Campervans drop prices

Campervan companies have slashed prices up to 50% during the knockout phase of the Rugby World Cup, as they hope for a case of Advance Australia Fair.

Rental Vehicle Association of New Zealand chief executive Raewyn Bleakley said members were reporting strong bookings during the pool phase, but not for the latter stages of the tournament.

KEA Campers New Zealand operations manager Tamara Schuerlein said "bookings have flooded in" for late August and September. The company's 350-strong fleet was sold out for next month, but October continued to be "soft", with plenty of availability.

"When planning our pricing for Rugby World Cup two years ago we made the call that September would not be as strong as October for motorhome bookings, so we set our prices accordingly," she said. September was pitched as a normal shoulder season price, with October prices set at a normal summer high season rate, she said.

"In hindsight, we can now understand that the pool games have more appeal, as there are 20 teams involved, and the dates and games are set in place, so people can plan themselves."

With the quarterfinals beginning on October 8, "many teams will have been knocked out by then, and no-one knows who will be playing".

"We still expect a surge later in October from the Australians, provided they are still involved, and that is the key.

"No other market will be able to provide volume last minute, only Australia."

Tourism Holdings Ltd marketing general manager Kate Meldrum said bookings for the company's Maui, Britz and Backpacker campers had been strong.

"September went pretty quickly during the pool phase when [visitors] want to travel around and see the country, as they would on a regular holiday."

The 50% discount for the company's Britz and 40% for its Maui campervans during October, was to "stimulate the market".

Australians were most likely to capitalise on deals. Northern hemisphere fans tended to book well in advance, she said.

"Australians will see how their team is faring and hop across if they are doing well."

Earlier this year, former All Black captain Sean Fitzpatrick urged the 85,000 fans expected in New Zealand for the RWC to explore the country.



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