Feedback from representatives of Cape Town Tourism's accommodation sector membership has been compiled into a joint report by Cape Town Tourism and Horwath HTL, that forecasts slight growth trends across occupancy and average room rates indicators for the months November 2012 - January 2013.
At the time of the survey (November 2012), accommodation establishments situated in the City Centre and Atlantic Seaboard were forecasting strong room-night demand and positive average room rates, in the November 2012 through January 2013 period.
The report found that the accommodation providers polled about the Nov 2012 - Jan 2013 period in Cape Town were expecting an average of 70.76% occupancy, as well as an average room rate of R1136 and a R803.83 average REVPAR*. Following a trend towards last minute bookings it is imagined that these estimates may well be surpassed.
In a similar (not the same sample) Cape Town Tourism membership survey for December 2011 and January 2012 it was found that 60.4% of respondents reported occupancy levels of over 60%.
Importance of performance monitoring
Horwath HTL's South African director, Michelè de Witt, stresses the importance of monitoring performance in order to plan strategically for tourism marketing; "Our partnership with Cape Town Tourism has allowed us to grow a good sample size of key contributors and we hope that more members of the industry will see the benefit of participation in order to further strengthen the accuracy of the results."
Says Cape Town Tourism CEO, Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold; "Even though we are optimistic about the tourism outlook for this peak season and there is a tangible presence of visitors in the streets, shopping malls and at many of our top attractions, we are not expecting a record season of arrivals and bookings. Part of this presence is an increased visibility of visitors from Asian markets. We are seeing considerable demand for accommodation in the City Bowl, V&A Waterfront and along the Atlantic Seaboard and expect these areas to be a hive of activity over the next few weeks. Feedback from establishments is that visitors are booking shorter stays, predominantly between the third week of December and early January, and negotiating hard on price."
Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro are working in close partnership to ensure improved dispersal of visitors across the greater Cape Town region and beyond.
Earlier start to peak season
Wesgro CEO, Nils Flaatten, comments; "We have many amazing wine, golf and cycling routes. Adventure tourism is becoming an interesting focus area for tourism over the summer season with a wide range of water sports being a favorite among domestic visitors. There is also a large uptake in foreign arrivals during the festive season with these arrivals taking advantage of the shopping experiences in the V&A Waterfront, trips to Robben Island and Table Mountain, whilst domestic visitors are experiencing a greater appetite for festivals and events across the province. Over the last six months we have had more than 600 festivals, markets and events taking place within Cape Town and the Western Cape, and we are seeing an increase in this going forward."
Many tourism players, in particular, major attractions, reported an earlier start to peak season with increased activity during November.
Says Sabine Lehmann, MD of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company: "We had a record November, the best in ten years. We are also expecting a good December but have been adversely affected by the strong winds experienced during the first week of December. This means that our operational hours were affected and it is always hard to catch up business days lost due to poor weather."
Invest in creative, innovative visitor experiences
Horst Frehse, GM, the Twelve Apostles Hotel, comments; "The Twelve Apostles peak season started much earlier this year, and we're pleased to report that we have been fully booked for the Christmas period for several weeks already. Generally, our reservations are on par with the 2011 Christmas/New Year period, but it was encouraging seeing the demand and enquiries much earlier, and extending for a longer period, well into 2013. There is, however, still a very strong 'short lead' demand.
"Looking forward, our advance bookings for January and February 2013 are very encouraging and we expect a 20% increase in demand for rooms during this period. At this point, there are very few days in February that we have accommodation available. Bookings are 20% domestic and 80% international over the Christmas and New Year period, but 60% / 40% respectively for the whole of December."
Concludes Du Toit-Helmbold; "Whilst Cape Town has an exceptional tourism offering, it's becoming clear across all markets that visitors are hungry for new and interesting experiences. Remaining competitive means that the industry really needs to invest in creative and innovative visitor experiences in the near future."
* Revenue per available room, or RevPAR for short, is a ratio commonly used to measure financial performance in the hospitality industry. The metric, which is a function of both room rates and occupancy, is one of the most important gauges of health among hotel operators.
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