Ian  Crooks
"I started ResortBrokers in 1985, and my enthusiasm for the accommodation industry is stronger than ever. It’s so satisfying helping people buy an accommodation business that enables them to be their own boss, achieve financial security and enjoy a great lifestyle in the process."

Ian Crooks is ResortBrokers founder and chairman.

This year marks 38 years since this indomitable “glass half full” sales dynamo crossed the Tasman to launch ResortBrokers in 1985.

It was Ian’s keen eye for opportunity that brought him to Australia from New Zealand. Earlier, he had worked in stock and station agencies, established a successful motel brokerage in Tauranga, and owned and operated several motels with wife Karin.

ResortBrokers went well, thanks to Ian’s relentless effort and discipline. He would drive 2,000 kilometres a week, knocking on just about every motel door across Queensland and most of NSW.

“I knew virtually every motel,” he says. “Someone would mention a town and I could tell them all the motels there, how many rooms they had, how big the manager’s residence was. I gathered every bit of information I could and memorised it.”

Ian’s exhaustive knowledge was one thing, but it was his trailblazing nature that set him apart. When Ian first started out, the vast majority of motel owners operated freehold going concerns. Ian pioneered the hotel leasehold concept which split the leasehold from the freehold. Ian vividly remembers the first motel lease he set up, the 17-unit Mary Ellen Motel in Ipswich west of Brisbane.

The innovation significantly broadened the number of operators who could afford to buy an accommodation business. Today, thanks largely to Ian, more than 70 per cent of Australia’s motels are split into active leasehold and passive freehold investment components.

Ian still puts great store in the qualities that have driven his entire working life: hard work, a willingness to take a calculated risk, the ability to learn from mistakes and thinking outside the box.

“There’s always more than one way to do a deal,” he says.

After 38 years in the industry, Ian says accommodation properties and businesses remain very strong investments.

“The motel business is outstanding. Even if you needed to borrow 100 per cent to buy one, you could pay it off in 10 years and still enjoy a very comfortable lifestyle along the way. Management rights are no different. That’s the essence of what we do. We help people enjoy a great lifestyle and financial security through the accommodation industry.”

Ian’s leadership in the management rights space was acknowledged in 2023 when he was made a Life Member of ARAMA, the industry’s peak body.

Asked for words to describe Ian, those who know him will almost always come up with “enthusiastic” and “energetic”. These are the signature characteristics of an industry veteran who revolutionised motel investment in Australia and built a market-leading agency specialising in accommodation properties and businesses.

Today, ResortBrokers is a proud second-generation family business led by Ian’s daughter Trudy as managing director. Ian’s daughter Carla, her husband Alex, and Ian’s son Tim are also directors.

Finally, no profile of Ian would be complete without mentioning his lifelong passion for rugby. Even after all these years in Australia, he still proudly supports the All Blacks.

Ian ’s Listings
Are we friends yet?
Follow me ...