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Vivid Sydney’s lights heat up hoteliers’ winter nights

May 4, 2017 OTA News No Comments Email Email

The high-energy voltage from Vivid Sydney Festival could flow on to Sydney hoteliers in the coming weeks, with Expedia group data revealing nearly 80% of stays were booked during the festival or within one month of the opening night in 2016, boosting occupancy and higher room rates during the traditionally quieter months.

Last year’s Vivid Sydney attracted a record 2.31 million[1] visitors and with more than 260 events planned over 23 nights this year, the 2017 festival is shaping up to be the biggest and best Vivid Sydney event ever. The annual event continues to go from strength to strength as evidenced by Expedia’s group data from the past two years. Hotel partners in Sydney experienced a 40% year-on-year uplift in demand during the Vivid Sydney festival last year[2]. While they enjoyed the steady business from domestic travellers, which grew at a healthy pace of 30% year-on-year, international demand grew phenomenally by 2.5 times.

This solid growth comes at the beginning of winter, when occupancy for Sydney hotels is traditionally lowest. According to a 2016 STR report, occupancy from May through to July averaged 82.4% in comparison to peaks of 90% in November and February. Nevertheless, during these anticipated lulls, among Expedia group trends, data2shows that Vivid Sydney festival alone contributed nearly 40% share of demand for the entire winter period. In line with the growing popularity of Vivid Sydney each year, this share was up in 2016 by over 10% compared to the previous year.

Aside from the noteworthy share of demand brought forth by the Vivid Sydney event, hoteliers will be pleased to learn that the average daily rates (ADRs) during the festival were about 5% higher than non-Vivid Sydney rates in winter 2016. Importantly, Vivid Sydney helps hoteliers fill their rooms during weekends when business travel drops. Weekend demand during Vivid proved lucrative for hotels as they not only fetched the highest ADRs, demand was also up by 10% compared to non-event weekends in the winter season 2016.

Drew Bowering, senior director of market management at Expedia group, said “Vivid Sydney presents an exciting opportunity for Sydney tourism operators and although it has traditionally been associated as an attraction for domestic markets, the home-grown festival has been garnering international attention in recent years. This is great news for Sydney hoteliers and the broader tourism sector as international guests tend to stay longer, spend more and book farther in advance than domestic travellers. Although Vivid Sydney festival turns on its lights at the end of this month, it’s not too late for hoteliers to capture this growing market with the large majority of Expedia group customers booking stays during the festival or within one month of the opening night. By deep diving into our data from past festivals, we hope to help hoteliers leverage the growing number of travellers visiting Sydney during the cooler months, when visitor numbers can sometimes slow,” he said.

For hotel chains and independents alike, understanding how to maximise profits and enhance the customer experience during Vivid Sydney festival can generate positive results. Expedia offers the following tips for hotels to get the most out from Vivid Sydney 2017:

  • Target the spontaneous traveller: Nearly 40% of Vivid Sydney stays2 in 2016 were booked during the festival period and another 40% were booked within a month of the festival[3]. This shows that the majority of Vivid Sydney goers book their accommodation at the very last minute. With this insight, hoteliers can utilise the Sell Tonightfeature on Expedia Partner Central to push out same day rates and offer availability to spontaneous travellers, with the option to provide these special rates to people who are most likely to be booking via mobile devices.
  • Offer additional value adds your audience wants: Late checkouts, complimentary gifts for the kids, or warm beverages can go a long way for a crowd that is bound to stay up late, travel with kids, and want to stay warm.
  • DNSW Vivid Sydney Expedia Media Solutions Campaign: Destination New South Wales partnered with Expedia Media Solutions to promote a variety of activities and offerings in the region through a bespoke digital media hub and campaign, which includes a feature on the Vivid Sydney Festival. The hub provides interactive and compelling information for travellers including special offers for accommodation, flights and packages. Hotel partners who are keen to find out more should connect with your Sydney based market manager.
  • Encourage guests to stay longer: With so many families traveling from across the country, hoteliers should look to incentivise them to experience all the city has to offer with a discount or value add based on their length of stay to help you shoulder Friday and Sunday nights.

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