Holiday property operators and websites are reporting encouraging bookings for the upcoming Queen’s Birthday long weekend in NSW, Victoria and South Australia.
Bookings have been on the rise for the past two to three weeks, they say, closely tracking an easing in government lock down rhetoric and actions.
Quirin Schwaighofer from MadeComfy – a leading short term property management and technology company, says bookings started to move following positive announcements from Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the loosening of travel restrictions in NSW and Victoria from June 1.
“We saw a big uptick three weeks ago,” he said. “Bookings for the Queen’s Birthday Weekend are really good,” says Schwaighofer.
“We’re already at more than 60% for occupancy and might reach 70% across all properties including Victoria and Queensland.
“So, really happy.”
Ross McDonald, Regional Director of holiday rentals website Stayz, says Queen’s Birthday searches* in some states are actually up on 2019.
“Stayz has seen a 167% year-on-year increase in holiday rental searches for South Australia and a 79% increase for New South Wales for the upcoming Queen’s Birthday weekend,” McDonald said in a statement.
Victorian holiday rental searches on Stayz were up a more moderate but still positive 6% year-on-year increase, possibly due to Premier Daniel Andrews announcing the easing of travel restrictions relatively late on May 24.
“This shows the appetite of Australian families to hit the road for a long weekend in a private, whole home that offers space and privacy with minimal interaction with crowds.”
McDonald says Stayz has introduced stricter cleanliness guidelines allied with a more flexible cancellation policy to encourage bookings.
Pete Smith, founder and CEO of Weekenda, which manages more than 130 properties in the Hunter region two hours drive north of Sydney, says “bookings have gone crazy” over the past two weeks.
“There’s lots of pent up demand and we are barely keeping up. Both Airbnb and our direct channels are performing very well.”
Smith adds that “in the past 10 days of May we booked as much revenue as we did in the whole of May 2019” while June revenue is currently tracking 250% ahead of the same period last year.
He says that the Hunter Valley is booked out for the long weekend.
“It’s incredible, a sellout across the entire Hunter Valley.”
Yoav Tourel, Managing Director APAC for the Guesty property management platform, says the business is seeing strong signs of recovery and that Australia is leading the global rebound.
“According to our data, Australia is coming in 2nd in terms of volume of bookings worldwide, with the number of new reservations created in May increasing by 41.3% compared to April.”
“We saw an 29% increase in bookings over the Queen’s birthday compared with last year.”
In Victoria, Alex Jones from Surf Coast Holiday Rentals near Melbourne says the phones started ringing in mid-May.
“It’s been excellent – a very welcome change from the past couple of months, when all we had was a trickle of bookings from essential travellers.”
She says bookings are coming from all the major demographics – families, couples and groups of friends.
NB: Queensland and Western Australia are the only Australian states which do not celebrate the Queen’s Birthday holiday in the first weekend of June.
The actual birthday of Queen Elizabeth is the 21st of April and this year she turned 94!
* Based on Stayz search data for the period of 4 – 30 May 2020 compared to 6 May – 1 Jun 2019.