Resort bookings ‘encouraging’

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By PHILIP CHANDLER

With Queenstown open only for domestic tourism in the short term, at least one accommodation venue’s proving it could still pay off.

For Queen’s Birthday weekend the occupancy level for Arrowtown’s high-end Millbrook Resort is already 40 per cent.

July bookings are also looking “very positive”, operations director Brian Howie says.

“It’s early days, but encouraging signs.”

Renowned for its golf course and spa facility, Millbrook’s fortunate, pre-Covid-19, it already enjoyed more than 50 per cent domestic patronage.

“We’ve got the advantage we’re not four walls and an elevator to get to your room,” Howie says.

“We have wide open spaces which I think appeals to a lot of people at this particular juncture.”

The resort’s also been able to put together attractive accommodation packages including golf and spa treatments.

“We’ve got rates out there that are certainly well priced.

“The danger is we cut rates to a point where it becomes very difficult to build back up again.”

The resort has 175 ‘keys’, or individual properties, which translates to more capacity when you break them down into rooms.

Like other operators, Howie says he’d like more certainty on when the trans-Tasman bubble, opening the way for Aussie visitors, will start.

“Even if they gave us an indication that, here’s our target date, and here’s the different milestones that need to be met to make sure we’re still on track’.”

Depending on the time of year, Millbrook’s combined Kiwi/Aussie market is between 70 and 80 per cent, Howie says.

Early this month, he told Otago Daily Times the resort was consulting staff on redundancies to take effect when the original wage subsidy ends next month.

However, given good forward bookings before then, they could “potentially recover some of the jobs”, he says.

scoop@scene.co.nz