THE grand final weekend proved a bonanza in Melbourne and Sydney for the hotel sector, with record occupancies across all properties.
With the tourists came the dollars and airlines, restaurants and retailers all benefited.
Initial figures from Australia's largest hotel group, Accor, showed that Melbourne, where the AFL grand final was held, attracted the largest number of interstate visitors, with Accor's 17 hotels in the city area boosted by an influx of Sydney Swans visitors.
Sydney's long weekend and the NRL grand final saw Accor's nine hotels in western Sydney, including four in Sydney's Olympic Park, with 100 per cent occupancies.
The Victorian regional manager at Accor, Adrian Williams, said Melbourne hotels normally had strong weekend business. ''But with it being a long weekend back in Sydney we saw the Sydneysiders use the extra day to make it a long weekend in Melbourne, so our hotels boasted close-to-full occupancies on Friday and Sunday nights, as well as a sellout on Saturday. Even hotels as far away from the MCG as Glen Waverley enjoyed a bumper weekend.''
New South Wales regional manager at Accor Scott Boyes said that given the NRL final was held late on a Sunday afternoon of a long weekend it meant that the usually quiet Sunday night became one of the strongest.
''Even better, the whole city benefited. Western Sydney had its strongest weekend of the year, while the city also recorded near-full occupancy,'' Boyes said.
''We didn't have as many Melbourne Storm fans come to Sydney compared to Swans fans going to Melbourne, but Sydney had many activities on over the weekend.''
Accor owns and manages hotels such as the Pullman and Sofitel at Sydney Olympic Park.
The Mantra group also reported strong occupancies with all six Mantra Melbourne city hotels, including at Jolimont, running at 100 per cent on both Friday and Saturday nights with a 12 per cent revenue per available room (revpar) growth across both days in Melbourne compared with grand final weekend 2011.
Mantra's four Sydney CBD hotels recorded a 6 per cent revpar growth compared with 2011. The city ran close to capacity with thousands of Melbourne Storm fans in town.
The story Sydney, Melbourne hotels boom over footy's big weekend first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.