Resort hoteliers feel the pain



Queenstown hotel owners took a bath last year, with occupancy and revenue plunging as the closed borders ravaged the sector.

The latest Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA) stats for the sector show room income falling 40% across the country.

The data, which covers three-quarters of the country’s hotel rooms, shows Queenstown has been the hardest hit, with a 53% fall in average revenue per available room (RevPAR) from $207 to $96.

Average hotel occu-pancy plunged from 82% in 2019 to 42%.

Even worse, the resort’s hoteliers can’t tap into one of the country’s few boom industries at the moment — the provision of managed isolation and quarantine facilities — as their counterparts in Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, Wellington and Christchurch are doing.

TIA boss Chris Roberts says the data includes hotels providing border isolation services, but hat business has only ‘‘softened the blow’’ for them.

Nationally, average hotel occupancy had sat at about 80% since 2016, until the government pulled down the shutters on international visitors.

Average occupancy ‘‘barely made it to 50%’’ last year, and combined with a lower average room rate, RevPar fell by 40% to $91.17, Roberts says.

‘‘At those revenue levels, the majority of hotels which remained open in 2020 were operating at a loss.’’

The data shows no regions and hotel categories have been spared from the carnage.

Three-star hotels’ RevPAR fell from $95 in 2019 to $50 last year, while five-star hotels’ RevPAR declined from $214 to $123.

Roberts says most hotels are relying on at least a partial opening of the borders to return to profitability.