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New Zealand is Asia-Pacific’s hottest market as hotel performance soars

By James Wilkinson at NZHIC in Auckland

New Zealand’s hotel market is experiencing a ‘golden era’ as performance continues to soar across the nation.

The hot markets of Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington were the top topics at the 2017 New Zealand Hotel Industry Conference (NZHIC) in Auckland yesterday (July 20), with operators from all major brands reporting solid results.

“Auckland and Queenstown are ‘flying’ right now,” AccorHotels’ Senior Vice President Operations, Accor New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, Gillian Millar, told the 500 delegates at NZHIC.

The latest statistics from STR obtained exclusively by HM yesterday show just how remarkable the New Zealand cities are, with Auckland, Queenstown and Wellington continuing post what are phenomenal numbers.

In Auckland, June 2017 was up significantly on the corresponding month last year, with Average Daily Rate (ADR) up 26.3% and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR) up 27.5%.

With occupancy only climbing 1% year on year, the rate climbs are huge – ADR was up NZD$42.83 to NZD$205.60 and RevPAR jumped by NZD$34.33 to NZD$159.10.

In Queenstown, June 2017 saw ADR jump 16.8% and RevPAR was up 29.5%, while in Wellington, ADR was up 22.4% and RevPAR up 28%.

In Queenstown, that related to ADR climbing NZD$25.63 to NZD$178.20 and RevPAR climbing NZD$29.62 to NZD$129.86, and in Wellington ADR rose NZD$38.25 to NZD$209.29 and RevPAR was up $35.78 to $163.45.

On a year-to-date perspective, Auckland and Queenstown have been the strongest in all segments, jumping 18.4% and 15.4% respectively on ADR increases and 19.5% and 16.5% RevPAR rises.

Staggeringly, Wellington and Auckland had the second and third best ADR across all Australasian cities during June with the exchange rate built in, coming in behind Sydney on top at AUD$207.02.

Overall, New Zealand is the leading market across Asia-Pacific in terms of ADR and RevPAR growth.

Wyndham’s Barry Robinson

Wyndham Hotel Group’s President and Managing Director for South East Asia and Pacific Rim, Barry Robinson, told HM the key metrics continued to be “phenomenal”.

“Both the global inbound and trans-Tasman numbers continue to be very strong,” he said. “The New Zealand market is really exploding at the moment.”

Robinson is so confident about the New Zealand market he says Wyndham could add up to 20 properties to the company’s portfolio in the next 2-3 years.

IHG’s Chief Operating Officer, Asia Middle East and Africa, Alan Watts, told HM said New Zealand is performing strongly on the global stage.

“The New Zealand market at present is one of the strongest markets in the region I look after, which is Asia Middle East and Africa,” he said. “Particularly Auckland in Queenstown that will finish the full-year in the early 90s in terms of occupancy.

Those numbers are helping boost the market from an investment and development perspective.

“New Zealand is seeing unprecedented demand from investors both offshore and onshore and recognizing that it is undersupplied and the future is bright,” Watts told HM.

“So, we’re expecting to see both more transactions and potentially rebounds but also some more new product in the major centres.

“Ultimately, Queenstown and Auckland are hot markets and have a lot of room for expansion,” he said.

Coming soon: Holiday Inn Express Queenstown

Watts said the upcoming America’s Cup hosting in Auckland during 2021 would see a flurry of developments that would be completed in time for the major sailing event.

“There’s a number of large investors in the Auckland market that are seeking to apply for predevelopment approval now and they all have that America’s Cup timeline,” he said.

“So I think we are going to see an accelerated supply influx and it’ll all be timed for the America’s Cup to make sense of those investments,” he told HM.

AccorHotels’ Vice President of Development – Pacific, Lindsay Leeser, was equally as buoyant from a new project standpoint, with the region’s largest operator also expecting significant growth.

“It’s a very exciting time in New Zealand right now,” he said. “We are going through a ‘golden era’ at the moment… it doesn’t get much better than this.”

On the back of strong markets nationwide, particularly in Auckland and Queenstown, interest in developing new projects has been positive right across the nation.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Investment Manager, Paul Burnaby, said interest was solid from international investors and a new target has been set of generating 4,500 extra rooms nationally by 2023, something that is on top of the existing strong pipeline.

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