If Your Hotel Is More Expensive This Summer, Taylor Swift Might Be to Blame

The Eras Tour is bringing a wave of extremely high nightly fees and sold-out hotels.

For Taylor Swift's third night performing in Philadelphia, my friends and I slowly waded into an incredibly crowded SEPTA train, packed in with hundreds of other people covered in glitter, sparkles, and bedazzled cowboy hats. As we tunneled towards Lincoln Financial Field, I wondered how Philadelphians not trying to get to the Eras Tour felt about having their subway system taken over by a group of people who left a cloud of perfume, sparkles, and dads in their wake.

But it wasn't just Philadelphia's public transportation that felt the influx of Taylor Nation. All over the country, wherever Taylor and her weekend takeover go, so do her fans. And the resulting demand for hotels is driving prices up for everyone. In Philadelphia, hotels booked up quickly downtown and beyond.

"It really filled up Center City, which also led to creating compression in Center City, which reached out to our hotels in University City, the airport area and the suburbs," Ed Grose, the executive director for the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association, told CBS Philadelphia.

Over in Boston, a similar impact has been noted, as out-of-town attendees book hotels in the city even as Swift’s concert is held about 30 miles away. It's no surprise that hotel prices are going up with such a massive number of out-of-towners traveling to see the singer wherever they could get tickets.

As one of the most in-demand musical acts touring this summer, it's not shocking that Swift's tour is having a huge impact on local economies. Live music has a powerful symbiotic relationship with nearby hotels, restaurants, and more.

"Beyond its important cultural contributions, the concert and live entertainment industry generates massive economic upside, supporting the livelihoods of nearly a million people in the US and sustaining public services with nearly $18 billion in taxes generated in 2019," said Adam Sacks, president of tourism economics, an Oxford Economics company, in a statement in 2021. "The US needs a flourishing concert and live entertainment industry to achieve full economic recovery."

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Oxford Economics study found that “if an out-of-town attendee were to spend $100 on a concert ticket, the local economy would benefit from an additional $334.92 in spending, resulting in a total spending impact of $434.92.” And let me just say, very few people were paying less than $100 for a ticket to see Taylor Swift perform “Karma” live. The Eras Tour's impact is far surpassing what is typical for most live music events.

Try finding a hotel room in Chicago for the weekend of June 2 through June 4. According to Google, hotels are unusually high for that time period in June, with three-star hotels offering rooms for $590 a night, much more than similar weekends.

Google Hotel price graph.
The chart for average Chicago hotel prices, and the high price for the weekend of Taylor Swift's Eras Tour. | Courtesy of Google

In Detroit, where Swift is performing on June 9 and 10, it’s the same situation. Hotel prices are at the highest of what you’ll pay according to Google. Over in Pittsburgh, where Swift begins her weekend takeover on June 16, hotels that typically charge a maximum of $245 are charging a minimum of $599.

Google Hotel price graph.
The average price of a hotel in Detroit, and the price increase during the weekend Taylor Swift is in town for the Eras Tour. | Courtesy of Google

The same has been true for every stop of the Eras Tour. It is not too surprising that hotels are being booked up; several viral videos show thousands of people standing outside of the stadium to simply listen to the concert. That doesn’t even account for the 50,000 to 70,000 people seated inside the stadium. Multiply that by two or three nights? Taylor Swift is bringing a mid-sized US city to a new location every weekend.

More evidence to support this economic impact (Taylor’s Version)? Marketplace reports that Drybar locations have noticed a staggering increase in appointments during the weekend that Taylor Swift will be performing in that location.

If you have similar travel plans as Taylor and her Swifties, I suggested trying to either change your plans or be prepared to pay a premium to be sharing hotels, bars, hair salons, and restaurants with people who know every word to the song "Love Story" and carry a grudge for Jake Gyllenhaal. 

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Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Staff Writer on the News team at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @opheligarcia and Instagram @opheligarcia.