Visitors and customers

Crown and Baptist Streets

Establishing the total contribution of visitors to the village economy is difficult, however available studies suggest the village tends to have a more localised market, with over half of shoppers coming from the village and neighbouring suburbs, and another third coming from elsewhere in Sydney.

Night-time pedestrian counts confirm that while the area is a popular after-hours destination, the scale of visitation is still significantly lower than the city centre.

In terms of overnight visitors, there is capacity across a broad range of markets, from hotels to hostels. Analysis of broader spending trends by overnight visitors shows their valuable contribution, and highlights a potential opportunity for the village to develop.

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Surry Hills visitor profile

A customer intercept survey in Surry Hills, conducted in 2014 provides an understanding of the types of visitors to Crown and Baptist Streets village and their behaviours. These results provide a broad indication of trends in visitation.

The survey was conducted mainly around the Crown Street retail and dining precinct. Table 9 summarises the origin of shoppers surveyed. From this table it is apparent that the majority of shoppers are locals, with around 55% of people interviewed living in Surry Hills, Redfern and surrounding suburbs. A further 35% of shoppers came from elsewhere in the Metro Sydney area. Meanwhile, the representation of visitors from non-metropolitan NSW, interstate and overseas was relatively small, at 2%, 3% and 5% respectively. This result suggests that while the village may have a strong profile as a shopping and dining destination within Sydney, this reputation may not extend to visitors from outside the city who may be more attracted to retail and dining options in the city centre.

Table 9 – Crown Street Intercept Survey, Origin of Respondents

Customer Place of Residence 2014
Surry Hills 35%
Redfern 7%
Bondi/Waterloo/Darlinghurst/Paddington/Newtown 13%
Other Suburbs (Greater Metro Sydney) 35%
Non-Metro NSW 2%
Interstate 3%
International 5%
Source: Surry Hills Customer Intercept Survey, 2014 – Directional Insights

Table 10 summarises the key characteristics of shoppers interviewed. It shows that the village has a relatively young shopper profile, with a balanced gender mix. The area has groups of visitors with high levels of employment and high household incomes, but this is contrasted by the groups on lower average household incomes with less discretionary income. Consequently, the food and retail offer needs to cater to both ends of the spectrum.

A large portion of customers are attracted to Surry Hills for leisure purposes, which provides a strong customer base for cafés, restaurants and hotels. This could be further strengthened by having a more diverse retail offer in place.

Table 10 – Crown St Intercept Survey, Key Characteristics

Customer Characteristic 2014
Average Customer Age 36 years
Average Customer Household Income (All days) $97,600
Most Common Life stage of Customer Young singles
Proportion of Customers who visit Surry Hills weekly or more often 74%
Most popular method of travel to Surry Hills Walking (60%)
Purpose of visitation  
Purpose/Mission driven 67%
Leisure oriented 33%
Visited or likely to visit a Restaurant/ Café/ Hotel 41%
Source: Surry Hills Customer Intercept Survey, 2014 – Directional Insights

Night-time visitation

Aside from being a vibrant shopping and café precinct during the day, the village is host to a significant amount of night-time activity with a large number of restaurants, pubs and small bars driving visitation after traditional business hours.

Pedestrian counts conducted at specific locations along Crown Street in 2012 showed that the majority of night-time activity occurred from 6pm up until 11pm, before pedestrian numbers dropped considerably. 

The busiest time in Crown Street, according to the survey, was at around 8pm to 9pm and would be strongly influenced by the bar and restaurant scene occurring on this strip. Friday also had higher pedestrian counts than Saturday, which may be reflective of a stronger after-work market.

When compared to the city centre, the Crown Street market is still significantly smaller, as it does not have the number of venues and capacities of the city centre market. For example, on a Friday night at 6pm the Crown Street pedestrian count at a specific location was 860 people and at George Street at the same time the pedestrian count was 6,576 people at a specific location.

Visitor accommodation

The 2012 Floor Space and Employment Survey details the supply of visitor accommodation available within Crown and Baptist Streets village, providing a broad indicator of the capacity of the area to accommodate overnight visitors.

Out of the 3 categories of visitor accommodation (hotels, serviced apartments and backpacker accommodation), the greatest growth in Crown and Baptist Street village has occurred in backpacker accommodation, which has seen a 38.7% increase in the number of beds between 2007 and 2012. There has been more limited growth in hotel rooms (12.4%) and serviced apartments (8.2%) across the 5 year period.

Table 11 – Visitor Accommodation, 2012

2007 2012 Change % Change

Hotel Accommodation (Rooms)

603 678 75 12.4%

Serviced Apartments (Units)

85 92 7 8.2%

Backpacker Accommodation (Beds)

341 473 132 38.7%

Source: Floor Space and Employment Survey, 2012 – City of Sydney

Contribution of tourists

While reliable data on the number of overnight visitors and their economic contribution is not available for areas as small as Crown and Baptist Streets village, it is worthwhile considering data available for the overall City of Sydney local area, which gives an idea of the scale of their contribution.

Table 12 shows data from Tourism Research Australia (TRA) on overnight visitors to the City of Sydney in 2013. It shows that interstate visitors have a slightly higher spend per night than intrastate ones ($201 versus $173). While the spend per night for international visitors is significantly lower at $100, their trip duration is much longer, making the overall contribution per trip higher than domestic visitors.

Considering the fairly low representation of visitors from outside Sydney shown in the intercept survey, this data could be viewed as an indicator of the potential benefits to the village if visitation from non-Sydney residents was increased.

Table 12 – Overnight Visitor Characteristics, City of Sydney, 2013

Visitors (‘000) Visitor Nights (‘000) Average stay (nights) Average nightly expenditure*




1,462 2,758 1.9 $173


2,504 6,176 2.5 $201


2,030 30,042 14.8 $100
*Estimates for Metropolitan Sydney in 2012/13
Source: Tourism Research Australia

What does this mean for my business?

The available research suggests that local residents and workers form a core market for many businesses in Crown and Baptist Streets village. This reinforces the understanding that these local markets are key for successful business planning (noting of course that each business faces its own unique set of circumstances).

The research also suggests that the current contribution of non-Sydney residents to the village economy is relatively small. This may represent an opportunity for local businesses to increase revenue by building the profile of the village outside Sydney, possibly through cooperative action and marketing.

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This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, 16 June 2015