Exclusive: hoteliers reveal impact of Taylor tourism as Swiftsteria takes hold

Hotels across Melbourne and Sydney are feeling the star power of global music icon Taylor Swift as fans flock from all over to attend the sold-out Eras Tour concerts, taking place over the next two weekends.

Accor Pacific Chief Operating Officer PME, Adrian Williams, told HM there has been an unprecedented level of interest in Accor hotels and its loyalty programme ALL – Accor Live Limitless since the concerts were first announced – and not just in these two cities.  

“The influx of visitors attending these sold-out events has significantly boosted hotel bookings across Melbourne and Sydney, providing a major boost to each city’s visitor economy,” Williams said.

“Occupancies are at unparalleled levels over the concert periods, and we have also seen a surge in regional demand as Swifties take the opportunity to travel further.

“This tour will create significant economic benefit for Melbourne and Sydney, supporting thousands of jobs as well as creating a huge, positive buzz in the cities.”

has lit up with purple lights ahead of the concerts in honour of Swift’s hit song Lavender Haze

At Hilton hotels, the books are full, according to Area Vice President and Head of Australasia, Paul Hutton.

“Both Melbourne and Sydney properties are forecasted to have 100% occupancy during concert dates and transient revenue is up to 30% stronger in comparison to other popular concerts,” Hutton told HM exclusively, noting that many hotel guests are asking if they are able to decorate their rooms with Taylor merchandise.

IHG Hotels and Resorts Vice President, Commercial, Dean Jones, said IHG hotels in Melbourne and Sydney are experiencing occupancy levels “more than 50% higher than this time last year”.

“What we’re seeing with Taylor Swift tour is a phenomenon and particularly noteworthy,” Jones told HM.

“In fact, the booking spike in the weeks following ticket release in 2023 was unlike anything we have seen in the past five years – just about unprecedented for any concert or sporting grand final in Australia.”

Hotel Indigo Melbourne

Pro-invest Group COO Hotels, Shantha de Silva, likened the impact to that of Beyoncé, saying it’s impossible not to be in awe of Swift’s impact.

“Whether you’re a Swiftie or not, everyone in hospitality has to be a fan of the positive impact the Taylor Swift tour is having on the industry,” de Silva told HM.

“Just like the ‘Beyoncé effect’, also seen in cities worldwide, Taylor’s tour highlights the significant economic impact of these big events on a local economy.

“For both the Melbourne and Sydney concerts we’ve seen a bump in hotel occupancy around the event dates, and our restaurants have also seen great reservation numbers. There’s going to be a fantastic buzz around town on each of those weekends.”

De Silva said the bookings boost can be seen across the board, including in recently opened Hotel Indigo properties in both cities as well as in its Holiday Inn Express hotels.

The Taylor mania has even extended to other states with Paradise Resort Gold Coast hosting a Taylor Swift tribute event – Taylor Swift – Paradise’s Version – exclusively for in-house guests on Saturday March 9.

Guests will be able to partake in friendship bracelet making, ‘Tay Tay Trivia’, a best dressed competition, and sing along to the hits in a themed dance party and karaoke.

‘On another level’, Accommodation Australia reports

Destination NSW announced on Friday that more than 100,000 visitors are expected from interstate, intrastate and international markets for Taylor Swift’s Sydney shows.

Accommodation Australia CEO Michael Johnson said the response to the concerts is “on another level” with a large number of Sydney CBD and Sydney Olympic Park properties already sold out. 

STR data showed hotels in Sydney at 80% occupancy for Friday February 23 and 84% occupancy for Saturday February 24, and Johnson said numbers are expected to grow.

“We all know that big events draw in people and hotels, pubs, restaurants and everyone down the chain benefits. But the Taylor Swift effect is something different again,” Johnson said.

Sydney hotel occupancy is up 5% on the same time last year, when the city hosted World Pride

“Hotel occupancy is up 5% on the same time last year, which doesn’t seem like a lot, until you realise that this time last year Sydney was in the middle of hosting World Pride. 

“World Pride was a big event which drew in tens of thousands of visitors over 17 days and was worth millions to the NSW visitor economy. 

“2023 was the biggest February [Sydney] hotels have had in 10 years, but Taylor and her Swifties are something on another level.”

STR reported that forward occupancies for Swift’s Melbourne shows are at 86% for Friday and Saturday nights and 69% on Sunday night, and Accommodation Australia (Victoria) General Manager, Dougal Hollis, told HM that final demand is likely to exceed occupancy levels experienced for Ed Sheeran’s two Melbourne concerts in March 2023 of 90 and 89% respectively.   

“These levels of demand for Melbourne have really only been exceeded by Billy Joel’s sole Australian MCG performance in December 2022, where STR report 93.7% occupancy levels were achieved,” Hollis said.

Hollis added that the impact on occupancy levels is particularly noteworthy considering the “significant new hotel room supply across Melbourne – 3,000 rooms in the past two years and 7,500 rooms since 2019 – the largest pipeline of any Australian city”.

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