Melbourne cup racing

Latest booking data reveals The Everest surpasses Melbourne Cup in popularity among business punters

For the past six years, Australia's richest racing carnival, The Everest, and its rival event, the Melbourne Cup, have been the subjects of debate within racing circles. However, new data now confirms that The Everest is experiencing a rapid surge in popularity among business racegoers, including those who travel specifically for the event and those looking to extend their stay.

Understanding that business travellers often coordinate work meetings around leisure events, Corporate Traveller conducted a comparison of all domestic bookings in the week leading up to each major race and the two days surrounding the events in 2022 and 2023, with surprising results. 1

Last year, Corporate Traveller saw 43 per cent more bookings to Melbourne the day before and day of the Melbourne Cup, compared to Sydney on the corresponding days of The Everest. In fact, 61 per cent of combined one-to-two-day bookings to both races last year were for the Melbourne Cup.

Corporate Traveller expects a reversal of this trend in the current year, with their travel booking data on track to deliver 18 per cent more bookings to The Everest for one-to-two-day trips than to the Melbourne Cup. This year, 55 per cent of one-to-two-day bookings to both races are expected to be for The Everest.

When it comes to bleisure trips lasting up to seven days, The Everest emerges as the preferred choice. Corporate Traveller recorded a 12 per cent increase in bookings to Sydney last year, and they forecast a 48 per cent increase this year compared to the Melbourne Cup. It appears that Melbourne business travellers prefer longer trips around The Everest, as 51 per cent of bleisure bookings to The Everest in 2022 originated from Melbourne.

Tom Walley, Corporate Traveller’s Global Managing Director in Australia, says: “The data aligns with The Everest organisers’ strategic decision to schedule their event before the Melbourne Cup and to hold it on a weekend. The Melbourne Cup falls on a Tuesday when most people need to return to work on either side of that day. Visitors attending The Everest can extend their business trip into the weekend and return to the office on Monday.  Remote working arrangements have contributed to this kind of travel, where workers have the flexibility to align business commitments with events.

“Both these cities and events have their own unique appeal. The Everest’s prize pool has grown exponentially in its six years, with this year’s pool having reached $20 million. In contrast, the Melbourne Cup offers a total prize pool just shy of $8 million, which is less than half of Everest’s. However, it has a solid 140-year history of racing. These are different races too: the Melbourne Cup is a 3200m marathon, whereas The Everest is 1200m sprint. They are entirely different racing experiences.” 


Flight availability in the lead up to Melbourne Cup

With the Melbourne Cup just days away, Tom said that there are still plenty of available flights around 6-7 November for those planning a last-minute rush to the Melbourne Cup. