Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Good signs ahead

A number of my posts over the last few months have been about the gloomy state of the Australian hotel market due to the economic slowdown. Thankfully, things start to be looking up again. We're not seeing the full flow-on effect as yet and we have a looooong way to go to get back to normality but some positive signs are there.

Events are starting to fill cities again and a number of cities are back to being busy on a regular basis. Canberra has been pretty steady thanks to a number of sittings of parliament. Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth have been slowly picking up again while Darwin is always very busy at this time of year.

One of the biggest frustrations over the last few months has been that we are still getting some really great enquiries (groups, long-stays, etc) but just haven't ended up booking any of them. Whether its just companies "kicking tyres" or they aren't getting the rates approved by their accounts, its disappointing to get the enquiry and not be able to close the deal. The group bookings and the long-stays are the cream for our business as they take the same time to do as a normal reservation but are obviously worth a lot more.

So it was nice last week to finally close a really good booking and one that I didn't expect to. I had one of the travel agent's we look after call me needing help with accommodation in Geelong. Sure, not a capital city and not somewhere we normally look after but for the right enquiry I'll definitely make an exception. Surprisingly, Geelong is extremely busy over the next month or so with a number of events and the agent needed to find 6 rooms for roughly 6 weeks each. Thankfully one of my friends is the Director of Sales & Marketing at the Four Points by Sheraton Geelong and he was able to work his magic, squeeze them in and give me an excellent rate.

I was actually down in Geelong a month or two ago for my birthday weekend and thanks to my friend we stayed at the hotel. Its in a great location overlooking the bay and I had a nice room overlooking the water (pictured below) ... and paid very little including breakfast and drinks. Two months later, a very good booking for them (and us) ... it obviously pays to have me stay at your hotel! :-)

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