'Nothing is coming in': Motels count the cost of Covid

Motel and hotel owners have made barely any income throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Geoff...
Motel and hotel owners have made barely any income throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. Photo: Geoff Sloan
Motels along accommodation hot spot Riccarton Rd have one thing in common at the moment - vacancy signs.

And the same can be said for motels and hotels throughout Christchurch.

Kauri Motel on Riccarton owner Nicki Myles said it has generated no revenue since level 4, level 3 and level 2 restrictions were put in place.

“We’re down about 100 per cent on revenue. Money’s only going out and nothing is coming in,” she said.

She said the motel has eight units and has room for 20 people, but no one is staying at the moment.

It had three people stay at level 3 and none so far at level 2.

In spite of times being tough, she is optimistic the number of guests from other parts of New Zealand will increase and the motel will survive.

“I’m feeling quite optimistic as we go further into level 2. As time goes by I think we’ll see more confidence building in the general population.

“We’re committed to finding a way through this and looking forward to the market picking up,” she said.

Photo: Geoff Sloan
Photo: Geoff Sloan
Kauri Motel on Riccarton has remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and there has been no reluctance to let guests stay in spite of health risks.

The lull in guests has been used as an opportunity to complete minor renovations at the motel.

Christchurch motel sector spokesman and Comfort Inn Riccarton owner, Bob Pringle, said revenue has taken similar hits at the majority of motels across Christchurch.

“Usually it’s February, March and April is when we get the money to pay May, June, July’s debts," he said.

“Not having that money in those three months, you’re out of money for a start when you’ve got absolutely no one [staying]."

New Zealand Hotel Owners Association executive director Amy Robens said Canterbury hotels have suffered significantly because of Covid-19.

She said there has been “hundreds of millions” of dollars in financial losses.

Amy Robens. Photo: Supplied
Amy Robens. Photo: Supplied
Robens said hotel occupancy rates for April were at just 14.5 per cent compared to April last year when they were at 81.1 per cent.

She said revenue per available room at Christchurch hotels from January to April this year was $86.45 compared to $153.71 during the same period last year.

Robens believes allowing domestic travel alone will not be enough for Canterbury and New Zealand’s accommodation sector to recover, and the key is to open up our border to Australia.

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