Australian Grand Prix pulls record corporate crowds despite escalating cost of business

corporate travel grand prix melbourne

Despite the soaring cost of operating a business, corporates are still finding the cash to splash out on Grand Prix tickets in record numbers. Corporate hospitality experiences costing $1550 to $4595 per person for the main race day only, or up to $6550 per person for two to three-day passes were almost sold out two weeks in advance1, while air travel data showed a 146 per cent jump in bookings around the four-day event compared with last year. General admission sold out within two hours[1]. The figures demonstrate the value of investing in major events as a way of retaining key business connections and developing new relationships, even in uncertain economic conditions.

The Australian Grand Prix is held annually in Melbourne over four days at Albert Park Lake. This year, it’s on from Thursday, 21 March to Sunday, 24 March. The latest data compared corporate inbound and outbound flight bookings from 20-25 March to capture travel to the four-day event. It found the Thursday is the busiest day, with 25 per cent of all bookings scheduled for this day.

Businesses under financial pressure

Over the past two years, businesses have been hit by much of the same financial pressures as Australian households[2] with multiple interest rate rises and increases in the cost of fuel and materials. Cautious consumers and efforts to retain staff in a competitive environment of skills shortages have added to the pressure. Increasingly, businesses facing profitability challenges are drawing down on cash buffers to support their operations or service debts[3], with the failure rate of businesses is expected to rise from 4.2 per cent to 5.8 per cent of all businesses by November this year[4].

Amid the widespread downturn, the travel, hospitality, and entertainment sectors might outperform other sectors in 2024. With food and drink, entertainment, and travel and experiences noted as categories where individuals are most inclined to increase their spending.[5]

melbourne grand prix 2024 business travel
Tom Walley, Corporate Traveller’s Australian-based Global Managing Director, says:
“It’s been a hard couple of years for many businesses, but our data strongly suggests that businesses across the country see value in major events like the Grand Prix. This year, we have seen a massive increase in attendance by Canberra-based corporates compared to last, however, the majority of bookings are still from Sydney, followed by Brisbane, across both years. While expensive, events like this are a prime opportunity to network, nurture existing relationships and develop new business and sponsorship opportunities, savvy businesses from all over Australia are beginning to make the most of those benefits.”


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Networking and marketing a priority

With the focus firmly on networking and brand exposure, corporate bookings between 20-25 March this year were up 146 per cent on bookings for the six days before, during and after the 2023 Grand Prix (29 March to 3 April). Of those, only 9 per cent were international and 91 per cent were local. Of local bookings in 2024 compared with 2023, Canberra jumped by 300 per cent, Adelaide by 226 per cent, Brisbane by 191 per cent, Perth by 177 per cent, and Sydney by 194 per cent. Sydneysiders made up 36 per cent of all bookings.

Corporate travellers have a variety of exclusive events to choose from, and none of them come cheap.  The Grand Prix offers a choice of 19 exclusive experiences, including a three-day Red Bull Energy Station experience at the top price of $6550 per person. The Red Bull Energy Station is held in a two-storey facility with views of the pit exit and main straight. The experience includes dining, drinks, DJs, entertainment and appearances from the Red Bull racing team[6].

The least expensive three-day experience was The Park at $2195 per ticket, including dining, DJs and an outdoor viewing deck[7].

Crowd-breaking records and a stellar line-up

In 2023, 444,631 people attended the Grand Prix over four days, a record attendance for Melbourne [8]. Higher numbers are expected to flock to the Albert Park Lake circuit this year with race-day tickets selling out in a couple of hours [9]. The Albert Park circuit can hold an estimated 125,000 people per day, including 44,000 seated.

Tom says: “Business owners recognise the importance of investing time and money into their team and associates for long-term gains. Grand Prix attendance has grown exponentially over the past couple of years as businesses recover, maintain and grow in a tumultuous economic climate. This is one expense that has the long-term potential to relieve financial pressure as well as give businesses and their employees a morale boost and something exciting to look forward to.”

[1] 2024 Australian Grand Prix race day tickets sell out in two hours (





[6] Red Bull Energy Station | FORMULA 1 ROLEX AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX 2024


[8] Record Melbourne crowds attend chaotic 2023 Formula One Australian Grand Prix - Drive

[9] 2024 Formula One Australian Grand Prix race day tickets sold out - Drive