New Zealand’s hotel industry is experiencing a strong return of international travel with customers changing traditional booking habits.
A new report by SiteMinder, a key software platform that unlocks the full revenue potential of hotels, shows that the hotel industry in New Zealand is embracing a new era of travel, following the strong return of international travel in 2023.
The report, SiteMinder’s Hotel Booking Trends, based on more than 115 million hotel bookings, reveals that 46% of hotel arrivals in 2023 came from international guests, marking a 76% increase from the previous year, behind only Taiwan and Australia in year-on-year growth. This growth came despite increasing room prices, which grew by 8% compared to the year prior.
Key impacts of more international arrivals included longer average booking lead times, which grew by 30% to over 45 days (exceeding the global average of 19%), and the arrival of new booking sources for hotels, which highlighted the return of Asian travellers. Last year also saw the resumption of more traditional seasonality, with 29% of the year’s guests arriving between January and March, compared to just 18% in 2022.
SiteMinder’s chief growth officer, Trent Innes, says the findings highlight the need for hoteliers to be dynamic as international travel accelerates, and cautions them against anticipating the return of known travel trends.
“SiteMinder’s data shows that while travellers have regained their confidence and international travel is returning, as is traditional seasonality, traveller behaviours and preferences have changed. Today’s traveller is not the same traveller of years past,” says Innes. “We know through our data that travellers are booking further ahead than before. We also know through our own research that travellers are happy to spend money beyond the cost of their room, but that increased prices are forcing them to adapt by opting for package deals, as an example. It’s therefore vital that hoteliers are dynamic in the way they do business, to ensure they keep pace with their customers and understand how every customer touchpoint is a revenue opportunity.”
The Top 12 booking sources for New Zealand hotels
SiteMinder’s Top 12 hotel booking sources, based on the total gross revenue they generated via SiteMinder’s platform in 2023, were:
Hotel websites (direct bookings)
Global distribution systems
Pan Pacific Travel
Notable moves on the list included Trip.com’s return to the Top 12 for the first time in three years, indicating an increase in Chinese traveller volumes, and the rise of Hostelworld, which jumped to seventh as price-savvy travellers became more comfortable in a shared environment.
“We have certainly entered a new era of travel. Not only are behaviours and preferences changing, but the travellers, themselves,” says Innes.
“The global travel industry has long awaited the return of Chinese travellers and it is clear from our data that they are beginning to come back, alongside those from other source markets throughout Asia, such as India, Japan and South Korea. Hotels would do well to prepare for a change in the mix of travellers arriving at their doorstep, by revising their marketing strategies to reach the world’s fastest-growing travel sources and gaining intelligence on these potential customers to maximise their revenues.”
SiteMinder’s Hotel Booking Trends report is available here.