As the World Cup rushes towards us like Sonny Bill Williams with ball in hand – it’s less than 30 days away – here at Travelbug we’ve taken a look at some trends regarding NZ accommodation bookings and some interesting patterns are emerging.
1. Prices are up – say what you like about how properties are pricing their accommodation, the numbers we’re seeing from bookings on Travelbug tell us that travellers are paying more for bookings in September and October this year than they were last year:
And that’s in a year when in general, rates have been coming down. Do we think operators are engaging in that oh-so-provocatively named activity, price gouging? Well, more on that later.
2. Travellers are staying longer, with average booking lengths up from 2.09 days to 2.30 days, again in an environment of general decline in that area. This is great news for operators who tend to extract real margin out of guests only when they’re staying a bit longer than overnight. It is also excellent news for activities and attractions operators because guests who stay longer in a region are likely to need to fill their time with jumps off high things, rides down rivers or trips to watch animals.
3. Demand isn’t up as much as tourism operators would like, at least if you believe the accommodation industry chatter (and it can be hard to decide who to listen to sometimes). Our friends over at the Tourism Industry blog did a poll last week that suggests that many operators aren’t seeing the flood of bookings that was predicted:
4. Kiwis are disorganised as ever and are being, well, frugal. We all know that international visitors are vital to making the World Cup a success and injecting cash into the economy, but Kiwi travellers are just as important. Indications are that not only are New Zealanders slow in booking their accommodation for the World Cup, they are making the most of their networks to save cash on accommodation. We ran a poll over on Trade Me this week, and the results indicate a less-than-enthusiastic attitude towards booking accommodation for the World Cup:
And we ran a deal over on Treat Me last week for an inner-city Auckland hotel got next to no action. Just $145 for non-game nights in Sept/Oct and either no one wanted to commit to booking just yet, or nobody thought it was a good deal (trust me, it was a great deal and is unlikely to get any better).
5. My best tip on booking accommodation is to get in quick. Hotels in particular tend to work on ‘dynamic pricing’ and as rooms fill up, the prices go up. So get in while they have some rooms available and you may get a better rate. We can see the available rooms on Travelbug pretty easily and there are stacks of rooms at good prices, you’ve just got to look in the right places. Try Travelbug’s Secret Sale feature and take a little risk – you only find out the hotel name after you’ve paid. Make sure you look at user reviews – Travelbug has over 15,000 accommodation reviews so you can let other travellers help you out. Lastly, try an accommodation auction on Trade Me – save Travelbug as a favourite seller and watch out for $1 reserve auctions that might work for you for that game you’re going to.
Whatever you do, don’t assume that it will be too expensive and don’t wait too long. Oh, and come on Black!