By Larry Schlesinger
Melbourne and Sydney have been the standout hotel markets for the year to date according to the latest figures from STR Global. But signs of life are returning to the long-suffering Queensland coastal leisure accommodation markets with occupancy rates and room rates rising on the Gold Coast and in Cairns in tropical Far North Queensland. Over October, revenue per available room (revPAR) – the key industry metric -rose 14.9 per cent in Cairns and 11.5 per cent on the Gold Coast The monthly figures helped push up revPAR for the first 10 months of the year on both coastal markets by 3.6 per cent suggesting demand for hotel rooms is accelerating. A Cairns hotel room now generates $96 a night on average up from $83 in June while a night on the Gold Coast returns about $105 compared with $101 four months ago. Troy Craig of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels said resort markets were showing some resilience and had been improving as the year unfolded. A pick-up in both domestic tourism and inbound visitors have been factors in the tentative recoveries on the Gold Coast and Cairns. “A combination of more targeted tourism marketing in Asia and improved airline access over the last five or six years have helped in the recovery,” Mr Craig said. “We expect these markets to be stronger next year, which should also help trigger some renewed investor interest given rising revPAR translates into an improved bottom line and a stronger yielding performance. ‘1t’s likely there will be more regional hotels and resorts put up for sale next year as trading improves,” he said. Mantra Group, operators of nine hotels and resorts on the Gold Coast and two in Cairns reported strong trading figures over the year to October. Luke Moran, Mantra’s manager of revenue and distribution, said revPAR was up 4 per cent across its Gold Coast properties and 9 per cent for its two cairns resorts over the past12 months, “It’s obviously a very positive period for Mantra in these regions,” Mr Moran said. Ben Pole from Gold Coast Tourism said the development of five star resorts like Hilton Surfers Paradise, Soul and Peppers Broadbeach had made the Gold Coast more appealing to the higher yielding tourism market Mr Pole said the uplift was not just confined to five stare hotels. “It’s across the market from holiday parks, serviced accommodation and three and four star resorts,” he said. “It’s shaping up to be an excellent year.” According to STR Global, occupancy levels remained high in all capital cities, with Sydney strongest at 85.8 per cent followed closely by Melbourne and Perth. Mr Craig said: “The outlook for further revPAR growth in 2014 is moderate to strong in most markets “Short and medium term trading out looks are strongly positive in both Sydney and Melbourne while both outlooks for Brisbane and Perth are also in positive territory,” he said.