Hotel operators have revealed the parts of Australia where pub trade is booming during COVID-19.
Australian Venue Co chief executive Paul Waterson told The Australian Financial Review that trading in the group’s 140 pubs and bars in Australia, aside from Victoria, had largely bounced back.
However, Victorian revenue is down 99% due to the current strict restrictions.
“It’s been quite amazing to see the rest of the country,” Waterson said. “That has given us some hope.”
Waterson noted that revenue in Queensland venues was up about 10% in the past month compared with the same time a year ago. Western Australia was up about 15%, while venues in South Australia and the Northern Territory are trading in line with last year.
However, he said revenues in NSW were down by about 35% due to the fall in pub trade in Sydney CBD venues because many people are still working from home.
Mid-week boost from at-home workers
Pub operator Lewis Land Group says COVID-19 has improved mid-week traffic at its hotels in Brisbane and Sydney.
Lewis Land Group chief executive Matthew McCarron told Commercial Property that working-from-home arrangements had provided unexpected benefits for the Belvedere Hotel on Queensland’s Redcliffe Peninsula, The Fiddler Hotel in Sydney’s north-west Hills District and Camden Valley Inn in south-west Sydney.
“What we have found is that because people are working from home, our midweek trade across all of our venues has increased dramatically because they are looking for a place to go out to lunch,” he said.
Lewis Land Group acquired Redcliffe’s Mon Komo Hotel this week for a reported $6million and has multi-million dollar plans to renovate and reposition the pub over the next 12 months.
When asked about the decision to invest in a new venue during a global pandemic, McCarron said that the investment was long-term and driven by a passion for the local area.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us the importance of local communities,” he explained. “Australians are socialising locally more than ever, and the local pub has an important role to play in providing a place for people to come together.”
McCarron told Commercial Property that while the property sector was going through an “unprecedented period”, he remained optimistic.
“We are a long-term investors, a second-generation family business and we buy assets to hold over the long term, and we think pubs will have a bright future,” he said.
Melbourne pubs “on their knees”
Andy Mullins, who owns nine venues in Melbourne including Hotel Esplanade and Garden State Hotel has called for help for the city’s pub trade.
He’s asking for increased financial support from the Victorian Government for pubs as the current support package only covers approximately 2% of costs and some venues are losing around $2000 a day.
“Melbourne is a city made of laneways, of music, arts, cafes, wine bars and pubs,” he told news.com.au. “The heartbeat and lungs of this place is fuelled by its culture, and that culture needs support. Its own lifeline. Right now.
“It’s not about profits. It’s a tight enough game as it is. So many owners just merely survive. Right now, in Victoria, we are down 100% in trade. We have staff leaving the industry in droves.
“It’s been six months, and in the current timelines, it could be nine months to a year. Who else could withstand that? But we stay in the game because we truly, truly love it. We love this city. But it’s on its knees. We are begging and pleading for help. We can’t be shut down for any longer. The city will be changed, forever.”
Pictured main: The Globe, Perth