With more than 35 years in accommodation and hospitality, Quest Chairman Paul Constantinou is a respected industry leader.
Paul founded Quest in 1988 and has built the business to be the largest serviced apartment group in Australasia. Today, Quest has more than 150 properties operating throughout Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
After gaining a scholarship at Footscray institute, Paul completed a four year diploma course in Catering and Hotel Management which equipped him with the right skills to operate effectively within the industry. When he completed his studies, Paul and his wife managed a number of motels throughout Victoria and also spent some time as an assistant accountant with the Commodore Group. Together with his father, Paul then purchased a hotel in Collingwood and after selling it purchased a restaurant business in Melbourne’s CBD.
By the mid 1980’s, and the age of 30, Paul had an extensive background in owning and operating accommodation and food and beverage businesses. He then conducted a thorough review of the accommodation industry and came to the realisation that it was failing to meet the needs of extended-stay business travellers. This proved to be the catalyst for Quest Serviced Apartments.
Paul realised that to gain market share in the competitive accommodation sector his business model needed to be innovative. He achieved this by developing a unique franchise model, targeting and understanding a niche market and setting aggressive growth targets.
After gaining buy-in from key relationships and financiers, Paul opened “Quest Royal Gardens” in Melbourne in 1988.
Initially competing against established hotels and motels, Paul’s strong and long lasting relationships with Quest’s stakeholders and staying true to the principles on which he founded the business has meant that the Australian serviced apartment industry has emerged as an industry in its own right.
Being a 100% franchise group, Quest has set the benchmark for both the franchising and hospitality industries in Australia with some notable awards including:
- Customer Service Institute of Australia – Australian Service Excellence Award – National Customer Focused Franchise Award (2010)
- Australia and New Zealand Pacific Hotel Investment Conference – Brand of the Year (2009)
- PricewaterhouseCoopers Excellence in Franchising – Service Franchisor of the Year (2007)
Personally, Paul has received a number of awards including:
- The Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Business Excellence Award (2011)
- Hotel Motel and Accommodation Association of Australia – Excellence Awards – Attitude, Commitment, Enthusiasm and Service (2010)
- Ernst & Young, Australian Entrepreneur of the Year – Services (2009)
- Hotel Motel and Accommodation Association of Australia – Chairman’s Award (2005)
One of the benefits of growing the Quest business are the employment opportunities created, particularly in key regional areas where some expansion has occurred in recent years.
These employment opportunities arise both during construction of the purpose-built property and afterwards with franchisees employing, on average, 12 to 15 local staff at each location. Some of these staff eventually become franchisees, and Paul’s greatest satisfaction comes from helping them to realise their dreams and ambitions. Under Paul’s leadership and commitment to family values, Quest and its franchisees contribute to the wider community in a number of ways.
Under the banner ‘Quest for a Cause’, Quest has selected to work with the charity MS Australia to promote awareness of the disease, the charity and the fund-raising activities and events that it hosts. In addition, Quest and its franchisees contribute to and support each local community that Quest operates in.
Paul attributes many of the inherent values evident in Quest’s culture to what he learnt from his father. The key value of relationships, alignment, respect and understanding and personal best ensure that all stakeholders associated with the Quest brand benefit from its continued success.
Paul has continued to maintain his ties with the Footscray Institute, now Victoria University, with the Quest Group providing over the last six years 12 month Co-Operative placements to students. Many often remain with the Quest group once they have graduated.
In broadening his experience outside of the accommodation industry, Paul has been on the board of directors of a Melbourne based bank, Transcomm Credit Union since March 2010