Friday, April 19, 2024

Australian holidaymakers pay through the roof for accommodation as staff shortages bite

Hoteliers in Australia have been forced to limit visitor numbers due to staff shortages and escalating prices. The Hotel Price Index…

By Chan , in Travel , at March 5, 2024

Hoteliers in Australia have been forced to limit visitor numbers due to staff shortages and escalating prices.

The Hotel Price Index of travel booking site Trivago, which analyzes prices from more than 400 booking sites, shows that average hotel rates in Australia have risen dramatically since the pandemic restrictions were eased.

Stephanie Yip is the travel editor for Finder. She said, “Prices are going up every year, but lately they’ve been quite astronomical.”

There has been a pent-up desire for travel. Many of us have been stuck in our homes for the past two years.

According to Trivago’s hotel price index, the average nightly cost for a Sydney hotel room is now over $240. This compares with $206 per night one year ago. Melbourne’s average price is $239 per night, up from just $200 last August.

The massive demand for travel in recent weeks has led to long delays at domestic airports, and destinations that were previously overlooked, such as the outback of South Australia, are now gaining popularity.

Michael Johnson, the CEO of Tourism Accommodation Australia, said that the increase in bookings for accommodation came at a period when the industry was still struggling to find employees.

“We are still more than 100,000 working holidaymakers below the pre-restrictions levels and over 150,000 international students below. “These two are a large proportion of the hotel and hospitality industry,” he said.

Johnson stated that the shortage of staff was forcing many hotels to work at 70-80% capacity. The staff is already stretched and overburdened.

He said that during the recent Vivid Festival in Sydney, many accommodation providers complained about not being able to capitalize on the increased demand. They also claimed they had lost some revenue over the last two years due to lockdowns.

I know of hotels that still need 30-40 staff to run two restaurants but now only operate one. The hotels are not accepting conference bookings because they don’t have enough staff to handle them.

Johnson is confident that the situation will improve with time. He said that the industry was expecting a large influx of working holidaymakers and students in the coming months.

He said that the industry is also seeking new ways to attract local staff and use the existing workforce more effectively, but he called on the government for support.

One idea that has been floated is to give employees who want to supplement their jobs with one or more hospitality shifts each week a tax deduction on their extra income.

Johnson added that the hospitality industry is also working to promote hospitality roles among young Australians better. This includes those who have left the industry after the lockdowns.

He said that reducing the visa processing time for skilled workers would immediately reduce the labor shortage.

Despite all the upward pressure on prices, Yip said holidaymakers should not give up on a midyear escape but should keep an eye out for holiday deals and end-of-financial-year sales.

She advised people who are looking for something more affordable to avoid Queensland and the Snowy Mountains. These areas are experiencing high demand. The average accommodation prices in the Snowy Mountains have increased by 17% since the pandemic began (2019).

Camping and caravanning are popular options for those on a budget, according to Yip.

Trivago reports that the situation is similar internationally, with prices in many European destinations also reaching two-year highs. Yip stated that Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand and Bali were the most affordable for travelers looking for a change of scenery.