Booked out! But bumper weekend delivers new warning
Tourism providers across the state have relished their first sellout weekend since COVID-19, but many say they struggled to prepare for the onslaught of bookings that came "at the last minute".
Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast accommodation providers are urging residents to book early and for longer ahead of the September holidays after being hit by a bombardment of last minute bookings last weekend.
On the Sunshine Coast "It looked like it could have been Easter, Visit Sunshine Coast Interim CEO Craig Davidson said.
"All of our key attractions (said) they were … pretty much at capacity," Mr Davidson said.
"We saw that flow through to all of the accommodation houses up and down the coast."
"People are leaving it until the last minute … we're seeing hotels go from half full to chockers in the space of a day or two."
He said that meant operators could not properly roster or prepare for the visitors.
Roundabout Boat Hire in Noosa saw its "biggest weekend … since COVID" as late bookings poured in last week.
"We started getting a lot of bookings during the week last week … and we were at 100 per cent full over the whole weekend," owner Ian Howcroft said.
Gold Coast operators also recorded "a solid weekend" according to Destination Gold Coast Executive Director of Marketing, Carla Anderson.
Cairns Airport recorded an 11 per cent increase in passengers with an " influx of people enjoying a mini-break" - according to Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Mark Olsen.
Operators are now looking towards the September school holidays with last weekend's visitation "a bit of a promise that we'll get back on our feet".
"It's obviously going to take a long time to catch up on what we lost but at least it gives us something to look forward to," Mr Howcroft said.
However, providers are urging prospective visitors to book longer trips further in advance.
"The biggest challenge is the late pick-up … operations are still tough people are still restricted with COVID operating requirements," Mr Davidson said.
Bookings and longer stays will allow operators to properly prepare, bolstering the experience for visitors and maximising revenue for struggling businesses.
"The weekend bookings, they're good, but by the time you take all the fees out you're not really left with a lot," Gold Coast Holiday Stays assistant manager Rebecca Jones said.
"Add a few more days on - that makes it easier for accommodation operators and takes the burden off the staff"
Originally published as Booked out! But bumper weekend delivers new warning