New Zealand holiday homeowners are reporting a surge in bookings from Australia as news of the potential Trans-Tasman bubble opening spreads, according to one of the nation’s leading holiday management specialists.
With NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern set to announce a date that quarantine-free travel with Australia can begin on April 6, new data shows an increase in speculative bookings of 117% over the month prior.
Marked increase in bookings and enquiries
Zaina Razzaq, spokesperson for Bachcare, New Zealand’s largest holiday home management firm, says their figures show a marked increase in Australian travellers researching and booking accommodation across the Tasman – despite not having confirmation of a quarantine-free travel bubble.
She says unlike previous years where the focus was on ski holidays, the new figures show Australians are seeking regions known for their beaches, food and wine.
“What is coming through in our research this year is a surprising lack of bookings around New Zealand ski fields such as Queenstown and Ohakune.
“At this time of year, we would typically be seeing an influx of Australian’s booking their accommodation for a midwinter ski holiday.”
Bookings focused on beaches and wineries
According to Razzaq, the bookings are concentrated around beaches and vineyards.
“The feedback we are getting is that a lot of people want to spend time reconnecting with family members living in New Zealand – many of [whom they] have been unable to see for over a year now.”
The top 10 locations for Australians booking in New Zealand are Raglan, Tauranga, Waiheke, Marlborough, Mount Maunganui, Marlborough Sounds, Martinborough, Akaroa, Whangamata and Hanmer.
Razzaq says that while there are fewer confirmed bookings for Queenstown than expected at this time of year, this region in the lower South Island is the most popular search term – suggesting that travellers are researching and preparing for when quarantine-free travel is announced.
Bookings made for as early as this month
She says holiday home bookings from across the Tasman are being made for as early as this month, with others concentrated around the summer of 2022.
Razzaq says pre-Covid almost a third (29%) of Australian bookings at this time of the year were for Queenstown followed by Canterbury (14%), Coromandel (14%) and Taupo (9%).
“What we believe the data is showing us is that Australian’s looking to travel here for skiing in a specific seasonal time frame are waiting for confirmation of the bubble to open before they book.
“Conversely, travellers who are more flexible in their travel time frames are making bookings in regions either well known for their wine production – such as Waiheke, Marlborough and Martinborough – or coastal areas such as Raglan, Tauranga, Mt Maunganui, Akaroa and Whangamata.”