The economic juggernaut that is Taylor Swift’s “The Eras Tour” is crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
If you luckily snagged tickets, plan on using some of your holiday money to book your European hotel sooner rather than later — or run the risk of it being a “Cruel Summer” with no place to stay.
Hotels in Edinburgh are already 70% booked for June 7 and 8, the first two nights Swift performs at the city’s Murrayfield Stadium, according to forward-looking data from hotel industry research provider STR. Occupancy levels dip to 53% on June 9, the final night of Swift’s Edinburgh tour arc.
Occupancy rates already exceed 50% on the tour dates of other U.K. cities like Cardiff on June 18 and Liverpool on June 13 and 14. Occupancy rates are approaching 50% in Dublin for all three nights of Swift’s tour stop at the Irish capital’s Aviva Stadium.
“If you look at the U.K. market, especially the regional U.K. market, those seem to have the higher occupancy rates during the concert dates, and that is definitely the Taylor Swift effect,” Cristina Balekjian, a U.K.-based director of hospitality analytics at STR’s parent company CoStar Group, said.
Swift’s Aug. 1-3 tour dates (where booked occupancy ranges from 31% to 38%) in Warsaw, Poland, are the only dates for 2024 where the city has hotel bookings above the 20% occupancy threshold.
But don’t let occupancy rates do all the taking. Average daily rates are already sky-high in certain European cities Swift passes through next summer.
Most Marriott and Hilton-affiliated hotels in popular neighborhoods in Paris for Swift’s opening night at Paris La Defense Arena on May 9 start at $300 and climb higher. Rates at Hyatt-affiliated hotels start at $400 in central London and quickly move higher on the dates Swift performs at Wembley Stadium.
“Our hotels have seen huge surges in demand and [average daily rates] during Taylor Swift’s ‘The Eras Tour’ with a city’s [hotel performance] nearly doubling during her concert dates,” Marriott CEO Anthony Capuano said earlier this year during a company securities analyst meeting. “Customers want to be at these events and enjoy these experiences in person.”
The Taylor Swift model for hotels
It’s still too far out to gauge if rates will remain this high. However, it’s certainly not good news for one’s wallet that hotel companies are already trying to see if they can get travelers to spend this much on a hotel room when Swift is in town alongside throngs of summer leisure travelers.
“The Taylor Swift model is absolutely factored in. It’s the new line item in revenue management,” Dimitris Manikis — Wyndham’s president of Europe, the Middle East, Eurasia and Africa — said. “How do we actually maximize it? It was always sports events, but now it’s not just sports anymore. It’s everything. Airlines are now factoring it. Cities are factoring it.”
The spike in demand comes as consumers increasingly favor experiences over physical goods — something that has been a major tailwind to travel companies looking to capitalize on the trend. It just makes nightly rates and airfare more expensive in the process.
“These high-profile events have a major effect on hotel demand. Concerts have become a lot more popular, and people really try to do those once-in-a-lifetime things that really make an impact on their life,” Balekjian said.
Swift’s seismic impact on travel
Take the U.S. as both bragging rights for the Swiftie (what Swift fans call themselves) economy and a cautionary tale for how much you’ll need to shell out for a European hotel next summer.
A QuestionPro report over the summer estimated “The Eras Tour” had a $5 billion direct impact on the collective economies of the 20 different city stops in the U.S. — that includes everything from travel expenses to dining and merchandise sales.
But the U.S. Travel Association reported in September that the total economic impact of the tour likely exceeded $10 billion; this is thanks to indirect spending from people who still visited the cities during a Swift concert date but didn’t actually attend the concert itself. Just look at all the videos of thousands of fans showing up to listen from a stadium parking lot while the actual concert took place inside a sold-out venue.
A single Swiftie averaged $1,300 in direct spending for each concert date. That’s on par with per-person spending levels seen for a Super Bowl, according to U.S. Travel. Multiply that by 53 different concert dates, and you suddenly can see why “The Eras Tour” fueled the economy so much over the summer.
When Swift made her two-night stop in Pittsburgh, hotels averaged a 95% occupancy rate, the highest figure seen since before the pandemic and the second-highest city-wide occupancy rate in recorded history, U.S. Travel reports. Pittsburgh hotels also commanded a $309 average nightly rate, a 106% increase in the typical going rate for a hotel in the city.
Average rates jumped 51% in Nashville when Swift performed in early May. Boston hotel rates surged 28% when Swift performed outside the city at Gillette Stadium.
If the U.S. is a canary down the coal mine for what travelers heading to Europe next summer should expect, it’s that rates will be higher than you’d expect — even for peak travel season across the region.
Lock in rates now or consider deploying your award nights and points to save money. You can use the savings at the merch stand.
- Best hotel credit cards
- When is the best time to book a hotel? Experts weigh in — and debunk a few myths
- The best credit cards to reach elite status
- A comparison of luxury hotel programs from credit card issuers
- Which credit cards offer the most lucrative rewards for hotel stays?
- The best hotel rewards programs in the world