Surge for Far North hotels
THE Far North’s hotel sector is on a high as figures show a vast improvement in performance and a solid start to 2016.
According to STR Global data, occupancy at the region’s hotels averaged 68.2 per cent last year, a 5.3 per cent increase, with Cairns hotels leading the way at 83.5 per cent (up 6.9 per cent), one of the best increases in the country.
The average daily room rate in the Far North rose 7.7 per cent to $181.07, nearly $13 more than in 2014. The revenue per available room rate (REVPar) was $123.51, up $14.60 or 13.4 per cent.
Mantra Group marketing executive director Ken Davidson said the industry’s Northern Beaches properties were performing very well in the current financial year with strong occupancies, “giving operators the confidence to drive rate”.
He said the 13.4 per cent REVPar growth was “well in excess of the moderate growth achieved over the last two years of circa 3-4 per cent” with stronger overall yield in the peak season and stronger occupancies in the shoulder season.
Mr Davidson said there was emerging diversity in the Cairns market with new international markets, a developing corporate base and a resurgence of Tropical North Queensland as one of Australia’s favourite leisure playgrounds.
“This is now playing out in the numbers. Again we are seeing burgeoning occupancies and simultaneous rate growth, albeit more constrained. These numbers show that there is more opportunity for rate growth in high season,” he said. “It is great to see all operators driving yield. It shows a collective confidence in the region’s high quality tourism product and the leaders of our industry.”
AccorHotels Pacific chief operating officer Simon McGrath said Accor echoed the STR Global 2015 verdict, with the group’s hotels in Cairns finishing the year with an improvement in occupancies.
“Performance in Cairns remained resilient in 2015 in the face of shifting market conditions across Asia and a lower Australian dollar,” he said.
“Our four hotels (Pullman Reef Casino, Pullman Cairns International, Novotel Cairns Oasis and Cairns Harbour Lights) had a strong finish to the year, achieving 84.8 per cent occupancy which is up by almost 2 per cent.
“Pleasingly, the Cairns market is off to a robust start over January and is primed to remain a favourable destination in 2016 particularly for the China, Japan and US markets.”
Hilton Cairns general manager John Lucas said the region was “certainly seeing a solid return to strong trading with occupancy and the all important yield growing across all sectors of the market”.
“Recent arrival numbers from the Cairns Airport support the increase in business from key markets of China, Japan, UK/Europe and the US,” he said.
“The forecasts for the coming three months look robust with the pending Chinese New Year having been sold out some months ago.”
Mantra PortSea, Port Douglas.