Despite a tough economic year, which saw a significant decline in hotel room rates and occupancies, it looks like it could be a “very merry Christmas” for many travel and tourism operators throughout Australia.
Many hoteliers are saying the market is already in the early stages of a rebound, others are urging caution and believe there are still uncertain times ahead. Either way, there is a general consensus that the recovery will be a long, slow process after a tough 12 months.
George Bedwani, Chief Operating Officer of Metro Hospitality Group said that while it is still too early to tell if the travel and tourism sector has rebounded for good, early indications suggest it has certainly turned the corner and the immediate future is looking very promising.
“Advanced bookings at Metro’s 16 properties throughout Australia for the months of December and January are very strong,” Mr Bedwani said. “Christmas and New Year’s Eve look particularly strong especially in Sydney, to the extent where it could be our busiest one yet.”
The arrival of the inaugural Telstra 500 V8 Supercars event has seen almost every hotel room in Sydney full, with occupancy rates 18 per cent above where they were for the same period in December 2008.
Metro Hotel’s five Sydney properties have all increased occupancies to over 85% with one CBD property experiencing 16 nights of 100% occupancy during the month of November.
In Perth, the newly refurbished Metro Hotel Perth is enjoying occupancies around 80% and average rates have increased by up to 20% on previous years.
According to Mr Bedwani, Melbourne is still a confident and busy market. “Although growth in rates is not as great as in other capital cities due to the large amount of inventory available, there is an increasingly steady flow of corporate and leisure visitors to the city, ensuring the year will finish strongly.
“People are keen to have an enjoyable and relaxing end to what has been a very challenging and stressful year due to global financial crisis.”