SI hotels pack 'em in

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2014

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South Island hotels, motels and backpackers filled their beds in April, with guest nights heading to a record high.

Guest numbers for April were up 4.5 per cent in the South Island to 1.2 million, and 4 per cent higher in the North Island, in the seasonally adjusted series.

Statistics New Zealand figures released yesterday show the total national guest nights rose a seasonally adjusted 3.2 per cent to 2.9 million, after a fall of 1.5 per cent in March.

The trend for South Island guest nights is at a new high, after recovery from the Canterbury earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

The trend for North Island nights was flatter.

On a regional unadjusted basis, Canterbury saw 410,000 guest nights in April, up 16.2 per cent from 353,000 in April 2013.

Canterbury visitor numbers tend to weaken significantly in the winter months, so regional tourism promoter Christchurch and Canterbury Tourism (CCT) will soon launch a marketing campaign to bring domestic travellers to the city in July.

Consumer marketing executive Sheena Crawford said CCT was working with nine hotels to promote visits to the city.

The domestic markets of Wellington and Auckland would be targeted by the "Christchurch on Sale" print and online campaign.

"If people come and stay in hotels in the month of July, upon booking in they get a discount card, which they can then use for discounts across activities, hospitality and retail. So for activities we've got as much as 75 per cent off," Crawford said.

Rendezvous Hotel general manager Brad Watts said his Christchurch central hotel had good occupancy in April, particularly in the first couple of weeks.

Some corporate stayers disappeared in the second half of the month, given the influence of long weekends and school holidays.

Looking ahead, the winter months were always a challenge, given that group business including international leisure travellers fell away.

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- The Press

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