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Hotel nights drive accommodation growth in 2018

Press Release – Statistics New Zealand

Guests spent over half a million more nights in hotels in 2018 than the year before, driving overall growth for short-term commercial accommodation, Stats NZ said today.
Guests spent over half a million more nights in hotels in 2018 than the year before, driving overall growth for short-term commercial accommodation, Stats NZ said today.

In the year ended December 2018, guests spent 40.4 million nights in hotels, motels, backpackers, and holiday parks, up 2.3 percent from 39.5 million in 2017. Over half of that growth was from nights spent in hotels, which numbered 14.5 million.

The growth in hotel guest nights was supported by increased capacity. Nearly 1,600 more hotel rooms were available by December 2018 than in December 2017. Even with more rooms available, the occupancy rate for hotels remained relatively high (falling slightly from 69.8 percent in 2017, to 69.2 percent in 2018), reflecting more nights spent in hotels.

Annual hotel occupancy rates hovered around 55 percent throughout the 2000s, but rose steadily from 2012 to almost 70 percent in recent years.

“The number of hotel rooms available in New Zealand fell after the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011,” accommodation and construction statistics manager Melissa McKenzie said. “Hotel capacity is now around pre-earthquake levels, supported by recovery in Canterbury, as well as more rooms opening up in other parts of the country.”

Accommodation building consents high

In the last two years the value of building work consented for short-term accommodation has been high – nearly $500 million in both 2017 and 2018. Building consents are issued for new hotels as well as re-developments, conversions, and refurbishments, which can also increase hotel capacity. See Conferences, culture, and tourism boost consents.

“Building consents reflect the intention to build, with the work usually being done in the next year or two,” Ms McKenzie said. “Consents for short-term accommodation issued in 2018 indicate more hotel capacity in the pipeline.”

Guest nights up in December month

Guests (New Zealanders and overseas visitors) spent more nights in accommodation in December 2018 than in December 2017, up 1.4 percent.

Kiwis alone spent 2.3 million nights in hotels, motels, backpackers, and holiday parks, up 3.4 percent from December 2017.

International nights dipped slightly (down 0.9 percent to 1.9 million), driven by overseas visitors spending fewer nights in North Island accommodation.

The Accommodation Survey collects data for guests staying in short-term commercial accommodation such as hotels, motels, backpackers, and holiday parks. Hosted and private accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts, and holiday homes, are excluded.

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