Hotel occupancies in Christchurch fell significantly following the earthquake on 22 February 2011. Data from STR Global shows a 15.3 percent occupancy decrease for the first two months of 2011 – a decrease that was strongly influenced by a 25.2 percent drop reported in February.
Though Christchurch has suffered in the aftermath of the earthquake, hoteliers in other major cities throughout New Zealand are pushing rates after posting occupancy and demand increases during 2010. Nationwide, average daily rate (ADR) has improved by three percent to NZ$138 (US$106) in the first two months of 2011 despite a 2.1 percent fall in occupancy. Auckland and Queenstown improved their ADR year-to-February, reporting NZ$141 and NZ$155, respectively. Wellington, despite a continued drop in rate growth, still reported an ADR of NZ$146 and occupancy of 72 percent.
With the ongoing clear up in Christchurch and the uncertainly over how many hotels might need to be torn down, performance will remain subdued. The city reported an ADR of NZ$114 and occupancy of 70 percent for the first two months 2011.
However, prospects for the remainder of the country are boosted by the Rugby World Cup, which is set to attract huge travelling support in New Zealand during several weeks in September and October 2011. Christchurch however, will not host any matches during the event as the stadium operator said it couldn’t guarantee that repair work would be finished in time. Plus, significant future marketing benefit is to be expected now that the much delayed filming of he Hobbit, the prequel to the JRR. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, has begun in Wellington.