5 Dec 2022

Hospitality industry questions how it will keep up as Guns N' Roses prepare for Wellington show

8:38 pm on 5 December 2022
Guns N' Roses are set to perform in Wellington and Auckland

Guns N' Roses are performing in Wellington on Thursday. Photo: Guilherme Nunes Cunha Neto guilh

The return of big international acts to New Zealand's capital has the hospitality industry questioning how it will keep up.

Rock legends Guns N' Roses play in Wellington Thursday as the first overseas superstars playing Sky Stadium since Queen and Adam Lambert in February 2020.

They were meant to rock Sky Stadium and Eden Park around this time last year, but the pandemic put paid to that.

Guns N' Roses are set to perform in Wellington and Auckland

Photo: Guilherme Nunes Cunha Neto guilh

About a third of the 25,000 strong crowd are out-of-towners, and tickets were not yet sold out.

Self-confessed superfan Spencer Wilson was travelling from Christchurch for both the Wellington and Auckland shows, and said he had been thinking about them every day since he nabbed tickets in November 2020.

"I can't wait in all honesty, not long now.

"I know I'm not going to be able to sleep on Wednesday night, just because of the excitement.

"The week's actually finally come."

Finding accommodation was tough, Wilson said, who coughed up $500 for one night in the capital.

Those who have not sorted a bed will need to get in quick - Airbnb showed no rooms available on Thursday night, and Booking.com had eight properties, but the average price was just shy of $800.

That's a nationwide problem, Hospitality New Zealand chief executive Julie White said.

Guns N' Roses are set to perform in Wellington and Auckland

Photo: Guilherme Nunes Cunha Neto guilh

Aotearoa had seen huge demand for accommodation with open borders and the return of large scale events, but there was a low supply caused by a labour shortage, she said.

"Accommodation venues are unable to operate at 100 percent, so their new norm might actually be operating at 70 to 80 percent."

The government must do more to beef up the workforce in Aotearoa, White said.

"We've had some movement in the immigration settings, but if we were able to be more attractive and compete against the world, like have better pathways to residency, we would actually see more people landing here from overseas.

"That's a fact."

The capital would benefit hugely from the gig, Wellington Mayor Tory Whanau said.

"This is huge for our city, it's also a sign of things to come.

"We've got some massive events over the next few years planned, which is great for our local economy, it's great for our people, and of course it's great for our hotels."

But Whanau agreed Wellington was in a tight spot when it came to accommodation.

"We saw it with WOW [World of Wearable Arts], we're seeing it with Homegrown as well.

"Moving forward into the future we are going to need to look at other hotel developments.

"I really hugely encourage our developers, international investors, to look at Wellington as the first place to bring their five-star to two-star hotels, because we need a range, really."

At Sky Stadium, the stage was just about set and fans were in for an incredible experience, marketing manager Alex Bargh said.

"They have over three hours of just back-to-back bangers, it's going to be a great show.

"They're bringing it, they're still performing on stage, you know, Axl, Duff, Slash, they've still got it, from what we're seeing out of Australia.

"Fans can expect a really, really great show."

Fans were travelling to the capital from as far north as Northland, down to Otago, Bargh said.

Guns N' Roses will then take the party to Eden Park on Saturday.

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