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Swifties & SailGP: Major events turbocharge Aussie hotel bookings

How the "Swift effect" is sparking a surge in hotel occupancy across Australia

The Australian hotel industry is experiencing a remarkable surge in occupancy rates thanks to a string of major events captivating audiences nationwide.

From Sydney to Melbourne, hotels are reporting record-breaking bookings, fueled by the allure of world-class entertainment and sporting spectacles.

In Sydney, the recent influx of over 320,000 Swifties flocking to Accor Stadium for Taylor Swift’s electrifying performances has sent hotel occupancy levels soaring.

Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson attributes this phenomenon to the undeniable “Swift effect,” citing past calculations that estimate Swift’s shows inject between $150 and $200 million into a state’s economy.

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Stacey McBride, Accommodation Australia NSW Manager, also highlights the positive impact of touring concerts like Taylor Swift on the city’s economy, and the boon they represent for hotels and hospitality establishments alike.

“To see more events of this magnitude, if there are such things, would be incredible for Sydney and other cities across Australia,” she said.

USA SailGP Team helmed by Taylor Canfield lead the SailGP fleet in fleet race one, with the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance on Race Day 1 of the KPMG Australia Sail Grand Prix in Sydney, Australia. Saturday 24th February 2024. Photo: Simon Bruty for SailGP

Accor, Australia’s largest hotel operator, is riding the wave of this event-driven surge, experiencing a record level of bookings across its 40 hotels in Sydney.  The convergence of major music and sporting events, including Taylor Swift’s performances, Blink-182 at Qudos Bank Arena, and the SailGP Sydney sailing competition, has propelled Accor to unprecedented levels of interest.

Adrian Williams, Accor Pacific’s Chief Operating Officer, compared the weekend’s hotel results to the heyday of the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games, emphasising the transformative power of events in driving tourism and economic growth.

He said: “Hotel results in Sydney over the weekend were higher than anything we’ve seen since the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to witness this incredible moment, where the convergence of music, sports and tourism ignites such excitement and possibility. I am proud of our dedicated hotel teams, who welcomed and catered to our many guests over the weekend.

“The boost to tourism doesn’t just stop at creating memories – it creates jobs. From hospitality to entertainment, every aspect of this contributes to our mission of fostering prosperity and creating meaningful opportunities for our communities.”

Blink182 image supplied by Accor

Taylor Swift’s historic four-night residency at Accor Stadium, drawing an astounding 335,000 fans, stands as a testament to the magnetic appeal of these events. Swift’s consecutive concerts mark a milestone for Accor Stadium, setting the stage for a year filled with spectacular performances by artists such as P!NK, NRL, Bledisloe Cup, and Coldplay.

Meanwhile, in Melbourne, anticipation is building for the Grand Prix weekend, set to take the city by storm from March 22 to 24, 2024.

Ovolo Hotels, including Laneways by Ovolo and Ovolo South Yarra, are already witnessing a surge in bookings, with Laneways boasting a high 76 percent occupancy rate and Ovolo South Yarra at 73 percent. The demand for larger rooms, particularly 2-bedroom suites, underscores the preference among guests for accommodations that accommodate groups, reflecting a broader trend observed during special events.

As Australia continues to attract world-class events, from concerts to sporting extravaganzas, the hospitality industry stands poised to reap the rewards, with hotels across the country experiencing a boon in occupancy levels. These events not only create unforgettable experiences for attendees but also drive economic growth, stimulate job creation, and foster prosperity for local communities.

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