Fact Sheet for Booking Gold Coast Accommodation, Australia

by : Terry Hely

Copyright (c) 2008 Terry Hely

A simple overview of this market is that when an apartment is bought by an investor who is not going to live in it, the unit is placed in a holiday letting pool. The management rights to the letting pool are offered for sale and the successful buyers, most commonly a husband a wife team, then go about the business of getting bums in beds on behalf of the owners. The managers receive a percentage commission on the bookings they secure and that becomes a part of their livelihood.

The Gold Coast is Australia's favourite holiday playground and highrise resorts and apartment blocks stretch as far as the eye can see, from Southport in the north all the way to Coolangatta in the south. With so many properties to choose from it seems a safe bet there will always be plenty of accommodation available and the need to book early is a myth perpetuated by the accommodation industry.

Believe that at your peril because a quick reality check shows that the accommodation actually available for casual bookings is really quite a small portion of the total.

- As much as 60% to 70% of the visible accommodation is occupied by permanent residents. The apartments are not in any letting pool.

- Apartments are often pre-booked for the following season, especially when families are locked into school holiday dates for their annual vacations.

- Many apartments are committed to major travel wholesalers and tour group operators and are locked-out from casual bookings.

- Gold Coast festival and event organisers commonly place large block bookings for participants, team members, sponsors and support organisations

So when you are advised to book early, it's because you may well miss out if you don't! The most common reason why holiday makers fail to find accommodation on the Gold Coast is that their enquiry was too late.

* How Far In Advance For Bookings?

High Season is the Xmas - New Year holiday period. It's generally from around the 20th Dec to 20th Jan. but dates will vary between locations and between properties.Bookk at least 4-5 months in advance and some managers recommend even earlier in the very popular locations such as Broadbeach and Surfers Paradise.

Mid Season is usually the September - October school holidays and the Easter long week. Some properties also include the June-July school holidays, but that is now rather uncommon. Book at least 3-4 months in advance. The Indy 300 Motor Race carnival is usually charged at mid-season rates although some track-side properties charge premium rates.

Low Season is all other dates and availability is generally OK at these times, but booking 60 days in advance is strongly recommended. There are numerous festivals and events throughout the year that result in increased demand for apartments. The low season is usually the best time for special offers which are usually offered as a free night along the lines of 'stay 5 pay 4' or 'stay 4 pay 3'.

* Whats Included In Gold Coast Accommodation?

Holiday apartments and resorts are usually described as 'fully self contained' which means that guests need only bring their personal effects, clothing and foodstuffs. Everything else necessary for the vacation is included. The following inclusions are typical although some variations may occur between different properties.

- Electric stove (range), oven, refrigerator and microwave

- All kitchen cookware, cutlery, crockery and glassware

- Tea and coffee making facilities

- Bedroom, bathroom and kitchen linen

- Laundry washer and dryer

- Clothes iron and ironing board

- Clothes hangers

- Brooms, dust pan and cleaning utensils

- Colour TV and remote control

- Radio

The majority of properties now provide air-conditioning. Some have it throughout the apartment while others provide it only to the lounge/dining area. There are still Gold Coast properties that have no air conditioning at all.

If air conditioning is essential for your comfort always read the published features carefully and if still uncertain, ask questions at the time of making your enquiry.

The most uncomfortable part of the year on the Gold Coast occurs from mid January to early March when humidity is at its peak but fresh sea breezes, sliding patio doors and screened windows are usually all that is required to keep room temperatures at a comfortable level.

Nearly all properties now offer cable or satellite TV services. Most apartments will provide a hairdryer. If not included in the apartment, one will be available from the reception desk. Most apartments now include DVD players and the hire of movies from the front desk.

An increasing number of properties are providing internet connections so that guests can stay in touch with their email and internet businesses. Some provide connectivity in the guest apartment and others provide an internet kiosk facility.

Apartments are usually serviced on a 7 or 10 day rotation with more frequent servicing available by negotiation with management for an extra cost.

All accommodation properties have a front office reception desks that can arrange bookings for local tours, entertainment, car hire and airport transfers. This is a always a complementary service which means the property will receive a commission for their trouble.

* Airport Transfers

Guests requiring airport transfers to and from the Gold Coast airport at Coolangatta can either use a taxi cab, limousine or mini bus shuttle service. Maxi taxis are available for larger families/small groups but need to be booked in advance. Very few accommodation properties operate their own airport shuttle services. Always check with the accommodation provider at time of booking for their recommendations on the options available and likely costs.

Visitors arriving into Brisbane can board the Airtrain service in front of both the domestic and international airport terminals and be on the Gold Coast 1hr 15 min later. Taxi cabs can take you to your accommodation from the Gold Coast rail station.