Increased visitor numbers are making themselves felt in the off season.

Guest nights in Hawke's Bay were up 15.1 per cent in May compared with May last year according to Statistics New Zealand commercial accommodation figures.

International guest nights rose 12.4 per cent and domestic guest nights rose 16.1 per cent while the overall occupancy rate rose from 30.6 percent to 37.2 per cent.

Read more: Hawke's Bay tourism spending 8pc more than last year


It is not just a one-month bump, the figures show. For the year to May guest nights rose 11.4 percent to 1,199,747. International guest nights rose 9.9 per cent to 329,119 and domestic guest nights rose 12 per cent to 870,628.

The overall occupancy rate rose from 38.6 per cent to 44.1 per cent for the year.

Edgewater Motor Lodge manager Roy Herbert said business was the best it has been in his 11 years at the Marine Parade motel in Napier.

"We are busier than last year and last year was the best year we have ever had there," he said.

The busy period was usually from Boxing Day to Easter "but this year it seems to be quite a bit busier".

"May was busy and so was June with the British & Irish Lions rugby tour providing welcome patronage from supporters and events such as the Hawke's Bay Marathon also contributed.

"We found the Lions guys were calling in for a couple of days on their way down to Wellington and for a couple of days on their way back."

For national guest night for May, compared with May 2016, guest nights were up 7.3 per cent. Domestic guest nights were up 6.4 per cent and international guest nights were up 8.7 per cent.

All 12 regional areas recorded more guest nights and all accommodation types had more guest nights.

For the year ended May 2017 national guest nights were up 4.0 per cent from the May 2016 year.

Mr Herbert said increased profitability was resulting in motel owners and related businesses selling up.

"There have been quite a few motels that have actually changing hands recently. People have got their businesses in a situation where their business doesn't look too bad so they are more attractive to the buyer."