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2009 better than expected for Auckland - Hotel Council

Auckland had the highest hotel occupancy rate last year, followed by Wellington and Christchurch, according to the New Zealand Hotel Council's (NZHC) annual operating survey.NZHC said Auckland hotels came through a difficult year and were well placed to i

Andrea Deuchrass
Wed, 10 Mar 2010

Auckland had the highest hotel occupancy rate last year, followed by Wellington and Christchurch, according to the New Zealand Hotel Council’s (NZHC) annual operating survey.

NZHC said Auckland hotels came through a difficult year and were well placed to improve performance.

Auckland had a 69.7% occupancy rate, followed by Wellington (69.4%) and Christchurch (68.3%).

The Australian and domestic market proved important in a year dominated by last minute bookings, a drop in the long haul market due to the global recession and the impact of the H1N1 influenza (swine flu).

Kiwis accounted for 51.1% of all hotel rooms sold in 2009, followed by Australians (18.6%).

In Auckland, 49.5% of rooms last year were sold to New Zealanders, followed by Australians (16.1%).

The highest average room rate was in Wellington, at $142.90, while Auckland was third out of the eight regions at $133.40. The average rate across the country for a five-star hotel was $177.70. Four-star was $117.70 and three-star was $87.70.

Independent or leisure travelers accounted for 44.6% of all rooms sold, followed by corporate (20.2%) and tour groups (17.1%).

Bookings were split fairly evenly across short-term (made up to seven days before arrival) to long-term (made more than 30 days before arrival). On average, 34% of bookings were short-term, 36% were medium term and 30% were long-term.

C&I, business market affects Auckland
Hotel Council independent chairwoman Jenny Langley said Auckland hotels, whose average room rates dropped by 8.8% compared to a 5.7% national average, mostly depended on independent and leisure travellers, followed by corporate guests, tours and groups.

“Overall this is a useful ‘portfolio’ in that there is no one visitor segment that dominates and exposes this region in a downturn.

“However, there’s no doubt that the reduction in the conference and incentives market and less face-to-face business compared to previous years, impacted on performance.”

She said the NZHC had 31 Auckland members, which generated $323 million in revenue in 2009, from almost 6200 rooms. Auckland members employed 3440 people and contributed $225 million to the region through wages and salaries, food and beverage purchases, rates and other spending.

Hotels managed to contain or in some cases reduce operating costs in spite of CPI and minimum wage increases.

She said hotels were well placed to pick up this year – essentially because the Rugby World Cup 2011 was firmly in their sights, along with competition from new hotels and other accommodation.

The Hotel Council has more than 120 members, equating to about 80% of hotel capacity and almost all of the country’s large hotels and international chains.

Andrea Deuchrass
Wed, 10 Mar 2010
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2009 better than expected for Auckland - Hotel Council
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