Fans arrive like butterflies: Pearl Jam concerts drive tourism, hotel demand

October 01, 2020

You could say Seattle came alive with more than an even flow of tourism dollars from a pair of highly-anticipated Pearl Jam concerts, according to rockin' new research by West Virginia University economists.

Dubbed the "Home Shows," two Pearl Jam concerts in August 2018 helped net the seaport city $58 million in additional hotel revenue and $9 million in hotel tax revenue. Compare that to Seattle Mariners baseball games, which generate $140,000 in additional hotel revenue on game days, and the researchers make a clear case for large, one-off events as economic boosters.

The study, "Why Go Home? Pearl Jam's 'Home Shows' & Hotel Demand," was authored by Joshua Hall, chair and professor of economics, and Justin Parker, a 2020 Ph.D. economics graduate. It was published in the Annals of Tourism Research Empirical Insights.

"While many events that attract visitors do not create large economic impacts (sports, for example) because a portion of the attendees are local and thus just represent spending that would happen anyway, events can generate large impacts under the right conditions," Hall said. "The Pearl Jam 'Home Shows' seem to be the perfect conditions.

"Baseball games are primarily visited by local fans. While there will be some out-of-area visitors who stay overnight, our data show they are small and do not shift demand enough to lead to a large increase in room prices and thus hotel revenue and taxes. The key difference is not between a concert and Mariners games, rather it is between events that draw people in from far away - thus requiring hotel nights - and events that mostly draw locals."

Hall believed the timing of the concert - at summer's end in early August - combined with a planned off-day between the two shows made it ideal for loyal fans wanting to combine a live music experience with a vacation. The shows marked Pearl Jam's first in Seattle - their hometown - in five years and attracted fans from across the globe.

Every Pearl Jam show is also different than the one prior, so fans attending both were guaranteed a unique opportunity from each performance.

Hall and Parker found that the concerts, held Aug. 8 and 10, increased average daily room rates by as much as $144 a night and hotel occupancy to more than 90 percent.

One contributor to the Seattle economy was Hall himself, who attended the concerts with his wife, Sabrina, as part of their 20th wedding anniversary. The couple flew from Clarksburg to Seattle via Chicago, and the plane from Clarksburg was full with everyone wearing Pearl Jam apparel, Hall said.

"Then when I checked into the hotel, I chatted with the manager," he said. "He told me that room rates got up to over $400 a night and that he thought everyone in the hotel was a Pearl Jam fan based on their clothing when they checked in. That made me think - based on what I knew about their ticketing system - that this would be the ideal conditions for large economic impacts.

"In the stands I saw and met people from all over the country and world - many international fans bring their country's flags to hold up - which further led me to realize that I wanted to estimate the impact of these shows on hotel demand and hotel tax revenue."

Hall added that research like this can inform policymakers' decisions regarding permitting and other forms of public support for concerts and cultural events.

By contrast, some sporting events do not result in economic boosts for host cities. The City of Charlotte spent $330,000 on public safety surrounding the 2017 PGA Championship, although the event had no significant impact on hotel revenue and taxes, according to one study. Meanwhile, the City of Seattle estimates each World Cup 2026 game hosted will cost $1.32 million for security. Hall projects the city will only be able to recoup those costs through the hotel tax if most attendees are from outside Seattle.

"Given the uniqueness of Pearl Jam the band and the 'Home Shows,' we argue that this case presents an upper bound of what an event designed to attract tourists can have on hotel demand," Hall said. "Tourism, and consequently hotel demand, are a key component of the economic development strategy of many cities."

Citation: "Why go home? Pearl Jam's 'Home Shows' & hotel demand"

West Virginia University

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to