Hamilton is drawing some major events to the Waikato, but a lack of hotel rooms is causing the city to lose out on business conferences, and big ticket concerts.
The city is fast becoming a hub for larger scale events such as the World Rugby Sevens, with more international and domestic visitors staying in Hamilton City, with an estimated 797,177 commercial guest nights (holiday parks, motels and hotels), which is a 4.9 per cent increase on the previous year according to the commercial accommodation monitor 2019.
Visitors are also staying longer in Hamilton City averaging 2.13 nights per visit.
Yet, despite the increase in visits, the Hamilton City Council general manager venues, tourism and major events group, Sean Murray, said Hamilton was still two big style hotels away from being able to cater for the expected influx of tourists.
"There are a number of parties currently interested in hotel development in Hamilton. We are just waiting for something to land," Murray said.
"We absolutely have a shortage of accommodation. Hamilton is the fourth largest city in the region yet our hotel inventory ranks number nine in New Zealand, so we have a very big gap considering our size."
"With tourism growing and new business relocating to Hamilton, the shortage of hotel rooms is becoming more and more evident."
Murray said the UCI cycling event in Cambridge was one example of an event be announced in the region, and the following day all the hotels in Hamilton were completely booked out.
"That is quite common with a lot of these events coming to town. We have a lot of instances where we have to turn business away from Claudelands because we don't have the hotel space to accommodate them."
"We are having to fight hard to get hotel development happening as it is a massive investment from a developer."
He said Claudelands Event Centre could cater to the sort of numbers that the planned NZ International Convention Centre in Auckland could cater for, but couldn't match hotel inventory.
In April, Hamilton was named the No1 summer spot according to Book-a-Bach, ahead of Wanaka (2nd), Queenstown (3rd), Rotorua (4th) and Taupo (5th).
Murray said that ranking was purely given because there were no rooms at hotels for the summer events in Hamilton such as the Sevens, which draws fans from all over the world.
"We are getting to a stage where we have so many different events coming to the city, it's fast becoming a problem. Fieldays is a good example of the one big event near Hamilton which will book out hotels for that time period, but now we are getting more larger scale events, and sometimes in the same time period which is causing a problem."
He said Hamilton could have had a potential big ticket concert at FMG Stadium in the past year, but there had also been bad luck in scheduling, with the concert on the same date as a Chiefs game.
Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson said while Hamilton had a lack of hotel rooms, there were developments in the pipeline.
"We definitely have peak times of the year when commercial accommodation (motels and hotels) are at a premium with high occupancy.
"However, there are a number of development projects under way which hopefully will go some way in meeting demand, including expansion of Novotel Tainui Hamilton with 40 new rooms, refurbishment of Jet Park Hamilton Airport Hotel to 62 rooms, development of Waikato Regional Theatre, a privately developed five-star, boutique hotel, 42 rooms, and a proposed development of the old IRD Building on Bryce Street to business-style hotel."