Thursday, November 26, 2009

Invercargill motels buck trend

We love invervargill! 

It is a special place and we were pleased to read a positive upbeat article that appeared in the Southland Times about motel occupancy. 

We note that this is fairly typical of reporting accommodation trade. A local reporter from her desk does a quick phone around to a handful of accommodation providers to gauge a general "feeling" on how things are going. This methodology can give some dubious results, in particular when investigating longer term trends.

We were amused that one newbie motelier was so keen to assist the local paper that she happily disclosed her occupancy rate for October!

Although statistics never tell the full story we note with interest that the Southland Regional Tourism Region's occupancy rate for motels was in fact 2.3% down for the 12-months ending September 2009 compared to the previous year. 

Southland's motels are performing extremely well however when to compared to national trends that recorded an occupancy rate for all motels 7.2% down for the 12-months ending September 2009.

We will be taking special note on how Invercargill will cope with hosting the Student Games early next year;-)

Invercargill motels buck trend
The Southland Times

Moteliers in Invercargill have defied the global economic crisis, with city occupancy rates flourishing.

295 on Tay co-owner Geoff Shepherd said it had been a busy year for motel owners, largely because of the number of events hosted in the city.

Business was booming so much that two additional units had been completed this year, expanding the total number to 30, Mr Shepherd said.

"This is the best year we've had actually. Things seem to be happening down here all the time."

"A lot of people say it's all down to Tim [Shadbolt], but I think it's the Invercargill Licensing Trust really. They funded most of the stadium, the velodrome, the pool.

"They get behind all these events," he said.

The new hockey turf complex at Turnbull Thomson Park had brought both the Chinese and Welsh teams to the motel during the Oceania Cup world qualifier tournament in August, and the velodrome and Tour of Southland had attracted many cyclists. Events such as the annual Burt Munro challenge and the 2010 University Games would also boost occupancy rates, Mr Shepherd said.

Queens Park Motels owner Mark Gane said that occupancy rates were higher than in previous years.

Mr Gane, the Southland branch president of the Motel Association of New Zealand, said most visitors to his motel were not involved with major sporting events because of the motel's location.

However, they're reaping benefits in a roundabout way, he said.

"We seem to get the overflow. Having said that, we still pick up our fair share," he said.

Sue Stewart, who has been co-owner of Birchwood Manor for only 10 weeks, said the number of bookings for the motel's 15 units had been high. Occupancy rates for last month were at the 83 per cent mark, she said.

Bookings for the motel had already been taken for July.

"I'm just amazed how many people are coming through. Anything that's coming up, we just get booked straight away."

Ray Clark, owner of the Tower Lodge Motel, said visitor numbers had increased noticeably in his 2 1/2 years of ownership. There was a combination of reasons for this, he said. "All these events, like the cycling and hockey, help to keep our numbers up," he said. Tower Lodge Motel hosted three teams during the Tour of Southland.

However, there was an unexpected spinoff of the worldwide recession, Mr Clark said.

There had been a noticeable growth in the number of Australian "walk-in" guests. "I think it could be because it's a bit closer to home, rather than going too far away," he said.

"What recession? If this is the recession, keep it coming."

Eleven motels contacted by The Southland Times declined to comment about their occupancy rates.

Source: Click HERE

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