Australia’s capital city hotel markets are on the way up, albeit with a long way to go.
A new global index created by hotel tech company SiteMinder shows booking activity doubled over May as travel restrictions were eased and Australians prepare to venture out.
As of May 23, hotel bookings had clawed their way to almost a third of the level they were at a year ago, outperforming a smaller rise globally.
Canberra, which has just three active COVID-19 cases, showed the biggest spike in bookings in May (to 33 per cent) followed by Perth, according to the SiteMinder Word Hotel Index.
Sydney enjoyed solid gains over each successive week in May, while Brisbane and Melbourne had less pronounced increases but still rose steadily.
Karen Wales, director of hotel transaction services at Colliers International which released the data as part of its Australian Hotel Markets Performance Dashboard report, said Canberra had benefited from the return of the government market, with the first parliamentary sitting in mid-May as well the ACT’s policy of keeping its borders with NSW and Victoria open.
Ms Wales said the Perth hotel market was “a little bit ahead” because fly-in, fly-out workers were forced to stay in Perth on their week off due to the closure of WA’s borders.
Ms Wales said the weaker rebound in Melbourne was likely due to the Victorian state government taking a more cautious approach to reopening, while Brisbane was suffering from a lack of interstate travel due to Queensland borders remaining shut.
Among the secondary markets, the Gold Coast and Adelaide rose strongly with only small weekly jumps recorded in Darwin, Cairns and Hobart, where booking levels remain very weak.
According to the index, which is based on data from the 35,000 hotels which use SiteMinder’s platform, global hotel bookings increased from 12 per cent of 2019 levels at the start of the month to 22 per cent by Saturday, May 23, whereas Australian bookings increased to 30 per cent, up from 15 per cent.
“New Zealand and Australia are leading the global recovery in hotel bookings and the gap is expected to widen as each state starts to relax social distancing measures over the coming month,” said Colliers International.
The release of the index follows Accor Australia boss Simon McGrath telling a Tourism Australia webinar that bookings across the country’s biggest hotel group were finally exceeding cancellations.
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