Liverpool might have beaten Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 in UEFA Champions League final, but the real winners were host city Madrid’s hotels, with ADRs reported as high as €6,000 ($6,792).
MADRID—Soccer sells, especially if the final of the most prestigious annual club competition, the UEFA Champions League, has two teams from the United Kingdom reaching the final.
The 1 June final held in Madrid—cities bid for the final many months before the finalists are known—saw Liverpool beat London’s Tottenham Hotspur, the latter usually referred to by their nickname Spurs, 2-0.
Madrid hoteliers earned an even better victory. Ivar Yuste, managing partner at Madid-based business consultancy PHG Hotels & Resorts, said Madrid hotels all experienced record ADR and occupancy for the match.
“Clearly the rivalry between teams of the same country attracts more attention because this rivalry has history behind it,” he said. “It’s like a Madrid-Barcelona match. To add to this of course, Madrid, which is very attractive to the British, is a unique place to gather for a final like this one.
“I have not spoken to anybody that didn’t say they were sold out for that day.”
Coré Martín, head of the Madrid office of business consultancy Christie & Co., said he thought demand would have been similar if one or two of the teams had been German, French, Russian or Italian.
“Probably, only if one or two of the teams had been Spanish would demand have been lower than it was,” Martín said. “Also, there is a lot of demand driven by sponsors, which is not necessarily related to the nationality of the teams playing the final but to the event itself.”
Capacity for the final was 67,829 at the city’s Wanda Metropolitano stadium, which is the home of Spanish club Atlético Madrid and is located closer to the city’s airport than its center. Fans had only between three and four weeks to secure hotel rooms, unless they gambled on their teams winning their semifinals, which in Liverpool’s case was unlikely having lost the first leg of the two-leg series 3-0.
According to data from STR, the parent company of Hotel News Now, average daily rate in the city on 31 May, the day before the Champions League final, came in at €499.54 ($561.43), a 353% year-over-year increase compared with €110.29 ($123.95) for the corresponding Friday in 2018. Revenue per available room jumped 390% to €434.57 ($488.36) on the night before the 2019 final.
For the night of the final itself, ADR was even steeper, coming in at €560.41 ($629.99), a 404% year-over-year increase compared with €111.25 ($126.19) for the corresponding Saturday in 2018. RevPAR increased 453% year over year to €513.39 ($576.84) on the night of the final.
Martín said he thought Madrid’s hotel industry was well-prepared for the high demand growth.
“Someone renting an inflatable mattress at €1,200 next to the stadium was the funny tweet of the week and, surely, the exception that confirms the rule,” Martín said.
Martín said in the conversations he had with operators, most had raised their prices in advance in anticipation of there being more demand regardless of which two teams competed and booked much of their capacity with normal traffic well ahead of the final.
He added that some regretted not having reserved more capacity for late bookings and taken better advantage of the last-minute rate race.
Javier Serrano, STR’s country manager for Spain & Portugal, said he had witnessed revenue strategies in action in the run-up to the final.
“Some hotels preferred to keep inventory open and maximize revenues though ADR but trying to get fully booked two or three weeks before the match day, and others preferred to keep inventory closed on the different distribution channels and release them two or three weeks before to maximize sales on last-minute bookings,” he said.
Occupancy, according to STR, did not differ greatly on the Saturday of the match (91.6%) and the equivalent, non-match Saturday (83.5%) the year before.
Sources said the reason for there not being 100% occupancy perhaps is due to the city’s alternative supply of disruptor accommodation.
Yuste said the city of Madrid, excluding the outskirts, has approximately 45.000 hotel rooms, 86,000 hotel beds and 19,415 private rentals.
Even with many other fans coming to the city without tickets and watching the match in bars, “my guess is that it would be difficult to get 100% occupancy across the board,” he said.
“I have heard of ADRs ranging from €1,000 ($1,124.21) to €6,000 ($6,745.24),” Yuste added.
Martin said he was not aware that the market didn’t achieve full capacity on the night of the Champions League final.
“If I have to speculate about the reasons, I would say that the extensive supply of (disruptor) apartments at disposal … partially explains that fact,” he said.
Martín said that cities close to Madrid that had good connections, such as Toledo, Guadalajara, Segovia and even Burgos, were filled during the weekend, too.
Serrano added Valladolid to the list, a city that can be reached from Madrid by high-speed train in approximately an hour.
“High rates saw some demand deferred to nearby cities with excellent transport connections with Madrid,” he said.
Madrid hoteliers enjoyed excellent performance, but Martin said at least one did pause to think about guests who cared not one whit about soccer.
“One independent hotelier who runs a boutique property in central Madrid told me he was so worried to have sold his rooms so expensively that he blocked two rooms just in case a guest from one room needed to change due to a noise complaint,” Martin said. “He said to me, ‘How do you say no to a guest who is paying these prices?’”