Western Australian Holiday Rentals Boom

Online bookings on the rise as holiday rentals market continues to grow in popularity.

Over three quarters (77%) of bookings received by property owners are now made online with impact of mobile increasing. Occupancy rates across Australia between October and December 2011 for holiday rentals stood at just over a third (34%) an increase of 6% on previous quarter.

Holiday property owners are benefiting from an influx of online bookings as the holiday rentals market continues to grow according to the latest research from the Stayz Group Accommodation Index, which provides a quarterly insight into Australia’s emerging holiday rentals industry. With holidaymakers increasingly turning to ever-popular reviews websites and recommendations from friends and family on social network websites, online bookings now account for 77% of all holiday rental bookings with traditional telephone bookings now accounting for just 6%.

With online bookings surging in popularity, holiday property owners are also recognising the increasing impact of mobile technology on bookings. Over nine in ten owners (92%) expect to see an impact from mobile on their current business in the upcoming Q1 period with 30% of those expecting to see a strong impact. Some 15% of owners have already identified an average of 35 bookings were being made on smartphone devices over the Oct-Dec 2011 period. However, while mobile technology continues to boom, 62% of property owners still feel they are not up to speed with mobile technology that could help them market their property more effectively.

Stayz is optimising its own mobile offering in the coming months that will allow both holiday makers and holiday property owners to take advantage of the growing usage of mobiles.

Western Australia continues to lead the way in the holiday rental market, generating the highest number of rentals between October and December 2011, 13% above the average national occupancy rate of 34%. Queensland was the second most popular state with 39% while Victoria had the lowest occupancy rate of 28%.

Justin Butterworth, business development director at The Stayz Group comments, “In an age where holidaymakers are looking to find, share and book their holidays quickly and easily, it is no surprise that we have witnessed a sharp rise in online bookings over the past 12 months. In addition, we have seen mobile technology becoming increasingly influential with holidaymakers ability to search, share and make bookings with our property owners while on the move. This is another exciting chapter for the holiday rentals market and the opportunities show great potential for further growth as we head into the next quarter.”

The average occupancy nationally was 34% in Oct-Dec 2011, up from 28% between Jul-Sep 2011 as well as recovering from last year’s floods that significantly devastated Queensland and New South Wales. Further encouragement is noted from holiday property owners’ optimistic forecast for the coming months, predicting 45% occupancy for the Jan-Mar 2012 quarter and 46% occupancy for the same period next year (Oct-Dec 2012). The most optimistic forecast came from Western Australian property managers, who predicted 58% occupancy for Oct-Dec 2012 while the lowest came from Victorian property managers, who predicted 38% occupancy for the same period.

Conducted with market research company Nielsen, the SGAI is a quarterly survey of more than 1000 holiday rental property owners and managers and weighted across the Stayz Group’s 40,000 properties nationally.

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