best-known hotels and restaurants. Before the end of the year the group will launch its 3-storey free-standing bar restaurant in Barangaroo, and two-storey pub-café in a heritage-listed house in Brisbane.

Joining the group from creative agency BMF, which embraces the virtues of ‘long ideas’ that are “baked into the brand to create experiences, not simply stories”, Lacaze was client services director for icons such as ALDI, Sportsbet, A-League and Dulux.

He says he’s excited by the opportunity to join the successful and growing operation, to be responsible for building digital, customer and marketing capability, and was struck by Bruce and Matt’s passion and entrepreneurialism.

Speaking with PubTIC, Lacaze gave his assessment of the operation’s virtues, and where he can provide valuable input.

Dan Lacaze

“I think the real strength of Solotel is the diversity of our people. Matt and Bruce really encourage individuality and our venue teams are empowered to own and shape their brand experience. That way the venue is authentic and tailored for the locals.

“Where we are doing some really interesting work is defining who we are as a group for our 1700+ staff. This includes our brand purpose and our three key values, which are a really important tool to articulate how strong our culture lives within the group, and how connected the teams are behind the scenes. It will also help us tell our story to our partners and suppliers in a much richer way.”

As well as the new venues, the group is also gearing up to launch its expanded ‘events by ARIA’ business, to be known as Together with Solotel, employing specialist event creatives, designers and producers.

Lacaze says the portfolio has been segmented into ‘channels’, such as Creative Culture, incorporating venues such as The Bank, The Marlborough Hotel, GOROS and The Darlo Bar, and Signature Dining, featuring the more intimate Aria and Chiswick.

Each channel will enjoy its own mix of marketing strategies, publicity and social media, but Lacaze believes that old-fashioned hospitality is still king.

“Our most important channel to engage our guests is our venues. The experiences they have with our staff are really critical, and where we see the most success is when we have strong, cohesive teams having fun at work with the locals.

“There is a real authenticity to that.”

Solotel COO Justine Baker echoes Lacaze on the group’s asset of diversity, and believes he will add a unique creative flavour to the mix.

“We made a decision to upskill our team, and re-focus on our customers. We’re really looking forward to Dan joining the family at such an exciting time.”