100 Days – That was the amount of time from the end of Victoria’s third lockdown to the beginning of the fourth. During this period, Victoria’s overall accommodation performance saw its greatest shift since pre-pandemic days, with growth largely driven by regional markets.
It is no secret that Australians are itching to travel, and with limited choice and location, happy to pay a premium. As a result, STR data showed room rates throughout regional Victorian markets climb steeply to, and above 2019 levels. Accommodation operators throughout the regions took full advantage, with Great Ocean Road the standout. April produced an average daily rate (ADR) that was 68 percentage points higher than that of the comparable period in 2019.
Melbourne also finally began to see glimmers of hope. Corporate travel started to slowly trickle back into the market, which drove the demand recovery line (shown below) closer to regional Victoria. However, when compared with other city peers, Melbourne, like Sydney, continued to trail due to heavy reliance on international exposure and corporate travel. As Australia works toward critical steps that will open international borders, corporate travel will be crucial to Melbourne’s recovery.
With yet another lockdown going into effect on 28 May, there was an instant and dramatic impact on the hospitality industry. Regional Victoria hotel occupancy fell to next to nothing, while Melbourne was only slightly higher due to quarantine demand. The graph below, which provides a national perspective, shows there is a strong ability for the regional markets to recover faster. As travel restrictions eased in time for the June/July school holidays, regional Victoria’s occupancy reached its highest level since the summer holiday period. A strong performer was the Goldfields submarket. Daily occupancy exceeded 90 percent in some instances, with the Ballarat Winter Festival attracting the chill seekers.
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