Hotels nationwide still struggling in the wake of a disastrous 2020

Source: 1News

The hotel industry has suffered during the pandemic, with new figures released today revealing how dire Covid-19 has been on the industry - many fearing they won't survive.

A Tourism Industry Aotearoa survey shows that on average hotels are now faced with occupancy rates of half.

"Hotel revenue fell off a cliff in 2020," Tourism Industry Aotearoa's chief executive Chris Roberts said. 

"Normally we'd be worried about a two or three per cent decline in revenue - when it's gone down by 40 per cent that really calls into question the future viability of some of our hotels."

Five years ago the average national occupancy rate for hotel rooms sat steady at around 80 per cent, but last year plunged to just 50 per cent, with the average revenue per room slipping by almost half.

Tourist mecca Queenstown saw the biggest drop, with the number of hotel guests slashed.

Mark Rose, of Rees Hotel in Queenstown, said his five-star luxury rooms with sweeping views were all but empty.

"Yesterday we fell of a slight cliff. It was the end of the golden weather for us with a lot of people going back to work today. I think the next cliff we will fall off is at the end of January," he said.

Some hotels are being used to offer managed isolation facilities which has helped soften the blow, but even with them fully booked it's not enough to help the industry.

And Kiwis are travelling, but not to the main centres, Roberts said.

"They are tending to go to the regions, which is great for the regions but the hotels predominately in the cities are not getting much of a share of that spend."

As well, online meetings continue to replace a chunk of domestic business travel.

Until borders open, even partially, many hotels say they will keep operating at a loss or face closing down for good.