At the beginning of the year, many economists expected the U.S. to be in a recession by now. The fact that we aren’t can probably be attributed to a still strong labor market and growing corporate earnings.
But a 33-year-old singer could have something to do with it as well. Taylor Swift’s Eras tour has been crisscrossing the U.S. for months as she has performed in sold-out stadiums. Her legions of dedicated fans sometimes travel great distances to attend her performances, filling hotels and restaurants, sometimes days before and after the concerts.
After Swift performed in Philadelphia, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia acknowledged her impact.
“Despite the slowing recovery in tourism in the region overall, one contact highlighted that May was the strongest month for hotel revenue in Philadelphia since the onset of the pandemic, in large part due to an influx of guests for the Taylor Swift concerts in the city,” the bank noted in the Fed’s “Beige Book” report.
After Swift performed three sold-out concerts in Chicago in June, the tourism marketing organization Choose Chicago reported hotels in the city saw record occupancy and revenue during that period.
Hotels are jumping on the bandwagon
Businesses in cities where Swift is scheduled to appear now eagerly anticipate her arrival, along with the throng of her fans, all eager to spend money. In late July, as Swift headed for Santa Clara, Calif., local hotels took full advantage.
Some hotels, booked to capacity with “Swifties,” arranged tailgate parties before the concert at Levi Stadium. Tourism officials were ecstatic.
"The Taylor Swift effect, it's even bigger than I anticipated," Christine Lawson, CEO of Discover Santa Clara, told KTVU-TV.
Lawson said that hotel occupancy in Santa Clara was at nearly 100% the week of the concert, at a time when rooms normally go begging.
Boosting a normally slow period
"July and the weekends, in particular, are slow in Santa Clara,” she said. “They’re not our peak times of the year. So this has a great financial impact for us, from an economic standpoint, just to have the hotels full. Everyone will be going to the restaurants."
It’s estimated that by the time the Eras tour ends, including its international stops, it will have raked in $1 billion. But the multiplier effect of her fans’ spending is even greater, as not only hotels and restaurants benefit, but also bartenders, hairstylists, and Uber drivers. One tourism official compared the concerts’ effect on cities to hosting a Super Bowl.
In late July the U.S. government reported that the economy grew by 2.4% in the second quarter, a much higher rate than expected.