Accommodation books out as cheap fares snapped up

Australians have received more than 200,000 half-price airline tickets on the first day of the government-subsidized sale. Photo: Rob Homer

Hotels in some of the country’s most popular destinations are not reporting vacancies for the next three weeks as holidaymakers struggle to get half-price tickets, smashing pandemic travel records.

“Nothing is available. We have booked in full until the end of the holiday,” said Tracey Harris of the Caloundra Holiday Center on the Sunshine Coast.

“After that, there is some availability, but things get done very quickly, so you have to get in quickly. I think prices have risen by about 10% due to demand.”

In Gold Coast, many hotels say there are only a few vacancies left in the coming weeks, and booking platform Wotif.com has seen accommodation searches for destinations at the 55% discount on airfare and advises travelers can avoid the big weekends and winter school holidays.

“It’s fantastic to see Australians make the most of the tremendous value they offer and lock their travel plans into 2021 now,” said Wotif CEO Daniel Finch.

“[But] Using a little flexibility will go a long way. Our advice is to combine dates, destinations, how long you plan to stay away and accommodation preferences to make the most of the great deals. “

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Qantas, Jetstar, Virgin and Rex sold more than 200,000 tickets in the first 12 hours of the controversial federal government $ 1.2 billion campaign, with Virgin seeing ticket sales up 600 percent and Flight Center reporting transactions 32% on the previous post -COVID-19 record when the borders reopened in December last year.

The sale of 800,000 discounted tickets, which started on Thursday, April 1 at 12.01 am, will continue until it runs out or on July 31, whichever comes first, for travel from mid-April to September 30, 2021 .

Some of the most popular destinations on sale turn out to be Maroochydore for the Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Gold Coast, Adelaide and Darwin.

Half-price fares include, for Virgin, Sydney to the Gold Coast from $ 60 and Melbourne to Cairns from $ 133, Melbourne to the Sunshine Coast from $ 88. from Qantas Sydney to the Sunshine Coast from $ 92 and Adelaide in Melbourne from $ 88 and Jetstar Melbourne in Loneston from $ 35 and Sydney on the Gold Coast from $ 35.

At the same time, all airlines have started their own sales for various other destinations, taking advantage of the growing interest in bookings.

As a result, many people book their flights now and think they will be looking for accommodation later.

“A lot of people see opportunities, they see the Queensland elevator closing and they book a flight right away without thinking about where to stay,” said a spokesman for an unnamed travel company.

“So we anticipate a lot of frustration in the coming days and weeks. We suggest that people should consider booking flights for the less demanding hours.”

In addition, the price of car rental in most destinations has risen with many companies selling large parts of their fleet during the pandemic.

However, travelers want to take advantage of flight offers – which allow dates to be changed later – with online airline ticket registrations, deals and the value of these bookings, all of which have been ruined since COVID-19 launched just a year ago .

“We have had an overwhelming response to government-subsidized half-price flights with website traffic and record-breaking transactions after covid,” said James Kavanagh, chief executive of Flight Center Australia. “It’s a welcome sign that Australians are excited and looking forward to traveling again.

“However, the closure of the border still has detrimental consequences for travelers’ confidence, as we have seen with each state’s response to the Brisbane blockade.”

At Bookings.com, where a recent study found that 63 percent of travelers are now much more aware of the prices for their plans, the company predicted a constant “frenzy” over cheap fares and then a hunt. accommodation promotions.

However, many may find it difficult to book accommodation for their chosen dates, with some of the most popular destinations reporting vacancies only in the coming months.

In Tasmania, The Sebel in Launceston said it was crowded at the moment, the Crowne Plaza in Alice Springs was also very busy and The Seahaven Resort in Noosa was very busy “with only a few places during the winter months”.

Meanwhile, on Kangaroo Island, in the Aurora Ozone apartments, Bonnie Warren said: “We have so many emails booking online since the start of airline ticket sales, it’s unbelievable.”

The short stay platform The Stayz has jumped in demand for accommodation across the country, while in Uluru, there has been a booking shutdown at the three Ayers Rock Resort hotels, with another hotel reopening in late June.

“We are enjoying strong occupancy and the outlook for the coming months is growing positively,” said Matt Cameron-Smith, CEO of Voyages Indigenous Australia. “We encourage travelers to make their reservations much earlier.”

Hot tickets

Sunshine Coast

Jetstar $ 53 from Sydney, $ 72 from Melbourne Virgin Australia $ 70 from Sydney, $ 88 from Melbourne Qantas $ 93 from Sydney, $ 100 from Melbourne.

Cairns

Jetstar $ 83 from Sydney, $ 92 from Melbourne Virgin Australia $ 108 from Sydney, $ 133 from Melbourne Qantas $ 122 from Sydney, $ 154 from Melbourne.

Golden Coast

Jetstar $ 44 from Sydney, $ 49 from Melbourne Virgin Australia $ 60 from Sydney, $ 78 from Melbourne Qantas $ 77 from Sydney, $ 97 from Melbourne.

Adelaide

Jetstar $ 63 from Sydney, $ 49 from Melbourne Virgin Australia $ 70 from Melbourne, $ 90 from Sydney Qantas $ 88 from Melbourne, $ 108 from Sydney.

Darwin

Jetstar $ 102 from Sydney. Virgin Australia $ 145 from Melbourne Qantas $ 177 from Melbourne, $ 179 from Sydney.

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