This all changed last week as a result of an article I wrote recently http://www.eglobaltravelmedia.com.au/2-headline-news/perth-and-western-australias-incredibly-high-costs-dilemma.html about what I felt to be the astronomic cost of hotel accommodation, beer in pubs and pub and restaurant meals in Perth, to which the response has been just amazing.
While the statutory tourism organisations like Tourism WA and Tourism Australia have been very quiet indeed, probably pursuing a “do not engage” policy, the response from consumer media and consumers, residents and visitors to Perth has been incredible and overwhelmingly in agreement with what I said.
I have also been interviewed on all major TV channels in WA, several local WA radio stations, the West Australian newspaper kicking it all off, running a number of features including http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/regional/southwest/a/-/news/14129209/avoid-wa-says-travel-website, then in response, http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/14156644/tourist-operators-defend-prices and http://l.yimg.com/ea/doc/-/120706/gen07costofstuffp11_17vdbge-17vdbgg.pdf, which surely has to confirm this is a very big issue for Perth and WA.
Even in this last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald, thousands of kms away from Perth, the content of my article and what I said was confirmed by Courtney Trenwith in her article http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/perth-hotel-rates-rise-again-20120706-21m03.html, with the header, “Perth hotel rates rise again”.
Ms Trenwith kicks off her article saying, “The combination of high prices and low availability was good for hoteliers but is squeezing out leisure tourists”, adding, “The average Perth hotel price has increased even further to nearly $210 per night – $45 more than the national average.” And that is the average, right from the bottom to the top, with one hotel claiming rack rate of over $1,000 this week on wotif!
Now while the vast majority of the respondents to my article have been in full agreement with what I said, others including Tourism Council of WA have tried the spin doctor approach, saying I am wrong and all is fine in Perth and WA.
Tourism Council of WA CEO Evan Hall told The West Australian, “Observations it was more expensive to holiday in Perth were untrue”, claiming that the official consumer price index statistics say that domestic travel in Perth was 6 per cent cheaper than Brisbane and 11 per cent cheaper than in Sydney. At the same time, rather to the contrary, he called for “schemes to allow more hospitality workers into WA, in a bid to reduce costs for tourism operators”. Mr Hall, I suggest you run a confidential, mystery shopper poll of your hotel, bar, pub and restaurant members to get some accurate and up to date information as I did…….and you will be shocked!
Of course though, we have to remember that Tourism Council of WA is a member based and funded organisations of over 1,000 industry operators, so we could hardly expect anything else from Mr Hall, or he may have incurred the wrath of his members aka they will take their membership money elsewhere!
Australian Hotels Association WA CEO avoided the Perth costs issue in The West Australian, saying value for money could still be found in WA, with the average room rate in the Golden Outback $120, $156.33 in the South West and $150.31 on the Coral Coast, adding “In the regions, average room rates are competitive with what tourists would find elsewhere”. What about Perth Mr Woods, that’s where we are talking about and also other areas affected by the resources boom? Oh by the way the Australian Hotels Association is also member based and funded organisation.
Me thinks they both have vested interests!
Well guys, well done for trying your best though, but I am afraid, all this further confirms I am right and you are wrong!
Clearly there is a great deal of what some charmingly call dynamic pricing , aka in my terms, “charging as much as you possibly can, when you can”, or “making hay while the sun shines”, translating into “ripping as much cash out of customers as possible”, going on in Perth and some areas of WA, while the mining and resources boom is happening, but this has to be bad for tourism right now and will ultimately have a catastrophic effect on Perth and WA when the mining and resources boom is over.
Industry Insider Commentary and Opinion by John Alwyn-Jones, Global Travel Media Special Correspondent