Murray Bridge has received a ‘level up’ thanks to a new $45m hospitality venture.
Story: Christopher Holder
The Bridgeport Hotel is about as conspicuous an endorsement of the future of Murray Bridge as you can possibly get. Effectively, it’s a $45m upgrade of the entire area. In a regional city of some 20,000 people, where it’s traditionally been a struggle to get a decent latté, let alone a world-class full-service hospitality experience, the Bridgeport Hotel looks like it’s landed from outer space.
“Bridgeport Hotel is a real statement,” reckons hotel manager, Ian Muller. “EDP [the developers] is putting a real call out to other investors in the area to say, ‘look, we’ve put our money where our mouth is. You can too. And we can lift the whole area.’ And by doing that Bridgeport becomes an even more valuable asset. Like they say, ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’.”
The results speak for themselves. Bridgeport has enjoyed great occupancy and the F&B options are popular.
“We’ve had some massive clients come through,” enthuses Ian Muller. “Including hotel buyouts for the week. They’ll use Bridgeport as a base to explore everything the region has to offer.”
BUILD IT & YOU WILL TRAIN
‘Build it and they will come’ is a popular aphorism but never one quoted by a manager who needs to staff a significant new hospitality venture in the regions. Getting high quality employees is tough, even in the best of times. Bridgeport partnered with TAFE SA to develop its own training program, and it’s paid off, with the hotel winning awards for its offering. Ian Muller explains: “We knew there were unemployed young people in Murray Bridge and we wanted to be an attractive option for those who wanted to enter the hospitality industry and create a career pathway. So we created a traineeship program with TAFE SA and it’s been overwhelmingly positive.”
BRIDGING THE TECH DIVIDE
Bridgeport is replete with up-to-date technology to cater to the corporate market during the week and the functions market on the weekend. Taking care of the brief was Julian Lockyer from Adelaide’s Xpansionz Electronics. Julian relied on Tannoy installation loudspeakers for background music in public areas. There are 20 zones of audio all up. The speakers are powered by lab.gruppen E-Series installation amplifiers. The two large function spaces feature larger-format Turbosound full-range loudspeakers from the NuQ range with matching subwoofers. There’s more than enough grunt for applications such as live bands and DJs.
A fully-fitted boardroom offers high quality video conferencing. A Biamp Parlé TCM-X pendant mic array provides a low-profile audio solution, picking up only the active participants in the room thanks to a beamforming mic array. A Biamp Modena system takes care of casting content to the main display. More Tannoy loudspeakers provide top-notch audio fidelity for the room. Control is provided by RTI, with a tiny touchpanel providing one-touch control of the room settings. It’s fall-off-a-log easy.
“Conferencing facilities are now a standard requirement,” confirms Ian Muller. “It used to be ‘we need a room this size and we need to make sure we’ve got tea, coffee and muffins’. And now it’s ‘tea, coffee, muffins, high-speed wi-fi, VC and casting options.”