The $80 million Novotel Christchurch Airport hotel opened its doors this week, the 4.5-star property a stunning addition to a city looking to dramatically increase visitation, particularly from Kiwis.
Spanning six floors, the Accor hotel features 200 guestrooms, each designed with high-end finishes including marble, copper tiling and extensive American Oak panelling.
The cutting-edge architectural design by Warren and Mahoney Architects, the team behind Novotel Auckland Airport, includes floor-to-ceiling windows across a top floor providing panoramic views of the runway and Southern Alps.
Located 15 minutes from the city centre, the hotel features the Food Exchange restaurant and social hub, a gym, car parking, kids’ corner and ten conference and function spaces.
Senior vice president operations for Accor New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia, Gillian Millar said, “This is a stunning development and certainly not your average airport hotel.
“Christchurch has enjoyed its highest visitor expenditure on record, reaching a total of $3 billion, for the year ending June 2019, with visitors from Australia and Asia accounting for just over half of the region’s international tourism expenditure.
“Increasing tourist numbers and such positive visitor expenditure figures highlight the need for a sophisticated accommodation option at Christchurch Airport.”
But while the new hotel is primarily aimed at an international market, Christchurch accom operators, KiwiRail and ChristchurchNZ have joined forces to target domestic travellers.
The Ōtautahi Visitation Partnership involves 13 Christchurch hotels along with the city’s promotions agency and KiwiRail’s Great Journeys division, which operates Interislander ferries and scenic trains.
The public-private venture will dedicate $1 million to promote the city over three years, targeting North Island Kiwis in the spring and autumn shoulder periods.
The move is prompted by 2019 research by ChristchurchNZ and Air New Zealand showing Christchurch is not seen as a tourist destination by young Auckland and Wellington residents.
“We’re targeting people under 40 in those cities,” ChristchurchNZ commercial general manager Boyd Warren told Stuff.
“If we can make it cool for under-40s it will be cool for other people as well. But it doesn’t work the other way.”
Warren told the news agency accom operators were the instigators of the partnership, with funds likely to be spent on initiatives such as Air New Zealand campaigns and hosted visits for influencers and travel agents.
“We’ve observed targeted rates and bed taxes tariffs going on in other cities. The hotels here wanted to do something voluntarily, rather than just hoping that the public sector would help them out,” he said.
While Tourism Industry Aotearoa figures show all New Zealand’s major cities except Auckland enjoying an increase in revenue per available room in the year to July, Christchurch figures remained static.
With the Novotel among a raft of developments delivering some 3000 new beds across the city, and new convention centre and stadium developments delayed, Christchurch needs more visitors to fill rooms outside of summer season.