Melbourne hotels are expecting a bumper weekend for the Australian Grand Prix to kickstart the Easter school holidays.

According to data from STR, the Formula One event has catapulted Melbourne’s hotel occupancy on the books to its highest level since November 2019.

As of April 4, average occupancy in the market between Thursday 7 to Sunday 10 April stood at 89%, peaking to 94% on Saturday night.

If those Saturday bookings come to fruition, it will be the market’s highest daily occupancy since November 30, 2019, and the highest occupancy for any major Australian capital since New Year’s Eve 2019.

“Ever since the calendar dates were announced, Melbourne’s bookings have been progressively building for the race weekend,” said STR’s Regional Director – Pacific, Japan & Central South Asia, Matthew Burke.

“At the beginning of 2022, occupancy on the books was trending at an average of 35%, so it is clear that growing confidence around the event and ‘F1 fever’ has captivated the traveling public.”

Hilton Melbourne Little Queen Street is one hotel that is benefitting from the huge interest in the event, according to Hilton Cluster General Manager, Adrian Teh.

“Our hotel is fully booked over the F1 Grand Prix weekend with our Conference and Events space equally being fully utilised in the lead up to F1,” Teh told HM.

“We look forward to welcoming our guests to ensure a wonderful experience and we’re anticipating a very busy weekend across our Food & Beverage outlets, Luci restaurant and The Douglas Club.”

Teh is hopeful that the hotel will continue to see demand during the upcoming Easter and school holiday period.

“We’re optimistic that we will see a further drive in demand over this period largely being driven by our domestic market with mix of international arrivals,” he said.

“Above all, it’s really encouraging to see a bounce back for the hotel industry and we look forward to further easing of international borders and in turn opening up more countries to Australia.”

Accor Pacific CEO, Sarah Derry, said the group experiences a significant surge in bookings when cities host major events such as the Grand Prix and urged government to recognise these opportunities.

“The Grand Prix is one of the world’s premier sports entertainment events, presenting Melbourne, Australia, and the Pacific in general, as highly inspiring and desirable destinations to the rest of the world,” Derry said.

“We urge the government to increase investments in sports, arts and cultural events to accelerate the return of travel, supporting job creation and local businesses.”

Derry said there is good demand for rooms over the Easter period, particularly in leisure destinations, from families looking for a break.

“Our teams cannot wait to welcome guests and provide great service and experiences,” she said.

Hyatt Area Vice President and GM of Park Hyatt Melbourne, Robert Dawson, said the group’s hotels “are running at capacity over the Grand Prix dates”.

“The F1 Australian Grand Prix has definitely ignited a spark in travel again to Melbourne and it is great to see this return with such a strong demand and appetite for special events in Melbourne,” he said.

“Being the first proper major citywide event coming out of pandemic and restrictions, interstate and local demand/interest for the event seemed greater than 2019.”

“Easter and school holidays are also expected to be very busy with local and inter-state demand,” Dawson added.