Auckland hotel prices are as much as twice the usual rate, as visitors pour into the city - and pressure on accommodation is set to continue as construction of new rooms trails demand.
An influx of visitors from China for Chinese New Year earlier this month, events including the Foo Fighters, Queen and a busy cruise ship season have resulted in the ''No Vacancy'' sign being hung out or high prices for remaining rooms, especially at the premium end.
February is also when corporate activity cranks up and there is demand for rooms from travelling businesspeople.
Online travel agent Hotels.com has four- to five-star rooms listed for between $365 and $659 a night this weekend.
Lisa Li, of China Travel Service, said the Chinese market was close to its limit in tolerating room rates, but the charges were not a surprise.
''They're about double the usual price," she said. "They are quite high but according to my operators they are in line with expectations."
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development says it is closely monitoring hotel prices.
''We are very conscious of that and how we fare compared to Melbourne and Sydney,'' said Destination general manager Steve Armitage.
Figures for December last year showed average room rates were $218 a night, 6 per cent up on the year before. He expected a similar percentage rise for February when the figures are finalised.
''It's a perennial topic at this time of the year — supply and demand is such that room rates increase.''
Cordis Hotel says it is running at full occupancy, and while its recent revamp had contributed to a surge in bookings, February was always a busy month and prices reflected that demand.
The month was also when the corporate meetings and incentives industry was at its peak, said the hotel's managing director, Franz Mascarenhas.
Grant Gaskin, Swiss-Belhotel area general manager for NZ and Australia, said tourist and corporate bookings were heavy.
''Overall, Auckland is performing to a standard that encourages further investment in this market. Hotel rates in Auckland are currently in line with overseas rates - when comparing with similar city destinations - and we don't imagine that to slow anytime soon.''
Peter Hamilton, Director Hotels, valuation and advisory services from CBRE New Zealand, said there were between 1,300 and 1,400 rooms being built in Auckland now but this extra capacity would be quickly absorbed. February would continue to be busy.
''It's a very strong month - without changing the structure of demand there is not much we can do.''
Stephen Hamilton, director of hotel, tourism and leisure consultants Horwath HTL, said the industry had a ''wobble'' last year when tour groups baulked at paying high prices in Auckland and Queenstown, but this didn't appear to be the case this year.
"I don't see this as the hotels being extortionate, they've had years and years of not being able to fill the rooms and being at the mercy of group purchasers dictating prices.
The situation has turned right around and I don't think you can blame the hotels for pricing at the price the market is prepared to pay.''
Hamilton said Auckland hotels should aspire to charge at levels similar to Melbourne and Sydney, as long as their facilities and service matched what was offered across the Tasman.