By Ian Neubauer
Publicans in Brisbane are returning to their roots to capitalise on the undersupply of short-term accommodation in the city.
Deloitte’s Hotelbenchmark Global Performance Review found Brisbane is facing a chronic shortage of hotel rooms with an occupancy rate of 84.6 per cent — the highest hotel occupancy rate in the world. And Brisbane’s average room rate of $148.86 is now the second highest in the country after Sydney, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The combination of low vacancies and high average room rates is driving the case for building more hotels in the city. But with only 800 new hotel rooms on the drawing board this year, publicans are moving to fill the void.
Colmslie Hotel proprietor Tom McGuire recently applied for a development approval to add more than 70 four-star rooms to his premises.
“You will find that a lot of hotels that are in the right locations are looking at doing the same thing,” McGuire told The Sunday Mail. “It’s capital intensive but it’s worth it. In Brisbane there is a chronic shortage of rooms.”
AHA Queensland marketing manager Steve Aylward said a number of publicans in the suburbs of Brisbane were adding motel rooms and backpacker hostels to their pubs. But he said health and safety regulations made the refurbishment of rooms in old pubs that formerly offered accommodation a costly proposition.
“The main reason those old hotels no longer provide accommodation is not a lack of demand but the cost of implementing fire regulations,” Aylward said.
“Most of the old hotels are [made of] timber and the cost of adhering to requirements under the fire act makes a conversion prohibitive. But there’s still a bit of it happening.”