The unique timing of Easter this year will give New South Wales families more vacation choice during the autumn holiday season, according to Raine & Horne CEO Angus Raine.
“This year, Easter hasn’t fallen within the school holiday period, so families can take some time off at Easter or wait ten days for school holidays from the middle to the end of April," he said.
“Taking a break at Easter is proving particularly attractive as workers only need to take a couple of days off, in addition to the public holidays."
Trish Whelan, holiday manager of Raine & Horne Mollymook/Milton on the south coast of NSW, said bookings for Easter were level pegging with the same period last year.
“We still have eight days to Easter, and based on past experience, we expect to achieve 80 per cent occupancy rates by the Friday public holiday,” she said.
Ms Whelan attributed the late rush for holiday homes to concerns about the weather outlook for Easter and the pervasiveness of travel websites such as lastminute.com.au.
“It is best to describe the weather as unseasonal and plenty of holiday makers are waiting for the short-range Easter forecasts,” she said.
“At the same time, travel websites such as lastminute.com.au are conditioning holidaymakers to make eleventh hour bookings, which usually mean we have a belated rush for holiday homes leading into Easter.”
Bryon Bay is fully booked for Easter as music fans schedule to flock to the north coast town for the Blues Festival.
Laura Dooley, holiday manager, Raine & Horne Byron Bay, said having two vacation breaks this autumn was working in favour of the town’s holiday home market.
“Splitting the holidays means that we expect a stronger April as we are getting more bookings later in the month,” she said.
“Byron Bay is always booked solid for the Blues Festival and as a consequence, non-music folk often miss out on an April visit.
“However, this year holiday makers have two bites of the vacation cherry.”
Further south, and as a rule, Easter doesn’t attract a huge contingent of holidaymakers to the Snowy Mountains.
Toni Wheelhouse, holiday manager, Raine & Horne Thredbo, said she expected record high occupancy rates for the Easter thanks to a performance by American rock musician Chris Isaak.
“However, it still won’t be as busy as winter, with occupancy rates around 60 per cent in Thredbo, and with the Isaak-inspired surge in bookings at Easter, we expect it to be quieter for the school holidays," she said.