Athens hoteliers lift the cup.
Tuesday, 5th June 2007
Source : Daily HotelBenchmark™
With the city of Athens recently playing host to the prestigious UEFA Champions League Final, we analyzed the impact of this major event of the city's hotel industry -

There can be few more suitable settings for the current gods of sport to perform than Athens, the spiritual home of competitive sport. In a city of so much legend, it seemed only fitting that yet another piece of history would be played out under the gaze of Greece's ancient heroes. And so on Wednesday 23 May 2007 in the city's Olympic Stadium, Liverpool FC and AC Milan contested arguably the biggest prize in modern sport – the UEFA Champion's League Final.

Few other sports, if any, attract such widespread support as football, so hosting the showcase final of the European game is a massive coup for any city. And few clubs have the tradition and support of Liverpool and Milan; with no fewer than eleven European Cups between them before last week's game, everybody expected a classic encounter. Fanatical supporters travelled in their tens of thousands from across Europe, and special charter flights were organised from Liverpool's John Lennon and Milan's Malpensa airports to transport the fans to the Greek capital. Although only 17,000 tickets were allocated to each set of supporters, several thousand more made the journey, desperate to buy tickets once there.

Cornering the market

Following the success of the 2004 Olympics Athens's hoteliers were well placed to predict the demand for rooms, and forced average room rates accordingly. Athens's occupancy levels are generally highest in May and September; either side of the scorching summer months, so hoteliers could expect to raise their average room rates around this time of year. However to measure how far this was achieved, we compare the figures between 2006 and 2007 for the three days up to and including match day.

From 22-24 May 2006, Athens's average room rate stood at €158 with revenue per available room (revPAR) at a comparably impressive €138. Coincidentally this hit a peak on Wednesday 24 May 2006 – exactly a year to the day prior to the Champions' League Final – when average room rates hit €167 and occupancy stood at 93.4%.

Fast-forward one year however, and the Champions' League effect is obvious. For the three day period 21-23 May 2006, Athens's average room rate was a staggering €302, with revPAR standing at €270. On match day itself, 23 May 2007, average rates peaked at €341. With the city's supply saturated and occupancy levels almost overflowing at 98.8%, revPAR on this day hit €337. These figures equate to a 95.5% increase in revPAR from 2006 to 2007 for the three-day period, and an incredible 116.0% revPAR rise on match day.

Athens hotel performance 21 - 23 May 2007 versus the same day in 2006 (Source: Daily HotelBenchmark™ Survey by Deloitte)

Net gain

The mass exodus of Athens began a day later, with an estimated 160 charter flights ferrying fans back to Liverpool and Milan. But despite the short-term nature of this visitor boom, who can say what the long-term benefits will be? With magnificent historical sights such as the Acropolis enchanting tourists, and a 74,000 capacity stadium ready made for international sporting events, perhaps this showcase event can ensure hotels see a rise in demand in the months and years to come.

In the event itself, AC Milan ran out 2-1 winners with a brace of goals by local hero Fillipo Inzaghi. The trophy was Milan's seventh European Cup of a glittering history putting then second in the all time list of winner behind Real Madrid. However it is the hoteliers of Athens can consider themselves to have won the big prize.

Daily HotelBenchmark™ - sleep as well as your guests
Hotel operators promise their guests a good night's sleep but often stay awake themselves worrying over how they are performing against their competitors. If you are losing sleep over how to fill rooms, improve your average room rates and drive revenues we can help. Daily HotelBenchmark™ delivers critical competitive information – fast – giving you the agility to respond more effectively to market changes every single day. Even better news, Daily MarketShare™ Reports are free during 2007, so you can enjoy an independent assessment of your competitive position with no financial commitment. Contact Thomas Emanuel today to discuss how Daily HotelBenchmark™ can help your business on +44 20 7007 3520 or email themanuel@deloitte.co.uk
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