Mixed for­tunes for hote­liers

The Press - - News - Hos­pi­tal­ity Chris Hutch­ing chris.hutch­ing@stuff.co.nz

A Christchurch ho­tel op­er­a­tor is warn­ing would-be devel­op­ers about a pend­ing glut in vis­i­tor ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Auck­land, Welling­ton and Queen­stown ho­tels are boom­ing, but re­cent oc­cu­pancy fig­ures in the Gar­den City were the low­est for five years, along with the low­est av­er­age room rate for a Septem­ber month since 2010.

The manag­ing di­rec­tor of The Ge­orge Ho­tel, Bruce Gar­rett, echoed re­cent con­cerns of con­sul­tants at Hor­wath HTL who said there was a risk of over-build­ing, even in Auck­land, where oc­cu­pan­cies were more than 80 per cent.

City coun­cil-owned Christchurch Air­port is de­liv­er­ing record num­bers of tourists to Can­ter­bury, but they are by­pass­ing the city and trav­el­ling south, of­ten stay­ing briefly at the air­port Sudima Ho­tel, soon to be com­ple­mented by a new Novo­tel close by.

Welling­ton’s av­er­age ho­tel oc­cu­pancy rate in Septem­ber was about 75 per cent. Christchurch ho­tels were about 66 per­cent based on Tourism In­dus­try Aotearoa fig­ures, while Sta­tis­tics NZ put the fig­ure at 62 per cent.

Oc­cu­pancy rates are re­flected in overnight room rates, which have risen in all main cen­tres ex­cept Christchurch where post-earth­quake re­build­ing pos­si­bly de­tracts from the ex­pe­ri­ence tourists seek.

Since 2014 av­er­age rates have grown by

$48 in Auck­land, $18.50 in Welling­ton and

$76 in Queen­stown. Christchurch rates dropped by $3.70.

Gar­rett said de­mand was soft, whereas ac­com­mo­da­tion providers in places like Methven have told him they have ex­pe­ri­enced strong growth.

While Christchurch Air­port re­ported an­nual growth of 10 per cent in pas­sen­gers, they weren’t show­ing up in the city, he said.

Sta­tis­tics NZ fig­ures con­firmed the num­ber of vis­i­tors to Can­ter­bury was in­creas­ing, with a 13.3 per cent rise in nights spent by do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional tourists in ho­tels, mo­tels, back­pack­ers and hol­i­day parks in Au­gust. The next high­est was in Wanaka.

‘‘With a flurry of new ho­tels about to come on stream over the next year, I forecast Christchurch ho­tel oc­cu­pan­cies and rates will con­tinue to fall un­til there is a fun­da­men­tal shift in vis­i­tor pat­terns.

‘‘They need to see Christchurch is vi­brant and at­trac­tive desti­na­tion rather than just a tran­sit hub.

‘‘The 2020 open­ing of the long-awaited Con­ven­tion Cen­tre will go some ways to­wards this, but in the mean­time, life is go­ing to be tough for not only ho­tels but re­tail­ers, restau­rants, bars, ac­tiv­ity op­er­a­tors and ev­ery­one that does busi­ness with them,’’ Gar­rett said.

Over the past year Christchurch ho­tels sold 200 more room nights or just 0.4 per cent. The ad­di­tion of the 179 room Distinc­tion, with an 8 per cent growth in rooms, saw the rooms sold spread more thinly re­sult­ing in a net 5 per cent drop in oc­cu­pancy, ac­cord­ing to Gar­rett, quot­ing TIA fig­ures.

New ho­tels on the way in the next six months in­cluded the Novo­tel air­port with 200 rooms, a cen­tral city Sudima (88 rooms), CoSa in Colombo (80), and a hand­ful of smaller bou­tique op­er­a­tions un­der con­struc­tion.

City coun­cil pro­mo­tional agency ChristchurchNZ re­cently com­mis­sioned Can­ter­bury re­searchers to look at in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors’ per­cep­tions.

A Christchurch NZ spokes­woman high­lighted sev­eral events for com­ing months – an event with for­mer WBO heavy­weight cham­pion Joseph Parker in De­cem­ber, the Hot Spring T20 Christchurch Black Clash in Jan­uary, World Busker’s Fes­ti­val, singer Phil Collins in Fe­bru­ary, ad­ven­ture rac­ing GOD­Zone in March 2019, and the Tourism Ex­port Coun­cil of New Zealand Tourism Con­fer­ence, in Au­gust 2019.

‘‘With a flurry of new ho­tels about to come on stream over the next year, I forecast Christchurch ho­tel oc­cu­pan­cies and rates will con­tinue to fall un­til there is a fun­da­men­tal shift in vis­i­tor pat­terns.’’ Bruce Gar­rett, manag­ing di­rec­tor of The Ge­orge Ho­tel

The re­cently re­de­vel­oped Distinc­tion Ho­tel in Cathedral Square.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.