A strong presence in Australia, filming of The Hobbit and a highly successful ‘3 Nights for Two’ campaign are credited with a winter boom for Wellington’s hotel industry.
Positively Wellington Tourism (PWT)’s Hotel Monitor – which tracks nights sold, rooms rates and occupancy of 21 of the city’s hotels – indicates a 13.5% surge in total rooms sold in the three month period from May to July 2011.
Chief Executive David Perks said it’s one of the strongest winter performances for some time, with occupancy levels over the three month period the highest since 2004.
“Such growth would be fantastic any year, but the fact that Wellington’s seen an indicated 13.5% in winter rooms sold during what is without question one of the most challenging times New Zealand’s tourism industry has faced, is quite simply remarkable,” he said.
“Natural disasters here and abroad, an ash cloud, volatile exchange rates, challenged economies and rising fuel prices – you name it, we’ve faced it these past six months.”
Stars and crew arriving in town for filming of The Hobbit and continued growth in Australian visitors drove international growth, while the ‘3 Nights for Two’ campaign – run by PWT in conjunction with 18 of the city’s hotels – boosted domestic numbers, Perks said.
“The 3 Nights for Two campaign alone resulted in close to NZD$300,000 in room night bookings through WellingtonNZ.com and the city’s hotels.”
PWT is planning to bring the successful campaign back to target the December-January period – another traditionally soft period for Wellington, Perks said.
“We’re also considering rolling the concept out to encompass the hospitality and retail sectors as well so Wellington is offering ‘3 for Two’ shopping, dining and accommodation – that way we can offer more to visitors and maximise their value for a range of local businesses.”
Perks said the success of the ‘3 Nights for Two’ campaign lied in value-adding over discounting.
“3 for Two is about increasing the value, rather than discounting – and that’s key,” he said. “With the advent of daily deal sites, there are a lot of cut-price deals being offered to consumers, but this can see quality lost, the value of the experience degraded and the business ultimately hurting.
“By adding value rather than cutting rates, we’ve managed to give visitors a deal but still ensure economic success for the city’s hotels.”