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Host market hotels benefitting from Japan Rugby World Cup 2019

The host with the most, in terms of volunteers and fan attendance anyway. Rugby World Cup fever has gripped Japan to the extent that original plans for 10,000 volunteers were exceeded to the tune of 38,000 applicants and led to 13,000 recruits for the tournament.

While Rugby is by no means Japan’s most popular sport, 46.1% of the population tuned in for the country’s win over Samoa. Additionally, World Rugby announced that the number of fans attending the country’s match zones will break a record—more than 700,000 have attended thus far. So, with locals gripped and the inevitable wave of overseas visitors heading to the games, have hoteliers experienced a boost?

Japan - conversions on and off the pitch

At a country level, Japan reported an increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR) of 6.6% on 20 September 2019, the day of the opening ceremony and the host’s victory over Russia. However, this was followed by three days of decline in the metric, which was perhaps a sign of many visitors waiting for the tournament to heat up before their Rugby-inspired trips.

Performance began to ramp up as the second weekend approached, culminating with growth in hotel occupancy (+11.5% to 85.6%), average daily rate (+4.6% to JPY19,627.19) and RevPAR (+16.6% to JPY16,795.63) on Saturday 28 September.

But what relationship is there between host stadia, their fixtures and the hotels in close proximity?

Tokyo West and the Tokyo Stadium, Chofu

Tokyo West – the STR Tokyo submarket closest to the Tokyo Stadium – hosted the opening ceremony and tournament curtain raiser on 20 September, plus a second match just one day later. Hotels reported a boost and enjoyed five consecutive days of double-digit RevPAR growth, year over year, from 19-23 September. Interestingly, coming from a high base level, occupancy actually decreased on the two match days, however, considerable ADR growth drove RevPAR increases of 26.2% and 10.5%, respectively. 

*Tokyo West/Shibuya/Shinjuku

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Effect of the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony and fixtures on Japan markets

Nagoya and the City of Toyota Stadium, Toyota

Nagoya’s proximity to the City of Toyota Stadium ensured hoteliers were a lot happier than the Georgia and Namibia fans who witnessed September losses. Wales’ victory over Georgia on 23 September helped increases in occupancy (+6.1%), ADR (+9.7%) and RevPAR (+16.4%), however it was South Africa’s 57-3 defeat of Namibia on 28 September that had the most noticeable effect. Being a Saturday fixture, Nagoya hotels reported uplift in occupancy (+13.0% to 90.7%), ADR (+4.7% to JPY17,755.46) and RevPAR (+18.3% to JPY16,100.43).

Kansai, Osaka and Kobe’s Misaki Stadium

There are two ways to look at the impact of Kobe’s England vs. United States fixture on 26 September, how it affected the wider Kansai area in which Kobe resides and its impact on nearby Osaka. In Kansai, occupancy rose 11.0%, ADR grew 45.0% and RevPAR increased 60.9%. Osaka, close to Kobe’s Misaki Stadium, reported 94.2% absolute occupancy and, coupled with slight ADR growth, drove a 5.8% RevPAR uplift. This could be a reflection of Japan’s famous transport links and a fan willingness to travel to stadia.

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Impact of England vs. United States on Kansai and Osaka hotels

What next?

The knockout phase of the tournament is largely concentrated to Chofu and Yokohama, besides two quarterfinal fixtures in Oita, which could cause an even more pronounced effect on hoteliers in these markets. However, Typhoon Hagibis has already caused postponements and delays to final group fixtures and the Formula 1 Grand Prix as well as disrupting public transport services. So success both on the pitch and in host hotels could be at the mercy of this natural disaster’s impact.

*All data based on STR’s daily data as of 11 October 2019.

The markets analyzed in this report include: Japan, Osaka, Kansai. The submarkets include: Tokyo West/Shibuya/Shinjuku, Nagoya

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