Mantra Group’s review of 2013 festive season booking trends has revealed the Sunshine Coast as this year’s hot spot together with Sydney and Melbourne in the wake of international sporting events.
The review taken from bookings data across the Group’s 114 Peppers, Mantra and BreakFree hotels in Australia also revealed a 35% increase by consumers using mobile or tablet devices to research and make holiday bookings.
Consumers are also booking earlier to secure their dream holiday rather than chasing last minute holiday deals, according to Mantra Group CEO, Bob East.
“The traditional Australian beach holiday is definitely a popular choice and our results show that holidaymakers are booking earlier this year in order to secure the hotel or resort and even the room they want,” he said.
“There is still some availability for drive markets but the window is closing fast.
“Our Queensland resorts are set for a great season, but it’s also pleasing to see sporting and cultural events having an impact on tourism and hotel bookings across the country,” he said.
The latest National Visitor Survey revealed almost 18 million Australians spent more than AUD$14 billion on trips to Queensland in 2013 and the trend continues over the holiday season with record occupancies.
In Queensland, the Sunshine Coast has emerged as a popular choice for holidaymakers with a 10% increase in occupancy (YOY).
Mantra and BreakFree resorts in Noosa, Mooloolaba and Alexandra Headland reached 90% occupancy much further out from Christmas than in previous years as past and new guests locked in holiday plans.
The revitalisation of Noosa’s Hastings Street shopping and dining strip, including the Mantra French Quarter which completed a AUD$5 million upgrade earlier this year, is proving to be a popular drawcard.
Whilst traditionally the low season, Tropical North Queensland is ahead on occupancy and, in a positive sign for the region, experiencing a 7% lift in rate growth.
“Travellers are definitely realising the year-round attraction of North Queensland which is a pleasing trend for hotels and operators in the region,” he said.
Occupancies across the Group’s 20 Gold Coast hotels are on par with last year, however rate has grown by 3%. A positive weather outlook and events such as the Magic Millions and Big Day Out are gaining even greater traction leading to early booking trends throughout January.
In CBD locations, the spectrum of sporting and cultural events complementing the festive season are impacting positively on shoulder periods with hotels seeing occupancy levels maintained for longer than in previous years.
The success of the first Ashes test in Brisbane has caused a ripple effect around the capital cities.
Melbourne in particular has experienced a 30% lift in occupancy YOY across the city’s six Mantra hotels over the Boxing Day test period.
With the Australian Open Tennis always proving popular, the Melbourne market is set for a positive start to 2014.
In Sydney, New Years Eve is near capacity at Mantra’s two CBD hotels with both international and interstate cricket fans combining their NYE celebrations with attending the January Ashes test at the SCG.
Whilst New Years Eve is often busy for Sydney hotels, this year bookings were secured much earlier than in previous years.
The impact of sporting events is also reaching Adelaide and the announcement of Cadel Evans competing in the Tour Down Under saw a significant a spike in bookings at the two Mantra and two BreakFree properties located in Adelaide CBD.
Various theatrical productions are hitting capital cities throughout the December to February period including The Rocky Horror Show; A Murder is Announced; Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Grease, further complementing the festive season and sporting event hotel bookings.