Victoria and NSW see post lockdown rebound for hotel occupancy

The easing of restrictions in NSW and Victoria has seen a surge in hotel occupancy rates particularly in regional areas.

Victoria has seen the largest rebound with an occupancy rate of 56.9 per cent compared with last week’s 22.6 per cent, according to figures from analysts STR.

Occupancy in hotels across NSW has also snapped back to 48.4 per cent after recording just 10.6 per cent in early October.

The states capital cities also saw an increase with CBD occupancy levels hitting 37 per cent in Sydney and 34 per cent in Melbourne at the end of October.

“Lockdowns and state travel restrictions have made the past four months extremely difficult for the hotel industry, however, a progressive approach to vaccinations and the easing of restrictions have led to an increase in travellers and hotel demand with leisure guests driving performance,” STR regional manager for the Pacific Matthew Burke said.

“Based on our forward-looking data, and from the experience of Australia’s first recovery, we will likely see that leisure demand dominate recovery for the rest of 2021.”

Speaking to the Australian Financial Review, Shantha de Silva, head of operations at Pro-invest Hotels, which is preparing to open Australia’s first Kimpton hotel in the Sydney, said the number of rooms in the CBD is exceeding demand as hotels end their quarantine contracts.

“In CBD markets, the re-entry of quarantine hotels is significantly impacting demand levels with the supply influx outweighing the recovery demand,” he said.

“However, we expect this to even out over the coming months as more states start to welcome quarantine-free international travel and international tourists and students return.”

Marriott International’s local chief Sean Hunt was also bullish about the future.

“We’ve had the strongest pick-up [in bookings] in the past few weeks since 2019 and the biggest spike in revenue generation since the pandemic started,” he told The Australian Financial Review.

“I’ve just got off a Tourism Accommodation Australia board meeting call. Everyone is bullish about future bookings. The revenues are returning.”