Ahead of TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit 2016 (31 Oct-2 Nov, Liverpool/Manchester) we caught up with Hilton Worldwide’s Nick Smart to find out why the global hotel brand is developing properties at some of the UK’s biggest sports and live event arenas.
Hotels are becoming a major contributor towards stadium revenues as they create valuable new opportunities for business on non-event days, according to Nick Smart, Vice President, Development, North & West Europe, Hilton Worldwide.
Smart’s company is leading the way in the development of accommodation for visitors to some of the biggest sports venues in the UK and abroad.
“Hotels create valuable new opportunities for business on non-event days”
Hilton has already developed at more than 20 stadia, including Wembley Stadium, the home of the England national football team, and the English Football Association’s main coaching facility at St George’s Park. It is also present at major cricket venues, with a 171-bedroom property at The Ageas Bowl, home of Hampshire CCC, and a 150-bedroom Hilton Garden Inn hotel soon to open at Emirates Old Trafford, one of the most celebrated Test cricket venues in England.
Adding to sites at the football grounds in Sunderland, Milton Keynes and Coventry, Hilton’s strategy of development at live event venues is clearly proving popular with stadium owners and fans, as the global chain’s Senior Director Architecture & Design, Celia Geyer, will discuss when she takes part in a round table session entitled Hotels & Stadia at TheStadiumBusiness Design & Development Summit later this month.
“Location is incredibly important to our guests, and is always a consideration when we approach a new project,” Smart said. “With more than 25 hotels and 6,000 rooms trading or under development at stadia around the world, Hilton is growing faster at sporting venues than any other hospitality company.
“With more than 25 hotels and 6,000 rooms at stadia around the world, Hilton is growing faster at sporting venues than any other hospitality company”
“We see further growth at stadia as a huge opportunity for our brands, and we’re leading the charge in our collaboration with owners. No other operator has the breadth or depth of specialist experience.
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“The quality and performance of Hilton developments at this type of location has already proven successful, and we certainly see the mixed-use approach to stadium design and operation as a key direction for the future.”
While the hotels share Hilton’s high standards, they differ in terms of their size and location at the various stadia. The 304-bedroom DoubleTree by Hilton in Milton Keynes is fully integrated into Stadium MK and was the anchor tenant for what has subsequently become a major mixed-use scheme, while the Old Trafford property is in the grounds of the arena, and the Wembley property stands in close proximity to the 90,000-seat stadium.
Accommodation on site clearly provides a convenient service for fans attending a sports fixture or music concert, and that appeal to punters is of great interest to sports rights-holders and artists’ tour managers hunting for potential venues.
“Hilton is often part of the bidding process for major events because of our offering,” Smart added.
“We see a huge opportunity for our hotels to be associated with sports going forward and have a brand for every occasion.
“Hilton is often part of the bidding process for major events because of our offering”
“Stadium owners are diversifying themselves to bring in different events – including entertainment, concerts and alternative sports such as the NFL at Wembley – while also creating destinations in their own right with leisure and retail.”
Smart explained that hotels can improve the experience of stadium visitors, as well as opening up a new revenue stream.
“Successful hospitality development at stadia can deliver an enhanced fan experience, which is no longer limited to the sporting event, but contributes to a great overall experience,” he said.
“Stadium hotels can deliver superior opportunities for investors by allowing for development diversification and the opportunity for risk dilution. This can in turn support fund raising efforts.
“Thoughtful development can also drive greater returns on non-match days, including conference and events (attendance for which tends to peak during the week), F&B – and other sustainable revenue streams.”