Tourism is the real winner of Rugby World Cup 2003 with accommodation bookings for Australia made via the web rocketing to an all time high. Travelling patterns released by the country’s largest accommodation e-wholesaler, Flairview Travel, reports that hotel bookings for Australia, made through the company’s two websites - HotelClub.com and RatesToGo.com , grew over 150% compared to the same period last year.
With representation in ten offices worldwide, HotelClub.com and RatesToGo.com attracts over 3 million unique visitors around the world on a monthly basis. The number of bookings to Australian hotels by overseas visitors increased by 125% vis-à-vis the same period last year while domestic bookings increased by 171%.
“What is positive about this increase is that the strong growth in the domestic market is mirrored by that of the international market,” said Flairview Travel’s Director of Marketing, Ms Chloe Lim
Of the ten countries that made the most number of bookings for Australia in October and November, seven countries (Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand, United States of American, Japan, Canada and Ireland) were participants of the Rugby World Cup 2003. Correspondingly, the number of people searching for accommodation in Australia increase by over 151% compared to the same period last year.
“After a relatively soft start, Rugby World Cup 2003 built up its momentum and has certainly lived up to business expectations to date. While it is a smaller scale event compared to the Olympics in 2000, the key benefit of the Rugby World Cup is that it is held Australian wide. This allows tourism benefits to be distributed directly across all regions. Strong performances from key cities such as Sydney, Melbourne Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra were in line with expectations. At the same time, bookings for regional centres such as Launceston, Gosford, Wollongong and Townsville, where early matches were played, were also significantly higher compared to last year, with an increment of up to 100%.” said Ms Lim
While some companies and agencies have reported that the event did not bring a significant increase in volume and sales, Flairview Travel attributes its strong growth to being able to meet consumer needs and expectations.
“Even when travelling to attend a major event, consumers will still continue to seek value and search for suitable price propositions. With our two websites - HotelClub.com and RatesToGo.com, we are able to meet the needs of general consumers. HotelClub.com provides discounted hotel rates with no time limitations ensuring consumers the ability to book and confirm hotels ahead of time at competitive rates. RatesToGo.com, our last minute service, provides consumers who needs accommodation urgently the ability to secure hotel bargains that are released nearer to the matches.” said Ms Lim
“On the whole, we believe that Rugby World Cup 2003 has stimulated the Australian tourism industry on many levels. It is always important to leverage on such special events to encourage domestic travel as well as inbound travel. In addition to short term increase in demand and bookings, we believe there will be long term tangible benefits to the entire travel industry ”