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Initial figures from Accor suggest that Sydney and Melbourne were also forced to share the victory spoils off the field, as both cities recorded their highest weekend hotel occupancy figures for the year during the football finals.

Melbourne attracted the largest number of interstate visitors to their city over the weekend (Sep 28-30), with Accor’s 17 hotels in the city area boosted by an influx of Sydney Swans visitors, but with Sydney enjoying a long weekend and with the NRL final hosted on a Sunday night, the city was able to brush aside the Bulldogs’ loss to Melbourne Storm and glow in a three day tourism fest.

Sunday is normally the quietest night in Sydney for hotel occupancy, but Accor’s nine hotels in western Sydney – including four in Sydney Olympic Park – all recorded 100% occupancies. Even in the central business district, Accor’s Sydney hotels attracted occupancies of between 94% – 100% over the long weekend.

The Sydney Swans added about 12 percentage points to Accor’s Melbourne hotels over the weekends, so while Melbourne may have been disappointed that their home team, Hawthorn, failed to bring home the silverware, businesses across the city had plenty to be happy about.

“We would like to see it compulsory for an interstate team to be in the Grand Final,” said Accor’s Victorian Regional Manager, Adrian Williams. “It has such a positive effect on Melbourne tourism.

“When it was clear that the Swans would play in the MCG Grand Final, the phones rang of their hooks in our reservation offices. It was clear that Swans supporters were prepared to put their money where their mouths were, wanting to be part of the victory celebrations.

“Melbourne hotels normally have strong weekend business, but with it being a long weekend back in Sydney we saw the Sydneysiders use the extra day to make it a long weekend in Melbourne, so our hotels boasted close-to-full occupancies on Friday and Sunday nights, as well as a total sell-out on Saturday. Even hotels as far away from the MCG as Glen Waverley enjoyed a bumper weekend.”

Accor’s NSW Regional Manager, Scott Boyes, ignored the fact that he had been Victorian Regional Manager until a few months ago, and declared Sydney the winner in the occupancy stakes.

“I think the fact that the NRL Final is a night-time game and that it was held over a long-weekend meant that we were able to turn a Sunday night from being one of the quietest nights of the year into one of the strongest,” he said.

“Even better, the whole city benefited. Western Sydney had its strongest weekend of the year, while the city also recorded near-full occupancy. We didn’t have as many Melbourne Storm fans come to Sydney compared to Swans fans going to Melbourne, but Sydney had many activities on over the weekend, and the biggest bonus was that hotels in western Sydney – which are normally fairly quiet on weekends – were full as well.

“We also feel that we played our own special part in both victories, because we housed Melbourne Storm at the Pullman Sydney Olympic Park and hosted their victory party, and the weeknd before we fed the Sydney Swans before their win against Collingwood. Plus, of course, Sydney had far more attractive weather than Melbourne for the grand final, so I think we won by a point or two.”

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management

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