Thursday, May 5, 2011

Guest Nights Fall in February

We've been a bit sidetracked with the day-job and see that the the latest accommodation survey results for February 2011 were released a few days ago by Statistics New Zealand.

Guest night stats for commercial accommodation are generally released six (or so) weeks after the reporting month and it looks like it may take a little longer for Statistics New Zealand’s Christchurch operations to get back into their usual routine following the February earthquake. 

Guest nights fell 1.5 percent in February 2011 compared with February 2010 and this result has been largely influenced by figures from Canterbury. The region returned significantly lower response rates from accommodation providers due to the earthquake on 22 February 2011 and Statistics New Zealand have stated that these stats should be viewed with caution.

In the battle of the two islands, the North Island recorded a modest 1 percent increase in guest nights while not surprisingly the South Island achieved a 4.6 percent decrease in February 2011 compared to February 2010.

Seven out of the 12 regions recorded fewer guest nights in February 2011 than in February 2010.

The regions showing the largest decreases were:
  • Canterbury, down 14 percent
  • Northland, down 6.4 percent
  • Southland, down 8.9 percent.
The regions recording the largest increases were: 
  • Auckland, up 6.1 percent
  • Otago, up 5.4 percent.
We note with interest that this is the seventh consecutive month that Auckland has had the largest regional guest night rise compared with the same month of the previous year. These rises were due largely to more domestic guest nights in hotels.

International visitor guest nights across New Zealand in February 2011 decreased by 4 percent compared with February 2010. 

It was good to see Kiwis holding firm with domestic guest nights by recording an increase of 1 percent in February 2011 compared with February 2010. 

The allocation of guest nights between the accommodation sectors is always interesting to follow and it is significant that February 2011 was the month when the hotel sector surprisingly didn't record a gain in guest nights after achieving increases in 14 consecutive months prior. 

All four accommodation types had fewer guest nights in February 2011 than in February 2010:
  • Backpackers, down 3.3 percent
  • Holiday parks, down 2.1 percent
  • Hotels, down 0.9 percent
  • Motels, down 0.9 percent
Hotels achieved the highest occupancy rate (69 percent) of all the accommodation types in February 2011, followed by motels (64 percent), and backpackers (56 percent). 

The year is now well under way and accommodation providers are nervously counting-down to the Rugby World Cup. This event will dramatically disrupt historical trading patterns and it will be interesting to discover where guest nights will be lost and gained.

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