With the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions easing again across the globe, pent-up travel demand is beginning to lift hotel bookings. Using Forward STAR, STR’s forward-looking demand tool, such an impact is clear in Dublin. The Irish capital shows several spikes in occupancy on the books throughout 2022, and while Six Nations and Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations are part of the story, it is obvious that Garth Brooks’ Stadium Tour in September will be the biggest event contributor to a better year for Dublin’s hotel industry.
Before diving deeper into that Garth Brooks impact, let’s take a quick, high-level look at the year as a whole. Dublin’s occupancy on the books is trending ahead of the same time last year for most of 2022. Really, the only time of year where bookings are lower than 2021 is the October to early November period. However, if the pandemic situation continues to improve, and there is a more balanced return of industry demand sources, Dublin’s 2022 levels for this time should pick up significantly.
A long time coming
It has been 25 years since American country star Garth Brooks performed live in Ireland’s capital city, however, for his devoted Irish fans, the wait is almost over. In September 2022, Croke Park will serve as the final stop on Brooks’ Stadium Tour. This long-awaited return is made even more intense following the last-minute cancellation of Brooks’ July 2014 tour, and more than 400,000 tickets were sold when they became available late last year. The five concert dates in September 2022 are going to lead to heads in beds for local hoteliers.
Occupancy on the books is surging in September whilst still being more than six months out from the concert series. Data as of 3 January 2022 showed a peak of better than 60% set to take place on Saturday, 10 September, which is to be expected with weekend shows being the most popular day for overnight stays. Overall, Dublin shows five nights with at least 40% occupancy on the books in September. As of early January, there were only four other nights the entire year that meet that level. Another spike is set to occur on the final weekend of Brooks’ tour stop with levels already sitting at 45%. As the concerts draw nearer, expect levels to climb even further provided the pandemic situation remains stable.
The past also indicates a better future
By utilising STR’s historical data, we can reflect on past successes when big name performers have taken to the stage at Croke Park. Upon examining data across three major events hosted at the venue between 2017 to 2019, we are able to see just how high demand was for the city of Dublin for the entire week of the event. Saturdays across those years caused the largest influx in overnight guests with occupancy levels reaching 97% for Westlife in 2019 and 98% for both Michael Bublé and U2. Regardless of day, occupancy fell no lower than 80% during these concerts.
Historical data also shows how the success around big name acts translated into hotelier pricing power. This can be observed by examining the 3 same tours between 2017 to 2019 and the corresponding average daily rate (ADR). Friday and Saturday nights produced the highest ADR with a peak of €235 in 2017 and a low point of no worse than €134. This data offers an insight into the type of rates hoteliers may be able to expect when Brooks makes his long-awaited return in September 2022.