Domestic set for recovery: Wotif

Domestic set for recovery: Wotif
By admin


The Australian trend for overseas travel will start to subside as people grow accustomed to the ongoing strength of the Australian dollar, according to Wotif chief executive Robbie Cooke.

Speaking at a conference in Sydney, Cooke suggested that people had flocked overseas because they saw the strong dollar as a “transient thing”.
“But now the dollar has been strong for longer, people aren’t seeing it as an aberration,” he said. “They’re starting to see it as the norm so that drive to go overseas is starting to diminish a little.”
He referred to the booking site’s strong domestic bookings over the Christmas period as evidence of the trend. Booking volumes climbed 9% in both December and January.
“Those traditional leisure periods are starting to come back into fashion,” he claimed, although he admitted that the true test of his theory would be the imminent Easter period.
Despite the continued strength of the dollar, Cooke saw a feeling of economic uncertainty setting in.
“That’s where the government has got it wrong – they're assuming that the general economy is humming along and it isn’t. I think people are feeling less wealthy,” he said.
He predicted that the unease would affect holiday patterns.
While he agreed travel had become a modern necessity, he believed people would tailor their travel budgets to their means – meaning a resurgence in domestic holidays to Wotif’s benefit.
“This is what we saw happen in the GFC,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cooke admitted traffic was down, but claimed the site was converting at the highest level ever, now selling one in every 10 Australian hotel room nights.

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