IPL’s impact on hospitality: Boosting tourism, hotel bookings, and revenue surge

From soaring tourism to exponential hotel bookings, IPL 2024’s economic impact is undeniable, fuelling growth and excitement nationwide

   
IPL's-hospitality-hit-Boosting-tourism,-hotel-bookings,-and-revenue-surge

The Indian Premier Leaue (IPL) season is back in India. And once again it’s not just about the bat and the ball; it’s a carnival of cricket, culture, and camaraderie. And yes, commerce!

Since 2008, the IPL has become one of the biggest opportunities for India Inc to mint some coins. Especially the hospitality sector, which gets the best out of this most watched sports event.

Boost to tourism

One of the notable impacts of the IPL season is on tourism during the tournaments. IPL matches are held in various cities across India, drawing millions of cricket enthusiasts and tourists alike. Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality establishments experience a marked increase in bookings and footfalls. For example, in 2019, the IPL led to 4 lakh domestic and foreign tourist arrivals in India, generating US$ 68 million for the Indian hospitality sector. There is currently no data available for 2020-21 with an international host (Dubai). IPL 2022 was restricted to a single state (Maharashtra). However, with the IPL’s homecoming in 2023, the revenues of the hospitality sector increased significantly. The experts are expecting the same from this season as well.

Akash Gupta, General Manager, Mayfair Spring Valley Resorts, Guwahati asserts that having the latest IPL season in April and May will help to boost hotel occupancies and revenues in a myriad of ways.

“Cricket teams, support staff, and team supporters travel and stay with their favourite teams for the matches. Hotels have adopted the trends of customised plans and offerings during the IPL season like special IPL packages for rooms, happy hours in match screening areas, cricket quizzes during matches, etc. Hotels have expanded their horizons to outdoor catering by serving inside the cricket stadiums which is a major revenue centre during this period,” he says.

Increased hotel occupancy

Since IPL season is already on a roll, hotels have been witnessing major traffic and enquiries have also gone up.

“The latest IPL season is anticipated to significantly affect hospitality bookings, particularly in hotels, restaurants, and auxiliary services,” comments Saurabh Gahoi, VP, Ramee Group of Hotels.

Hotels situated near IPL venues are likely to experience higher occupancy rates, while restaurants and other hospitality services are expected to see increased footfall due to the influx of cricket enthusiasts. “With the IPL being a major sporting event, drawing crowds from across India, there’s a surge in demand for accommodation and dining options. We are already witnessing it,” he adds.

In fact, hotels in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh are witnessing a steep rise in inquiries for booking rates and availability for the 5th and 9th of May matches, according to the apex body of the local hotel association, which gives them hope for a boost in their tourism sector.

Similarly, Guwahati is also getting ready for two matches.

Gupta of Mayfair Spring Valley Resorts enthuses, “IPL coinciding with the summer season is an added advantage for hotels and the occasion is merged with leisure travel along with the match dates. This travel generates an extended stay at the hotel with family and friends. Hotels provide additional benefits on the extended stay for their guests which benefits higher occupancies and food and beverage sales during this period.”

He further adds, “There has always been a great response to our offerings which are specially curated to cater to the IPL season crowd. Match views on big screens, special IPL quizzes, and special menus impel fans to go out and enjoy matches at hotels in groups which is considered a perfect day outing as they enjoy this much-awaited occasion.”

Similarly, the Ramee Group has also prepared some special packages. “To accommodate the influx of cricket fans during the IPL season, we have made several adjustments to our offerings and services. These include introducing cricket-themed décor and entertainment options, extending operating hours for restaurants and bars, and enhancing our room amenities to provide a comfortable stay experience for the guests attending IPL matches,” Gahoi informs us.

Cheers and chants at restaurants and bars

As the stadium lights illuminate the night sky, a different kind of excitement unfolds at restaurants and bars across the city during the IPL season, especially for those who are not watching it live. To attract fans, especially the youth in droves, restaurants and bars are offering live telecasts of the matches on big screens while they indulge in culinary delights and refreshing beverages.

For instance, ITC Master Chef Creations which is the official gourmet food partner for Royal Challengers Bengaluru (RCB) has introduced the RCB special menu for fans through the Swiggy app.

