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It’s Boom Time For Brisbane

November 6, 2018 Business News No Comments Email Email

Brisbane can shrug off its reputation of being the country cousin to Sydney and Melbourne with the northern State experiencing a boom in visitor numbers, business travel and property development.

The latest City Focus report from Flight Centre Travel Group’s 4th Dimension Business Travel Consulting, reveals that in the first half of 2018, 11.1 million inbound and outbound travellers passed through Brisbane Airport with 74% of people travelling domestically.

New hotels to open their doors to business in the first 6 months of 2018 included the Comfort Inn North Brisbane, Novotel Brisbane South Bank and Quest Springfield Central. Recently opened and getting rave reviews from locals is the Emporium Hotel South Bank, James Street’s Calile Hotel and the W Hotel Brisbane, along with the Adina Apartment Brisbane and The Westin Brisbane.

Adding to this activity is a surge in business travel activity and spend, with corporate travel specialists FCM Travel Solutions reporting a 12% growth in business travel investment from its Queensland clients.

Regional General Manager for FCM in Queensland and Northern Territory, Shelley Poten said the 12% increase in business travel spend was recorded for the 2017-18 financial year with strong growth coming from the finance, services and resources sectors.

“We’re seeing Queensland’s business community forging ahead with a lot more start-up businesses emerging,” Shelley said. “Brisbane is becoming a popular spot for tech start-ups largely due to its affordability. Compared to other major cities in the country, Brisbane offers lower average hotel room rates, which appeals to the corporate travel market as well as the conferencing sector.

“Despite the falling Australian dollar and increasing domestic airfares, the state’s business culture and domestic travel trends remain strong. We haven’t seen an economic slowdown in Queensland at all, in fact it’s the opposite and we’re also noticing a gradual increase in regional Queensland travel.

Shelley said accommodation rates in mining towns were rising on the back of increased demand and corporate investment in the mining and resources sectors during the past 2 to 3 years.

Shelley believes there is further growth on the horizon for Queensland’s already healthy economy.

“Despite a very cost-conscious business environment, we’re not seeing companies reigning in their business travel. Our corporate customers are reaping the benefits of having more to choose from for their hotel stays, conferencing properties and air travel product,” she said.

“Additionally, our corporate customers are heading down the path of decentralising their travel programs, which is an interesting trend in the corporate space. This program strategy empowers company employees to make educated travel choices that are in policy and appropriate for the type of business travel they are conducting, whether that be conferencing, long or short stays or regional travel.”

4D’S CITY FOCUS ON BRISBANE

Accommodation

This year has delivered a slew of new properties across the Brisbane accommodation market including a mix of apartments and 4 and 5-star properties, located in the CBD, surrounds and suburban locations.

Hotel rates in Brisbane are likely to stay flat with the new properties adding capacity to the accommodation market this year and into 2019.

4D’s report indicated that Brisbane’s average room rate for first half 2018 was $185, comparing favourably to Sydney at $271 and Melbourne, $213.

FCM’s Shelley Poten said that the new hotels were being well received by their clients.

“They are providing greater choice in some good locations and bringing a competitive element to the hotel scene,” she said.

“Brisbane is really positioning itself as an ideal conferencing destination, particularly for businesses wanting unique or new properties for small to medium sized conferences. Plus the city offers competitive accommodation rates when compared to Perth, Melbourne, Sydney, Hobart or Canberra.

“We’re expecting some of these new hotels will become part of our clients’ preferred hotel programs over the coming months,” she said.

Air travel

Strong inbound and outbound travel on the back of buoyant tourism and business sectors is leading to a second-half airfare increase of 5% – 8% on key routes from Brisbane according to 4D.

The findings are the result of a benchmarking study that compares tickets purchased from Flight Centre Travel Group’s corporate and retail businesses from January-August 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

For the next 12 months 4D is forecasting double-digit seat growth for Brisbane based on strong domestic passenger demand. The report shows Qantas has 39.5% of the domestic market share out of Brisbane (-1.3% on 2017), Virgin Australia has 38.2% (+1.9% on 2017), Jetstar 14.3% and Tigerair 6.4% (both flat on 2017.)

Additionally, there are 27 airlines serving 31 international destinations from Brisbane with Qantas holding 18.2% seat share to 9 destinations with Virgin Australian next, at 16.8% to 11 destinations.

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