Anne Gibson

Property editor of the NZ Herald

Hotels report Rugby World Cup bonanza

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Five-star Auckland hotel Stamford Plaza has enjoyed its best two months since opening almost 30 years ago.

General manager Peter Gee said the Rugby World Cup was a major boost for the 286-room Albert St hotel, home to hundreds of British, European, Australian and New Zealand guests during the 45-day tournament, many associated with the official sponsors.

"We've just had our best September and October since opening in 1984. We certainly achieved good rates. What the cup did was ensure that mid-week was still busy but once you add in additional people on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, from a volume perspective, we did better than normal," Gee said.

He refused to specify room rates but said the key to success was working closely with the Official Accommodation Bank.

Horwath HTL, specialist hotel consulting firm, said there were big benefits for the hospitality sector, particularly in Auckland and Wellington.

Citing information from STR Global, which provides research to the hotel sector, Horwath said occupancy during the tournament pushed up room rates.

Average achieved room rates and room revenues in Auckland in the three weeks up to October 23 rose by 140 per cent compared to the same period last October.

"This result, coupled with a strong impact on September trading from the cup, should allow Auckland and similarly Wellington hotels to experience a substantial uplift in annual revenues and profitability in 2011.

"STR Global data shows that for the three weeks ending October 23, including the last round of pool play, quarters, semifinals and final, Auckland hotels achieved an average room rate of $348 excluding GST and room occupancy of 82 per cent which was six occupancy points up on the same period last October," he said.

Room revenue in Auckland hotels rose by 160 per cent.

"Week day hotel occupancies in October 2011 were below that in 2010 due to less corporate travel, conferences and overseas group tours.

"This avoidance of travel during the Rugby World Cup tournament was due in part to perception and communications by some in the hotel and tourism industry that there would be a lack of available hotel rooms and significantly higher room rates during the rugby tournament."

Auckland hotels also benefited in the first three weeks of the cup in September, when seven games were played at Eden Park and North Harbour.

"Room revenue, according to STR Global data, was up 75 per cent compared to the same period in 2010. This was due mainly to a 70 per cent increase in average room rate which more than compensated for lower week day occupancies during the rugby tournament.

"Occupancy for the whole month of September was 74 per cent, only slightly up on 2010," Horwath said.

Auckland hotels' total annual revenues, including rooms, food and beverage, and hotel profitability could potentially increase 10 per cent to 15 per cent on last year, due mainly to a 10 per cent rise in the annual room rate.

The Reserve Bank estimated New Zealand would get a $700 million injection from foreign fans arriving here for the event.

Last month, a study commissioned by MasterCard and undertaken by the Centre for the International Business of Sport at Britain's Coventry University, said the country would reap an extra $43.7 million to $62.5 million.

HOTEL HEAVEN

During Rugby World Cup:
* 140pc hotel occupancy rise
* 10pc to 15pc profitability rise
* $348 per room Auckland rates
* Conference travel down
* Stamford Plaza's best two months

Source: Horwath HTL /STR Global

- NZ Herald

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