Mixed fortunes for hosts after red light, Omicron fears

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The red light change in New Zealand has had a mixed effect on accommodation providers, with business as usual for some and cancellations for others.

Narinder Sagoo, chairman of the Waikato Motel Association and owner of Ulster Lodge, said Things he had no cancellations following the Prime Minister’s Covid-19 announcement on Sunday.

But it is not the vacationers who have occupied it.

“We take care of business,” he said.

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THINGS

Chief Health Officer Ashley Bloomfield said Omicron has started to spread through the community, necessitating a nationwide shift to setting Covid red traffic.

“Companies are always trying to push the work forward, it’s accelerating now.”

He said the motel industry had actually split into two segments, those for the provision of social housing and “more suitable hotel bookings”.

He started seeing business travelers return the second week of January, and his motel is full that week.

Sagoo also warned that accommodation providers needed to be more flexible in the current climate, noting that it had waived cancellation fees, for example.

The business travel industry is not being slowed down by Omicron, said Waikato Motel Association President Narinder Sagoo.

Dominico Zapata / Stuff

The business travel industry is not being slowed down by Omicron, said Waikato Motel Association President Narinder Sagoo.

Astra Motor Lodge manager Rachel Smith also said it was “business as usual”, although she expected cancellations after the traffic lights changed.

Smith believed the fact that no regional travel restrictions were in place had been key to people deciding to stick with their travel plans.

However, for Quantum Lodge Motor Inn manager Wendi Brunton, the 100% occupancy rate has dropped to 76%.

“We had a lot of cancellations,” she said.

Like Sagoo, they had seen an increase in commercial and enterprise customers, but that began to decline following Sunday’s announcement.

“Companies will not allow [their staff] travel, and people don’t want to see them,” she said.

“We have to expect that.”

Narinder Sagoo said his Ulster St motel was full, although others in the area saw cancellations.

Christel Yardley / Stuff

Narinder Sagoo said his Ulster St motel was full, although others in the area saw cancellations.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism managing director Jason Dawson said the biggest impact so far has been felt in the events and venues space.

“At this stage, reservations have been maintained for the accommodation, hospitality and tourism sector for the coming weeks,” he said.

“For many visitors, the Waikato is a great outdoor playground where they can bike and walk or head to the beach to surf, and of course there’s no problem ensuring physical distancing. and other security protocols with these kinds of activities.

The comments follow data from Bachcare, the country’s largest holiday home management company, which showed bookings for January were up 17% from a year earlier.

The data also shows that advance bookings for Auckland’s Birthday Day, which falls on January 29, are up 12% from 2021 and occupancy levels hit 99% during the long weekend.

Visitors coming to Waikato's

Kelly Hodel / Stuff

Visitors coming to Waikato’s “outdoor playground” are unlikely to have their plans affected by the red light change as there will be no physical distancing issues, said Jason Dawson, general manager of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism.

Bachcare spokeswoman Zaina Razzaq said Aucklanders remain the main driver of New Zealand’s domestic tourism industry.

However, they are waiting longer to book breaks, according to Bachcare data.

“We know travellers, especially those in Auckland, are always aware of the potential for environmental change, but we can see that hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm for travel to popular summer destinations.

“Last year, trips would have been booked three to five months in advance, but in areas like the Far North, that average booking time dropped from 92 to 30 days in advance (a 68 % shorter).”

Delivery times in Auckland decreased by 48% to an average booking period of 52 days in advance and in Taupō they fell from 163 to 85 days (47%).

She said the most popular regions for the upcoming anniversary weekend are Coromandel, Northland and Lake Taupō – similar to last year.

“Aucklanders still confidently book for Auckland Birthday Holidays but seem to pick their Birthday weekend to go on Waitangi Day.

“For Waitangi Day in 2021 49% of bookings were from Aucklanders, this year it has fallen to 35% so Aucklanders may want to get away while they can in light of the developments with Omicron or, they may postpone making firm travel plans until the last minute this year.

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