TRM are grateful for the positive feedback to TRM Daily Report recently (repeated below for those who might have missed it) which featured the threats from Airbnb and Bookabach etc. The response was most reassuring. Anglers are such wonderful guests. i.e. On the day it was posted we received a phone call from a Christchurch angler who apologised (!) as he had a bad experience after he booked a empty house locally but it was so cold and grubby etc. that for his Tongariro winter fishing ‘fix’ he confirmed TRM offered much better value. He proved this by booking for two weeks. Most encouraging thank you. So here is further evidence of from a tourist publication:
Christchurch accom facing bleak winter despite more tourists
AirBnB and a lack of tourism infrastructure are being blamed for Christchurch accommodation’s worst winter since the Canterbury earthquakes.
Operators, particularly at the budget end of the market, are feeling the pinch, with some of the city’s 120 motels report a 20 to 30 percent drop in business.
Hoteliers are also reporting a drop in occupancy, as Airbnb bookings escalate and hundreds of new hotel rooms open across across the city.
Bob Cringle, who represents the Christchurch motel sector for Hospitality New Zealand, said: “It’s getting harder each winter because we are getting less people in.
“We had the rebuild for a start but now those people have dried up, so it’s hard work and a lot of [motels] are right down this winter.”
Mr Cringle told Radio New Zealand Airbnb was partly responsible for the downturn. In the year to September 2017, around a fifth of all Christchurch’s visitor bookings were made through the short-let platform.
“They have the right to be here, but we just want a level playing field,” he said. “We’ve got compliance costs and zoning costs…and we pay commercial rates. Commercial rates are a lot more expensive than residential rates.”
A lack of tourism investment is another issue, with the only major event this year, the Golden Oldies sports gala, turning out to be more of a fosbery flop than a leg-up for motels.
The athletic challenge for over 35s was expected to bring 10,000 participants and about 4000 supporters and officials to the region, but instead attracted half the number of predicted competitors. In a survey of 100 Hospitality New Zealand member motels, only six reported having any guests stay for the event.
Tourism Industry Aotearoa hotel sector manager Sally Attfield told Accomnews the city’s hotels were struggling with a lack of demand this winter.
“April’s Golden Oldies provided a surge in visitors but there have been no major events over the winter months to attract visitors to the city,” she said.
“While all our major cities are noticing a drop in demand compared with last winter, when the British and Irish Lions Tour brought good returns, Christchurch is not doing as well as Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown.”
Christchurch’s hotel capacity has been increased by 383 rooms per day since last winter with the opening of the Crowne Plaza (204 rooms) in July 2017 and Distinction Christchurch (179 rooms) in May 2018.
“This capacity has been absorbed to a degree, but the lack of events during the winter months means this additional capacity creates challenges for all,” Ms Attfield said.
“Without the infrastructure of both a stadium/sports facility and convention centre, and therefore events, the winter months for 2018 and 2019 are going to be a challenge for all Christchurch accommodation operators.
“With the convention centre not due to open until 2020, other events and attractions are needed to boost business.”
Mr Cringle said there needed to be better collaboration between tourism organisations like ChristchurchNZ and the accommodation sector, or some moteliers would be forced out of business.
While the latest figures from ChristchurchNZ show guest nights spent in the city are actually up on last year, with international guest nights up 15 percent for May and domestic up 12 percent, destination manager Caroline Blanchfield said Airbnb was having a profound effect on the local industry.
She said: “We’ve gone from about 57 whole houses to nearly 1000 in 12 months, so everybody is jumping on the band wagon.
“We don’t want our communities dissolved because of AirBnB but equally we don’t want it all to disappear – we want a level playing field.”
Ms Blanchfield said the latest accommodation figures were, though, cause for optimism.
“I do think the whole city is on a rise,” she said. “I feel it whenever I go anywhere…the perception has changed and we are seen as a new vibrant city so that has got to help us.”
In a statement, an AirBnB spokesperson said the platform was growing the ‘tourism pie’ in Christchurch by making travel more accessible and affordable.
Christchurch City Council is considering imposing legislation on the short-let sector following industry pressure and the precedents set by Queenstown and Auckland in regulating Airbnb-style platforms.
Also note the following MBIE analysis which should be considered as well…
- All regions achieved growth in tourism spending in the year ended June 2018. The fastest-growing regions were Gisborne (up 15.8 per cent), Canterbury (up 13.4 per cent) and Tasman (up 13.2 per cent). Each of these regions had experienced stronger-than-average spending over the summer peak in the latest year.
Below is TRM’s original report:
Taupo moteliers are reported in Taupo Times as struggling to come to terms with what they claim is unfair competition from B&B’s in the form of homestays booked through Airbnb and Bookabach. TRM concur. Life is so unfair.
