Bargains galore at top hotels
PHONES are ringing off the hook ahead of stage two of the coronavirus road map, with hotels offering huge discounts and value packages in the hopes of kickstarting what tourism bodies say will be a long and difficult economic recovery.
Coronavirus travel restrictions have 'absolutely decimated' the accommodation industry, according Accommodation association CEO Dena Long.
"We've been running at occupancy sub 5 per cent … businesses can't operate like that," he said.
Mr Long said the 'green shoots' of recovery were beginning to emerge with the announcement that Queenslanders permitted to travel and stay at locations up to 250km from their home from June 12.
However, proper rejuvenation was still a 'long time away'.
"We've provided advice to our members saying it's time - particularly in Queensland - to start promoting," he said.
"But we're looking at a market that's maybe 50 per cent of what it was going in. because there's no international and you won't have any visitation from other states."
To capitalise on stage two relaxations, Hotels across Queensland are offering value packages and massive discounts.
Spicers luxury retreats across the state have rolled out exclusive, one-time only 'Birthversary' packages encouraging Queenslanders to relive special occasions that were impacted by the crisis.
"We've included things like massages, room upgrades and bike hire … you wouldn't normally see us package things up like this," Ms Johnson said.
The Retreat at Peregian Beach has slashed rates by 30 per cent 'in the hopes that people will come out on holidays'.
"Positivity is really high at the moment … we've had a lot of bookings over the past few days," Owner Dan Gleeson said.
"I think there's a lot of people dying to get out at the moment."
However, other accommodation providers say they've been limited to full fares, unable to sacrifice revenue after the financial blow from the closures.
Even without promotions, Maleny retreat Secrets on the Lake had no problems drawing attention.
"We've gone from no one in the office to twice as busy as normal," since the announcement Owner Aldy Johnston said.
"People are just happy to pay what it's worth, they're not arguing … I think they might feel sorry for us and don't want to give us a hard time.
"I don't think people are after the discount as much getting a true escape from everything they've had to go through."
That 'escape' was the marketing priority for Visit Sunshine Coast CEO Simon Latchford.
The tourism body will launch a Taste of Escape campaign as an appetiser for June's relaxed travel restrictions, in the hopes of increasing intrastate visitation and compounding what was already a "really rich drive market.
"With travel restrictions currently in place our aim is to inspire people by connecting with the region's rich tapestry of sounds and senses … as we move towards the next stage of travel in Queensland," Mr Latchford said.
The program aims to catalyse rejuvenation across the coast's accommodation and tourism industries, in line with the easing restrictions.
"Stage two will change everything because people can stay overnight which then flows onto restaurants and cafes which puts some turbocharging on the business economy," Mr Latchford said.
"From the Sunshine Coast's perspective that 250km radius represents around three million people.
"We've got to look at the potential opportunity in it."
However, the Accommodation Association strictly emphasised that while stage two signalled progress, further relaxations were vital for long term rejuvenation.
"It's not going to be enough for the Queensland tourism industry to survive on intra-regional travel," Mr Long said.
"Over 85 per cent of all business comes from outside, we need the Queensland border opened as quickly as (is safely) possible."
And in the meantime: "book direct".
"If you want to support Queensland accommodation providers and the Queensland tourism industry the best thing you can do is jump on the website of a hotel or more importantly pick up the phone." Mr Long said.
"That's when you get everything, if there is an offer going you'll hear about it, you'll get all the extra, because we're not paying a big commission on the booking," Mrs Johnston said.
Spicers Balfour: Suite upgrade, complimentary parking, Wi-Fi and a la carte breakfast
Republic Apartments Brisbane City: Free Parking, 10 per cent off with Direct Bookings
Emporium South Bank: Save $105 on free valet parking on River View Apartments. $175 per night for city view apartments
FV by Peppers: Save 10 per cent on 2+ night stays
W hotel: 'Take A Stay-Cay' package breakfast for two, parking, 2PM late check-out, room upgrade and Champagne from $409 per night
The Retreat Peregian: 30 per cent off all bookings
Eumarella Lake Noosa: 10 per cent off 3-4 night stays, 20 per cent off 5+ night stays
The Point Coolum: Stay 3, pay 2 on Bookings until June 29
Spicers Clovelly: 2 night Birthversary packages 3 course dinners, matched wines, spa suite and breakfasts from $1198
Narrows Escape: 'Buy 3, stay 4 deal' for one Night free on 4 night bookings
QUBE Broadbeach: 40 per cent off selected rooms until June 30
Iconic Kirra Beach: "Freedom" special, 25 per cent off for bookings after June 12
The Bunyip: One night free with 3 night stays plus free breakfast
Witches Falls' new 'Wine and Dine Special': $720 for 2 night stay + 2 course dinner and local breakfast hamper
Ketchup's Bank Glamping: $20 off per night; hampers and wine included with 'Romance' and 'Mater Glamping' specials
Greenlee Cottages' COVID-19 recovery deal: 2 nights + breakfast for $340, homegrown macadamias included
Spicers Peak Lodge: 'All Inclusive getaway experience' expanded to include welcome massages, a champagne lookout walk and star gazing experience, from $2398 for two nights
Originally published as Bargains galore at top hotels