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 dedicated to tourism and accommodation property.
2020 will mark 35 years since this indomitable ‘glass-half-full’ sales dynamo ‘crossed the ditch’ to launch ResortBrokers. It was Ian’s keen eye for opportunity that brought him to Australia from New Zealand in 1985. Earlier, he had worked in stock and station agencies, established a successful motel brokerage based in Tauranga, and owned and operated a few motels with wife Karin.
Business went well, thanks to Ian’s relentless effort and discipline. He would drive 2000 kilometres a week, knocking on just about every motel door across Queensland and most of NSW. “I knew virtually every motel. 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 wasn’t all that set him apart. He applied the same meticulous approach to introduce motel leases to Australia. He vividly remembers the first motel lease he set up, the 17-unit Mary Ellen Motel, in Ipswich, just west of Brisbane. 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, willingness to take a calculated risk, the ability to learn from your mistakes and to think outside the box. “There’s always more than one way to do a deal,” he says.
Ian looks forward with confidence, saying accommodation properties remain very strong investments. “The motel business is outstanding. If you were able 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 – help people enjoy a great lifestyle and financial security through the accommodation industry.”
And finally, no profile of Ian would be complete without highlighting his passion for Rugby. Even after all these years in Australia, he still proudly supports the All Blacks.
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There is momentum and positive signs in the accommodation market
Our Gold Coast and northern NSW Specialist Greg James is joined by ResortBrokers’ founder and Chairman Ian Crooks and they unpack the detail on how coronavirus has affected this market against a backdrop of high enquiry levels.