In the Taupo district alone Airbnb have over 900 listings. Bookabach have over 600 listed. (Stats pinched from the front page feature article in Taupo Times 13 July by Chloe Blommerde)
By comparison, across NZ in 2017 Airbnb had 37,600 listings, Auckland had 10,900 listings, Queenstown had 2,300 listings, and the other most important hub of NZ tourist angling – the little jewel in the crown – Turangi had over 100. These most popular tourist gems like Turangi are now targeted for this type of business – evidence is a recent sale of 7 residential properties to one Auckland buyer who then listed them all on Airbnb.
Further research as at February 2018 indicated of the 929 Airbnb Taupo listings, 599 were complete houses – that is 600 more than five years ago or about 1500 more bedrooms catering for tourists. That equates to adding around 75 typical motels like TRM. That is real competition that we have to overcome. But how? SWMBO is TRM’s business strategy advisor who has Her own cunning solution, providing far better customer service and benefits that Homestays cannot compete with. Read on…
The basis of complaints from motels are that none of the 600 have to meet any council compliance measures. So unfair! Obviously motels are struggling to compete with such a large sudden increase of rooms available through all residential suburbs. All they ask Council for is parity – that these competing businesses are treated similar to motels as businesses. That is fair enough. i.e. In Turangi the domestic water supply to all these Airbnb houses is free. Meanwhile TRM pay commercial water rates, commercial Council rates, commercial fire protection, etc….
Hospitality NZ Manager, Alan Sciascia says “it’s gone beyond owners letting out their house for a week or two while they take a holiday, this is serious business, I am aware of four hosts who between them control over twenty properties… there are over 100 Taupo hosts with more than one property each.”
After 50 years operation as a motel, TRM could try to ignore the competition but realise prospective inmates need to know how TRM has to offer much much more than just accommodation. And that has to be to guests’ advantage…
SWMBO’s (She Who Must Be Obeyed is the relentlessly positive indefatigable delightfully young Manager of everything at TRM) first response was to check TRM occupancy rates. They are much the same as in the previous 12 years. Whew! So Her first worry was solved – TRM should survive, even if there is no profit in it… Fortunately for guests, to maintain the occupancy levels has been at the expense of $ room rates. NZ tourism has enjoyed riding the crest of a wave of success in recent years but motels have not been able to capitalise on this – proven by TRM’s room rates at much the same levels as ten years go. So the inmates have to be on a win on the pure $ economics of their decision.
But in addition to just beds and self contained units, TRM really offers very good value. The advertised room rates have to reflect commissions to agencies like booking-dot-com etc. for overnighters, but for anglers who need to stay longer and return again and again, TRM have an entirely different level of fishy room rates about 15-20% lower!!!. Please keep that to yourself as we do not want to upset tourists. But the message is clear – book directly, avoid all OTA’s (Online Travel Agents) so that you enjoy their commission savings.
In addition, where TRM really win is in the “after-sales-service” department. For any tourists unfamiliar with the region SWMBO offers so many advantages to help make a holiday more enjoyable and memorable. New guests do not need to waste any time on local reconnaissance. It has all been done for them. Then there are the little ‘extras’…
Just that one little extra special service alone illustrates the significant difference in TRM catering to guests requirements, rather than just providing accommodation. But there are many more…
TRM can advise on all the essential info that tourists need, the best places to eat (RUST?) , the best cafe (Creel?), the best tourist package (NZ Rafting?) the best tramping trails (Taranaki Falls), the best most scenic lake stroll (Rotopounamu), the best river trail (Tongariro River Trail), the best physical challenge (climbing Mt. Ruapehu). And just as important, SWMBO will advise where not to go, to avoid disappointment. It’s Her personal touch that matters.
Most important of all for TRM inmates is “info” on trout fishing – where are the best fishing pools (Secret!). TRM have a full range of fishing gear – from rods, reels, waders, wading poles, fly tying gear, etc. – all available free of charge.
Only TRM can offer fishy advantages like hidden stone groynes built on the river bank exclusively for TRM anglers (these provide access to cast into the “eye” of a pool so much easier).
Only TRM offers a commercial sized smokehouse free of charge for guests.
Only TRM has a choice of rafts available for anglers on Lake O – providing the guests are suitable experienced.
Only TRM offers free special Tongariro Bucket List maps of 50 pools to fish before you die.
Only TRM has an extensive library of trout fishing books and magazines.
Only TRM has Pumpkin – a friendly dog for guests to take walkies…. etc.
TRM could be likened to more of a vintage trout fishing club with many anglers preferring it as their favourite social meeting place to swop stories and tell lies where they caught their biggest trout. That creates a friendly fishy environment that no Airbnb or Bookabach could possibly hope to compete with. TRM even get anglers staying at local homestays calling in to source latest fishy info. They cannot stay away for long. We understand…
SWMBO acknowledges you all. TRM have so many fishy inmates who have been regularly staying here for many years. We know most of our guests. We love catching up with so many old friends and hearing their fishing tales. So this a BIG thank you for their continued support. We know you have a lot of accommodation choices out there and value your loyalty so much.
Anglers really are such wonderful folk – as indicated in the brief video below:
If you enjoyed that, this one is even better with more touristy stuff…