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Eight out of 10 hotel rooms vacant as hotel sector enters ‘new normal’

The impact of the Covid-19 shutdown on the accommodation sector has been laid bare, with 80 per cent of hotel rooms in Australia currently empty or closed.

The latest STR report shows that 300 hotels have shut their doors and more than 240,000 hotel rooms are closed or unoccupied entirely.

Around 10 per cent and 21 per cent of capital city hotel rooms were closed as of April 22, according to the hotel analysts, with occupancy rates of just 20 per cent for those still open.

“Perth is the only capital city that is sitting above 30 per cent in occupancy for the month to date,” STR regional manage Matthew Burke told the Australian Financial Review.

“Their occupancy is slightly higher as in addition to the quarantine of returning international travellers, Perth has become a base for many in the resource sector where state restrictions and domestic air services has meant they have set up Perth as a temporary base with their family.

“Other destinations that have occupancy just above 30 per cent are all resource centred destinations, like Mackay, Gladstone and the Pilbara.

“Conversely, high leisure concentrated destinations, like the Gold Coast, tropical North Queensland and Cairns, are all below 20 per cent.”

The NSW chief executive of Tourism Accommodation Australia, Michael Johnson, said the sector was entering a “new normal”.

“There will still be some form of social distancing, which will put pressure on hotels’ food and beverage operations and events,” he told the AFR.