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Accommodation Data Programme for January 2022 released

February 28, 2022

The Accommodation Data Programme (ADP) measures the activity of core tourism accommodation providers, excluding managed isolation and quarantine (MIQ) facilities and emergency housing. This article focuses on two metrics from the ADP:

All but one region, Northland, was in the Orange setting of the COVID-19 Protection Framework (CPF, or the “traffic light system”) when the New Year began. Auckland, Taupō, Rotorua, Whakatane (of the Bay of Plenty RTO), Ōpōtiki and Gisborne (of the Tairāwhiti RTO), Wairoa (of the Hawke’s Bay RTO), Ruapehu, Whanganui, and Rangitīkei (outside of any RTO) moved out of CPF Red on 31 December 2021. Northland moved from the CPF Red setting to CPF Orange on 21 January.

The entire nation moved into CPF Red on 24 January in response to widespread community transmission of the Omicron COVID-19 variant. However, unlike previous outbreaks, the Government imposed no restrictions on travel.

Key points for January 2022

Bay of Plenty experiences record guest nights since the pandemic began

The whole of Aotearoa New Zealand experienced a 10% fall in total guest nights in January 2022 compared with January 2021. Despite this fall, six RTOs experienced an increase in guest nights over the same period. The Bay of Plenty RTO experienced the greatest increase, up 9.5%. The region hosted 233,000 guest nights in January 2022, the highest for the Bay of Plenty since the ADP began in June 2020 and more than it would normally expect in January, its peak month.

Other RTOs that experienced an increase in total guest nights in January 2022 compared with January 2021 include Southland (7.9%), Clutha (7.8%), Manawatū (4.6%), Timaru (2.7%), and Waitaki (1.5%).

While many South Island RTOs still experienced a drop in guest nights, most fared better than the national average decline (down 10%). Queenstown experienced similar volumes in January 2022 (195,000 guest nights) compared with January 2021 (198,000 guest nights), only decreasing by 3,000 guest nights (1.5%). Lake Wānaka registered a similar trend, hosting 108,000 guest nights in January 2022 compared with 113,000 in January 2021 (a decrease of 5,000 guest nights, or 4.3%). Figure 1 below includes the performance of other South Island destinations (including West Coast, Kaikōura, Fiordland, and Mackenzie).

Figure 1: Percentage change in total guest nights for select regional tourism organisations from January 2021 to January 2022.

Areas under CPF Red in December did not recover in January

Of the nine RTOs that were completely or partially under CPF Red in December, seven experienced a greater-than-average fall in total guest nights in January: Northland, Auckland, Taupō, Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwhiti and Ruapehu. Northland remained under CPF Red until 20 January, while the other six RTOs moved to the less-restrictive CPF Orange on 31 December.

Accommodation providers in Rotorua (down 23.5%) and Auckland (down 21.4%) experienced the steepest decline in total guest nights in January 2022 compared to January 2021. Northland experienced a similar but smaller fall (down 19.9%). These RTOs also experienced the steepest year-over-year falls in December 2021, but experienced much steeper falls that month (down 43.2%, 41.7% and 30.1% respectively).

Figure 1 also includes how each of the previously CPF Red RTOs performed in January 2022 (including Ruapehu, Tairāwhiti, Hawke’s Bay and Taupō).

Backpacker accommodation is down, lodges and boutique accommodation are up

Similar to our December 2021 release, backpacker accommodation experienced a 45% decline in total guest nights from January 2021 (225,000) to January 2022 (124,000). This decrease may be due to guests’ hesitance to share facilities with one another considering COVID-19. In contrast, total guest nights for lodges and boutique accommodation increased 13% (from 90,000 to 101,000) over the same period. Figure 2 below shows the proportion each accommodation property type contributed to the total guest nights hosted in January 2022.

Figure 2: Total guest nights per accommodation property type for January 2021 and January 2022.

Only backpacker accommodation, hotels, and large motels and apartments (more than 20 units) experienced a significant (greater than 5 percentage point) decrease in occupancy rate from January 2021 to January 2022 (Figure 3). The national occupancy rates of holiday parks and campgrounds, lodges and boutique accommodation, and small motels and apartments (6-20 units) did not change significantly over the same period.

Figure 3: Occupancy rate by accommodation property type for January 2021 and January 2022.

Regions with increasing occupancy rates tend to be a result of a loss of capacity rather than actual growth

The national occupancy rate for January 2022 fell only 2.7 percentage points (to 48.8%) compared with January 2021 (51.5%). Northland and Auckland decreased the most, falling 9.7 and 9.4 percentage points, respectively. Lake Wānaka and Central Otago increased the most, rising 9.5 and 5.4 percentage points, respectively.

Caution should be taken when interpreting occupancy rates, which is the proportion of available stay unit nights that are actually occupied by guests. Occupancy rates can remain unchanged even as occupied capacity falls. For example, while Rotorua experienced the steepest fall in guest volumes of any RTO over this period, it experienced no meaningful change in occupancy rate between January 2021 (50.2%) and January 2022 (50%). This is because over the same period it also experienced a similarly steep fall in available capacity, from 122,000 units in January 2021 to 93,000 units in January 2022.

Occupancy rates can also increase with fewer occupied units. Lake Wānaka RTO experienced the greatest increase in occupancy rate, increasing 9.5 percentage points from 47.2% in January 2021 to 56.7% in January 2022. The RTO’s occupancy rate increased due to a loss in capacity, which saw available monthly unit capacity drop from 100,000 to 77,000 units over the same period (down 23%). Occupied units only dropped 7% from 47,000 to 44,000.

Bay of Plenty had no change in occupancy rate from January 2021 to January 2022 as available capacity (from 140,700 to 140,900) and occupied capacity (from 90,700 to 90,900) did not change. More guests occupied each unit in January 2022 (from 2.3 to 2.6 guests per unit), which explains why the Bay of Plenty experienced an increase in total guest nights despite a stagnant occupancy rate.

Figure 4: Percentage change in occupancy rate, occupied capacity (stay unit nights occupied) and available capacity (available monthly stay unit capacity) for select regional tourism organisations from January 2021 to January 2022.

The Sustainable Tourism Explorer (STE) has been updated with the new ADP data

ADP data are now available in the STE in the form of interactive graphs. As well as visualising the data, you can customise the graphs and can download them and the related data.

The latest ADP data can be found in the Sustainable Tourism Explorer in the economic resilience section of the economy area. Breakdowns include:

Alternatively, the data can be found on the Accommodation Data Programme dashboard published by Fresh Information.