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Drop in New Zealand hotel prices positions market for positive 2013
· New Zealand hotel rates fall by 2% in 2012 to $149 a night; global average up 3%
· Europe offers New Zealand travellers best value for money
Auckland, 05 March 2013 – The latest Hotels.com® Hotel Price Index™ (HPI) has found New Zealand hotel prices fell 2% in 2012 to $149 a night, in contrast to the 3% average global rise. The fall is a significant shift from the 13% increase experienced in 2011.
The strength of the New Zealand currency, coupled with economic uncertainty in the Eurozone, traditionally one of New Zealand’s largest source markets, impacted inbound tourism. The market readjustment following the 2011 Rugby World Cup was also a contributing factor to the fall in prices.
However, the second half of 2012 showed positive signs for the New Zealand hotel market. The consistent increase in Chinese travellers, the 100% Pure New Zealand marketing campaign, and the launch of Tolkien’s movie, The Hobbit, which raised the profile of country on a global scale, all helped to boost tourism. Inbound visitor numbers are expected to continue on an upward trajectory in 2013.
Johan Svanstrom, Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific for Hotels.com, said: “While hotel prices in New Zealand dropped last year, the second half of the year signalled the start of a turnaround, which is set to continue into 2013. According to the HPI, Chinese travellers are the biggest spenders on accommodation in New Zealand. As the number of Chinese travellers continues to grow exponentially, attracting their custom will become increasingly important.”
Spotlight on New Zealand
Cities on the North Island represented the best value for money for travellers*. Average rates in Gisborne were down 11% to $139, Napier fell 7% to $154, Palmerston North dropped 6% to $109 and prices in Auckland were down 5% to $137.
On the South Island, popular holiday destinations rose well above the national average.
Blenheim had one of the strongest results with a 15% rise taking it to $173. The resort town of Wanaka climbed 16% and Lake Tekapo, in the Mackenzie Basin, saw an 8% rise to $189. Queenstown’s hotel prices were flat with at $177 per room per night.
Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington all featured in the list of the world’s 10 most affordable destinations for New Zealand travellers.
The resources boom in Australia and a healthy corporate travel market drove hotel prices higher. Melbourne added 10% moving to $210 and the Gold Coast and Cairns both rose 5% to $190 and $170, respectively. Prices in Sydney, the most popular destination for New Zealanders, increased 3% to $218 per night.
In general, average rates in Europe were relatively flat in 2012. However, this average hid some significant shifts driven by the uncertain economic situation in the Eurozone, which deterred travel to and within the continent, particularly in the southern region.
New Zealand travellers enjoyed price falls in most European destinations. In Italy, prices fell in many popular tourist cities: Rome 17% to $192; Venice 15% to $232; Milan 13% to $206; and Florence 2% to $197.
At $189 per night, Barcelona was the cheapest European destination for New Zealand travellers. Paris and London were the most expensive European destinations, at $239 and $256 respectively.
There were several factors influencing the price rises across Asia during 2012: the return of travel to and from Japan following the disasters of 2011; the strength of the local economies; the continued rise in the number of Chinese travellers; and an increase in the number of flights by low-cost carriers.
Major cities in Asia performed exceptionally well with double-digit growth seen in Beijing (28%) to $126, Hong Kong (18%) to $240, the highest rate in the region. Prices in Singapore experienced a small movement of 1% to $220.
There were some marked falls across the region with Hanoi down 38% to $56, making it the city where New Zealand travellers paid the least. Ho Chi Minh City also recorded a 5% decrease to $83.
US price rise **
In the US, the stronger economy, coupled with increased international and domestic travellers, drove overall rates up 5% and resulted in significant double-digit increases in important business and tourist destinations. Prices were up in nine of the 10 US destinations included in the HPI for New Zealanders.
The steepest price rises were on the west coast with San Francisco experiencing the largest rise of 18%, taking it to $243, Anaheim, home of the Disneyland Resort, added 16% to $166 and Los Angeles went up 10% to $200.
Popular holiday destinations followed suit with Las Vegas up 16% to $148 while New York, the most expensive US destination at the top of the overall price chart, rose 3% to $350.
Svanstrom commented: “Whilst Australia and the US will continue to be popular, savvy travellers will be keeping a close eye on Europe in 2013 as it offers better value for money than ever before.”
The Hotels.com HPI is based on bookings made on Hotels.com sites around the world and tracks the real prices paid per hotel room (rather than advertised rates) for around 155,000 properties.
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