Sydney, Australia – SiteMinder, the world’s leading guest acquisition platform for hotels, has today released data analysis highlighting Australians’ hotel booking behaviour for the upcoming Australia Day weekend. The findings reveal five key differences in how Australians are planning their holidays this year in comparison to 2020. The data compares bookings from data pulled on January 14, 2020 to data pulled on January 14, 2021, for reservations in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
1. Australians are escaping the concrete jungle
SiteMinder’s data reveals that this year’s Australia Day holidays are far from cancelled; they’re merely different. Instead of heading overseas or interstate and staying at convenient CBD hotels, Australians are wanting to escape the city and its high-rises. A recent SiteMinder study supports this, revealing that almost half (49%) of Australians would be looking to stay at a bed & breakfast, holiday park or camping site, vacation rental or budget accommodation during their next domestic trip.
The share of hotel bookings in CBD areas, as a percentage of overall bookings in the three eastern states, has dropped significantly this year. Sydney CBD’s share of bookings is down from 7.4% to 3.3% YoY, Melbourne CBD has plummeted from 15.7% to 4.2% YoY, and Brisbane CBD has dipped from 3.6% to 2.7% YoY. Unusually, for anyone looking for a quiet staycation this Australia Day, heading into a city-based hotel could be the best option.
2. Australians are venturing into their own backyard
On the flip side, regional towns have seen a major uplift in reservations, as more Australians are looking for an adventure among nature, holiday by the sea, or simply something different.
In NSW, Byron Bay’s share of hotel bookings is up 63%, Port Macquarie’s share has more than tripled, and Pokolbin has approximately quadrupled its share of bookings to last year. In Victoria, Warrnambool’s share of bookings is almost three times higher, and San Remo is also attracting three times its 2020 share of holiday-makers this year, providing an opportunity to get out of the city without having to venture too far. In Queensland, there have been decreases or minimal changes for the Gold Coast, Cairns, and Airlie Beach, while Noosa’s share of holidaymakers is up over 50%, Townsville’s has almost doubled, Mackay’s has quadrupled, and Toowoomba’s has more than doubled.
3. Australians are taking advantage of a longer break
With this year’s Australia Day falling on a Tuesday, the data shows Australians are booking slightly longer holidays this year in comparison to 2020, when it fell on a Sunday. For travellers with a staycation on the cards, many are taking advantage of the opportunity for a four-day trip.
4. Last-minute gems are still up for grabs, where you least expect
Last year, more than 50% of bookings for the Australia Day weekend came in the days between January 14 and Australia Day, meaning hotels are likely yet to see the full volume of bookings holidaymakers are planning. Whether they usually book last-minute regardless, or whether people are taking greater caution due to ongoing border restrictions and changes, there are still plenty of opportunities for Australians to find a hidden gem to spend their long weekend.
For those looking for a last-minute deal and wanting to make the most of fewer tourists being in the Sydney metro area, the CBD, Darling Harbour, Woolloomooloo, Manly, Coogee, Bondi and Surry Hills are all down on bookings in comparison to last year, making them ripe for deals. The share of bookings for Singleton are also down from last year, offering an alternative location to the popular Pokolbin wineries, which are only 30 minutes away. In Victoria, the coastal town of Port Fairy also has a smaller proportion of bookings than 2020, offering Melburnians another holiday option if they want to escape the city.
5. Luxury escapes are on hold
Although many traditionally go-to destinations for island and luxury holidays are still receiving bookings, several places are significantly less popular than last year. The idyllic Magnetic Island in Queensland has a five-times smaller share of bookings this year, for example, and even the extraordinarily popular Whitsundays still has availability.
Bradley Haines, Regional Vice President of Asia Pacific at SiteMinder, commented, “There have undoubtedly been significant changes across the hotels, travel and tourism industries over the last 12 months. However, contrary to what some may assume, many businesses in these sectors continue to thrive because of their ability to adjust to their shifting customer base. Travel isn’t dead, it’s simply different, and our data tells us that Australians are more ready than ever to explore their own backyards and create some truly memorable holiday experiences this Australia Day.”
The most popular destinations for hotel bookings, according to SiteMinder’s data, are as follows:
1. Sydney CBD (down from 7.4% of bookings share to 3.35%)
2. Byron Bay
3. Port Macquarie
7. Coffs Harbour
8. Nelson Bay
12. The Entrance
1. Melbourne CBD (down from 15.7% of bookings share to 4.2%)
4. Apollo Bay
7. San Remo
8. Port Campbell
11. Yarra Glen
14. Hepburn Springs
15. Port Fairy
1. Gold Coast (down from 6.29% of bookings share to 5.83%)
2. Brisbane CBD
4. Airlie Beach
6. Port Douglas
7. Fortitude Valley
14. Coolum Beach
15. Hamilton Island
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