Hotel rates show meteoric rise with quakes and World Cup

By Nicholas Jones, Teuila Fuatai

Hotel prices have shot up since the Christchurch earthquake and influx of vistors for the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Thinkstock
Hotel prices have shot up since the Christchurch earthquake and influx of vistors for the Rugby World Cup. Photo / Thinkstock

New Zealand hotel prices shot up by the steepest amount in the world last year as the Christchurch earthquake hit supply and overseas visitors poured in for the Rugby World Cup.

Average hotel rates in New Zealand increased 13 per cent last year, more than any other country worldwide and well above the global average of 4 per cent, according to data.

Christchurch rates increased 32 per cent to an average of $130, Wellington by 15 per cent to $126 and Auckland by 9 per cent to $132.

The Hotel Price Index is based on bookings made on sites worldwide and tracks the real prices paid per hotel room for around 142,000 properties.

Asia Pacific vice-president Johan Svanstrom attributed the change to the strength of the New Zealand dollar, the influx of visitors for the Rugby World Cup and the impactof the Christchurch earthquakes.

New Zealand Hotel Council chief executive officer Rachel Shadbolt said the earthquake was a major driver of the price increases.

"They are [now] operating off such a low base of rooms. And for want of a better word, it's skewed the data somewhat."

The Hotel Council's own data, due to be released today, shows that in 2010 before the first earthquakes Christchurch had an annual occupancy of about 67 per cent for its 3700 rooms.

In 2011 occupancy shot up to 85 per cent as the earthquakes reduced rooms available at member hotels to just 850.

Ms Shadbolt said the World Cup had brought significant price increases, particularly in Auckland and Wellington around game days.

"But midweek ... it was very much business-as-usual rates. So they didn't sit on a high rate for the entire six weeks for the Rugby World Cup."

Because prices were driven by supply and demand, a 13 per cent average price increase did not necessarily reflect current hotel rates, she said.

Taupo's average price fell 4 per cent, but it remained New Zealand's most expensive destination at $158.

Queenstown was next dearest at $153, while Hamilton was the cheapest of the major centres at $107 a night.

The data shows hotel prices in New Zealand averaged $132, compared with $200 in Australia, $254 in London, and $338 in New York.


Average hotel rate change in 2011:

* New Zealand +13 per cent to $132
* Christchurch +32 per cent to $130
* Wellington +15 per cent to $126
* Auckland +9 per cent to $132
* Hamilton +13 per cent to $107
* Taupo -4 per cent to $158
* Queenstown -1 per cent to $153.

- NZ Herald

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