Clubs are expecting to meet a surge in bookings for the first King’s Birthday Holiday this weekend. ResDiary data shows there were 34 per cent more bookings for the June public holiday in 2021 and 2022, compared to a usual Monday.
NSW, Victoria, SA, Tasmania, the NT and ACT will all mark King Charles III’s Birthday on the same day while the royal birthday public holiday has been held in Queensland on the first Monday of October since 2016. WA holds its Western Australia Day on the first Monday of June.
In the eastern states, this King’s Birthday Eve, 11 June, the day before the public holiday, is also expected to be a revenue generator with a 40 per cent increase in bookings projected based on previous years’ data.
Mid-range venues such as pubs, clubs and cafés with a price point of $21 to $60, are usually busier on public holidays than other venues, accounting for nearly three quarters (70 per cent) of all bookings in Australia.
Stefan Overzier, APAC Head of Customer Service and Support said public holidays present a mixed blessing for hospitality – on one hand, they bring a potential influx of customers but on the other, there is a much higher operating cost.
“The data shows that while bookings are higher on public holidays, diners prefer more casual venues, earlier seating times and smaller booking sizes. Savvy operators can analyse the data to respond to changes in dining habits and operate on reduced staff, hours or menus to ultimately ensure they are profitable.”
While Queensland celebrates the King’s Birthday weekend in October, Club Warwick RSL CEO Michael Jones said that despite the increase in labour costs, it’s a good business decision to remain open over statutory holidays.
“We staff up over the public holidays. We’re just a couple of hours outside of Brisbane so many people jump in their cars and spend the long weekend out here.
“More than that, it’s about the continuity of business, it’s important to keep that consistency so the community knows they can always be served by us.”
The desire for an early booking also indicates diners are eager to get in and out in a short timeframe. This allows venues to reduce operating hours and provide staff breaks between lunch and dinner to reduce operational costs.
In Kirrawee, the reservation manager at The Feros Group’s Prince Hotel said despite the higher costs, it’s worthwhile opening on a public holiday considering they are one of the few venues in the southern Sydney beaches area that do.
“In the past, we have seen higher booking numbers over the weekend prior to the Queen’s Birthday. The Sunday night in 2022 before the public holiday generated 180 more covers compared to a usual Sunday evening trade.
“Also, the day of the Queen’s Birthday sees a higher lunch trade, easily doubling or tripling what we would normally see on a Monday.”