We’ve looked a lot at how revenue teams are ‘managing by exception’, and a global sporting event presents a big exception and a big opportunity to optimise on rates and push profit.
Hotels in Madrid did just that when the city played host to the UEFA Champions League Final on 1 June.
The League sees 79 teams from 54 European football associations compete through the football season for the accolade of being crowned best team in Europe. The final saw two teams from the UK – Liverpool and London’s Tottenham Hotspur - battle it out at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium, home to Atlético Madrid.
Whether it’s the Champions League final or the Super Bowl or the Ashes, hosting a sporting event of this calibre means big bucks for hotels, providing they price right and market appropriately.
Up to 150,000 English football fans descended on Madrid for the final, with many booking their accommodation just a week or two before the final (the semi-finals of the competition taking place 7-8 May).
Taking place on 1 June, the Champions League Final boosted overall numbers for May, with HotStats reporting a 23.8% year-on-year increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) and a 16.9% increase in achieved average room rate to €190.40 ($153.14), Madrid’s highest since June 2017.
Taking a closer look at data just for the weekend of 1-2 June, hotels using Duetto in Madrid saw an average of 336% increase in RevPAR for the Saturday and Sunday nights compared to the weekend previous, and a 363% increase compared to the same time the previous year.
In terms of average daily rate (ADR) hotels using Duetto in Madrid saw a 241% uplift for the Saturday and Sunday nights compared to the previous weekend, and a 266% increase compared to the same time last year.
What Hoteliers Had To Say
Carlos de la Barra, Director of Operations, Hotel Villa Magna – one of the leading hotels in the city, believes football fuels Madrid. “Football moves the city. We have two amazing football teams, the Atletico and the Real Madrid, and now we had the Champions League Final this year, which is fantastic for us. Every time there's a big match we get people from all over the world. It is great to have such events happening in the city.”
Hotel Villa Magna, located in Madrid’s city centre, enjoyed a very successful weekend.
City newcomer, Pestana Plaza Mayor opened just two weeks before the Champions League Final. Revenue Management Manager Rogério Abreu came to the property with prior Champions League experience, having worked in Lisbon in 2014.
“As we were a new hotel, with a Portuguese brand and without any international brand association, it was not an easy start. However, we knew that we would have good occupancy and good ADR,” he admitted.
To fully optimise on the opportunity, Abreu and his team focused their strategy on minimum length of stay (MLOS) and room type pricing.
“We played with MLOS for different room type categories to be competitive and appear in the online searches. Closer to the final, we had some room types with MLOS 2 others with 3 and higher categories with high prices without any MLOS. For those days we only had rates pre-paid and non-refundable. For this type of event we needed to increase the prices for twin beds and for the extra beds and increase the gap for the higher/best categories,” Abreu explained.
Having now experienced two Champions League finals, Abreu offers this advice to hotels in Istanbul – the city hosting the 2020 UEFA Champions League Final: “Leave some space for last minute bookings.”
Abreu has a fair point. According to AirDNA, rooms on Airbnb were going for up to £1,000 on and around the Final.