2021 football finals poised to boost English hotels

Wembley Stadium. Photo credit: Wembley Stadium

Good news for hotels in England: The country is set to host the Union of European Football Associations' 2021 Women’s European Championship finals. And just as the quadrennial FIFA World Cup spurs a race for developments and improvements in its host countries, England's hotel sector could also see a boost.

Matches are currently proposed for Brighton’s Amex Stadium, London's Wembley and Brentford Community Stadium, Milton Keynes’s Stadium MK, Manchester City’s Academy Stadium, Nottingham’s City Ground, Rotherham’s New York Stadium, Sheffield’s Bramall Lane and Southampton’s St. Mary’s. Notably, Wembley will host the final game, one year after hosting the equivalent final for the men's tournament. 

UKHospitality, the new trade body representing the UK’s hospitality sector, praised the announcement. “Major international events like the 2021 Euros will give our hospitality venues a boost, particularly hotels in and around the host cities,” said UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls in a statement. “The Euros will allow us to showcase England’s world-class hospitality and ability to host major events, which we know provide a boost to the wider economy, as well as giving domestic fans an opportunity to cheer on the England team.

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“It should also provide a measure of positivity and stability enabling venues to plan investment around the tournament and the expected influx of fans. The government can capitalize on the tournament by using its national powers to deregulate licensing permissions during the tournament," she said.

“This will come at a critical time post-Brexit when we need to be encouraging more inward investment," Nicholls added.

Left Out?

The Guardian newspaper called the list of proposed host cities and stadiums "controversial," as no games would be held north of Manchester and Rotherham. This means that while some major cities will see an influx of visitors for the games, northern cities like Blackburn, Burnley, Leeds, Hull, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Newcastle would be left out. (When England hosted the 2005 edition of the finals, all games were held within the country’s northwest region, leaving major cities in the south and east out of the festivities.) 

This could be significant as hosting major football events, particularly the finals, can be a boon to a city's hotels and overall economy. Rio de Janeiro saw double-digit occupancy growth in June 2014 from the previous June—up 12.6 percent to 81.6 percent—and July—up 18.3 percent to 80 percent. ADR increased 72.8 percent and 64.4 percent during these two months, respectively, driving RevPAR to rise 94.5 percent. According to JLL Hotels & Hospitality Group, hotels in Moscow reported a 52-percent increase in RevPAR to RUB7,700 for the first half of 2018, a 48-percent increase in ADR to RUB11,200, and a 2.7-percentage-point increase in occupancy to 72 percent.

Many of the cities that are not proposed for games this time around could use the boost that hosting games could bring. Earlier this year, Knight Frank’s report "UK Hotel Development Opportunities 2018" noted Hull has experienced the smallest increase in new hotel supply and hotels under construction (as a percentage of supply) in 2018 at 2 percent. Meanwhile, Newcastle (7 percent) and Leeds (8 percent) have experienced similar, slow levels of growth in new hotel supply and hotels under construction in 2018. As of October, Hull reportedly had 35 new hotel guestrooms in its pipeline slated to open by 2021.