“This partnership continues to celebrate shared values of authenticity and the passion for creating unparalleled experiences during a match. We’re even more excited to offer an expanded menu with even more delicious options for fans with the added convenience of a Swiggy delivery,” said Rohit Bhalla, VP & Business Head at ITC Food–Tech to the media.

Similarly, most restaurants in Mumbai and Kolkata have introduced special cricket related menus and promotional offers to attract consumers. For example, Social has come up with the hashtag #doosrastadium and are serving themed LIITs and have an exclusive Social STAD-YUM menu. Another bar and restaurant, The Studs in Mumbai has IPL offers where upon predicting the match winners, consumers can get 50 % off on their entire food bill and free shots as well. 

“IPL attracts people from all age groups, and everyone spends freely when they visit these venues with their families and friends. It’s no less than a celebratory event across India and is attracting more and more people every year,” says Gupta.

Expected revenue and trends so far

In the fiscal year 2024-25, the Indian hotel industry is poised for a promising rise, projecting a revenue growth ranging between seven to nine per cent. This optimistic forecast by the credit rating firm, ICRA underscores the resilience of the industry, attributing the anticipated growth to the sustained allure of domestic leisure travel and the burgeoning demand for meetings, incentives, conferences, and exhibitions (MICE). Despite a brief lull anticipated during the general elections, IPL is one of the factors that is expected to serve as a robust driver of demand in the financial year.

“Hotels enjoy high occupancies and better food and beverage sales during the IPL season year-on-year. It’s one of the trends,” says Gupta.

“With the increase in the number of matches and them coinciding with the summer holidays in the second phase of the tournament, hotels will probably benefit from up to 20 % extra sales and profitability this year. 74 game tournaments are expected to create as many as 50,000 room nights this year,” he adds.

Gahoi also anticipates a significant increase in their revenue during this IPL season compared to the previous years. “The increase in demand for accommodation, dining, and other hospitality services is expected to translate into higher occupancy rates and average spending per guest, leading to improved financial performance for our properties,” he asserts.

Talking about the trends, experts feel that over the years, the IPL has brought about significant changes in how consumers avail themselves of hospitality services.

“Consumers have changed over the years. Hospitality businesses have observed several trends and patterns in consumer behaviour and spending habits during the IPL season. This includes a preference for group bookings, an inclination towards experiential offerings such as live screenings and themed events, and a willingness to spend more on leisure activities and dining experiences,” Gahoi tells us.

IPL’s economic impact and surge in its viewership

The Indian Premier League (IPL) transcends the boundaries of cricket, serving as a platform for strategic alliances and spectacular sponsorships within the hospitality industry. Hotels, airlines, and travel agencies eagerly vie for coveted partnerships with IPL teams, capitalising on the tournament’s global appeal to elevate their brand presence. This symbiotic relationship not only captivates audiences but also forges lasting connections, fostering a dynamic ecosystem of collaboration and growth.

This convergence of cricket and hospitality carries significant economic implications.

“Since its inception in 2008, the IPL has left an indelible mark on the Indian economy. Drawing millions of cricket enthusiasts from around the world. The tournament has generated a surge in job opportunities, particularly within the hospitality and entertainment sectors. Additionally, substantial revenues from sponsorships and advertising have further bolstered the economic impact of the IPL over the years,” Gupta contends.

Simultaneously, the IPL’s influence extends beyond stadium gates and television screens. The total watch-time for the tournament on TV has skyrocketed to 8,028 crore minutes, marking a remarkable 20 per cent increase from the previous year. Match ratings for the 17th season of the tournament have surged by 22 per cent compared to the previous edition, indicating the unwavering popularity and allure of IPL cricket.

As a testament to its widespread appeal, approximately 16.8 crore unique viewers tuned in to the broadcast of the 17th edition of the Tata IPL 2024 on its opening day alone. This unprecedented viewership propelled the watch-time to a record high for the opening day of any IPL season, registering an astounding 1,276 crore minutes of viewing time.

In essence, the IPL not only ignites passions on the cricket field but also fuels economic growth and cultural engagement beyond the realm of sports. As cricket enthusiasts unite in celebration, the IPL continues to stand as a beacon of excitement, unity, and prosperity for millions across the globe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *