Hotel bookings continue to surge ahead of Commonwealth Games in Birmingham
Late last year, STR’s initial analysis of the upcoming Commonwealth Games showed the event’s early impact on hotel occupancy on the books and pick-up in Birmingham, England. This latest update with Forward STAR data shows an even bigger increase in hotel booking levels now four months after the games arrived.
The Commonwealth Games, a multinational sporting event which brings together athletes from 72 nations, will take place across the city of Birmingham between July 28 and August 8, 2022 with large crowds of spectators, athletes and staff from the expected event. Since the previous impact analysis of events, the backdrop for travel and large gatherings has further improved with better pandemic indicators and the lifting of many restrictions.
Along with the approach of the event, this improvement in sentiment supports the higher levels indicated in this forward-looking data analysis. STR is uniquely positioned to combine both historical and forward-looking data for major hotel markets around the world. Thus, this analysis also returns to the performance of the former British host of the Commonwealth Games, Glasgow (2014). This historical data confirms the expectation of even greater growth in hotel occupancy in Birmingham as the months go by.
Occupancy and pickup continue to increase
The Birmingham Center sub-market, as defined by STR, is showing positive trends in short-term bookings for the coming months with particularly high levels at weekends. The occupancy on the books reached up to 47% until June. The submarket’s positive outlook for spring and early summer peaks in July and August, however, when occupancy peaks at 78% (August 6). In the previous analysis in October, the peak for the event period was only 55%.
When pickup, i.e. the absorption of bookings from period to period, was previously examined, levels were stable at over 6% for the games period. The weeks leading up to the opening ceremony also showed levels as high as 15%. However, the most recent forward-looking data indicates that the resumption of gaming is slightly lower, with the peak for this period standing at 5%. This is to be expected, as large bookings are more common when events are initially announced or when the start of the event becomes imminent.
The 2022 games will be the first in the UK since 2014, when Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow, was host. Historical data from STR offers insight into the city’s performance during the lead up to and on the days of the games. Once the competition began, occupancy levels peaked at 98% and did not drop below 93% while the games were in progress. Glasgow also performed well in the preparatory phase with an occupancy rate of 79% one month after the closing ceremony.
In STR’s previous analysis, it was clear that this mega-event would have a significant impact on occupancy levels. Despite more recent disruptions in the travel industry, such as the emergence of Omicron in early 2022, demand has continued to grow. Although overall leisure demand is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels for some time, the current trajectory indicates that central Birmingham will approach the occupancy levels recorded by Glasgow in 2014. This of course assumes that ‘there are no major new travel disruptions, such as the war in Ukraine, which has yet to affect hotel performance.
STR provides premium benchmarking data, analysis and market intelligence for the global hospitality industry. Founded in 1985, STR operates in 15 countries with North American headquarters in Hendersonville, Tennessee, international headquarters in London, and Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore. STR was acquired in October 2019 by CoStar Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CSGP), the leading provider of online commercial real estate information, analysis and marketplaces. For more information, please visit str.com and costargroup.com.