The australian tourismmarket is changing. The demographic of tourists in Australia is moving away from Australian residents to international visitors, and this represents an opportunity for savvy holiday rental property managers.
It is the holiday rental businesses that recognise and adapt to the changes taking place, which will thrive, by targeting and responding to the expectation of the influx of international visitors. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Overseas Arrivals
and Departures (cat. no. 3401.0) shows the domestic tourism market has steadily declined by 1.1 per cent each year since 2001. Factors such as increased competition in overseas tourism areas, low cost airfares and the strength of the Australian dollar have encouraged Australians to venture overseas for their holidays. On the flip side, many of these factors in Australia, coupled with increasing disposable income in Asia, encourage international visitors to come here, and an abundance of open space, natural beauty, quality food and wine keep them returning.
According to data from Tourism Research Australia (Tourism Research Australia, International Visitor Survey, December quarter 2010.), in 2011 international visitors accounted for 42.5 per cent of Australian tourism visitor nights. Since 2001, visitor arrivals have increased on average by 2.2 per cent each year. Top source countries for international visitors to Australia are China, New Zealand, UK, USA and Japan. The average duration of stay for international holiday visitors was 27 nights compared to an average stay of 3.9 nights for domestic travellers.
Traditionally, international visitors have chosen hotels as their favourite accommodation type. However, last year more than 3.5 times the number of international visitors chose to stay in a holiday rental over a hotel, resort or motel. (Based on Tourism Research Australia, December
Quarter 2011 data comparing stays at a rented house, apartment, flat and unit to stays at a hotel, resort, motel or motor inn.) Not only are international visits growing, but so is the holiday rentals sector. More people are realising the benefits of having space for the whole family to spread out, cook and eat together, relax by a private pool and create special memories.
By far the largest growth of inbound tourists last year were from China, increasing by 19.4 per cent to 543,000 visitors, and contributing $3.5 billion to the Australian economy. Chinese annual tourist visitor numbers are forecast to exceed a million by 2020. (Tourism Forecasting Committee, Forecast 2011 Issue 2, Tourism Research Australia.)
The second largest growth area for international visitors is now India; Total Inbound Economic Value (TIEV) from India has grown by 14.9 per cent on average each year since 2001, making it the second-fastest growing market. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, Overseas Arrivals and Departures (cat. no. 3401.0).
No matter what country you operate in, the art to keeping your holiday rentals booked throughout the year relies on the simple things such as responding promptly to enquiries, calling up enquirers to answer any questions and highlighting all of the best features of the property. While many time-poor businesses struggle to do this, it does eventually pay off in more bookings.
Following up with an email outlining the rates, features and booking policy of your rental also keeps you at the top of potential bookers’ minds. When you think about all the trouble you go to get new leads, if someone doesn’t respond to your initial email then a simple reminder a week or two later may also be all it takes to finally clinch the deal.
Make sure you keep your online holiday rental listings, including rates, photos, headline and calendar updated on a regular basis. Travellers make enquiries to properties they know are available and within their price range. Don’t forget to make your listings stand out by updating property headlines or adding special offers during slow months. Keeping a database of former customers and contacting them with deals is another great way to attract repeat visitors.
As this article has shown, the holiday rental industry is becoming more competitive, so it is imperative not to forget the basics; and with the decline in domestic tourism, now is the perfect time to target international travellers flocking to Australia.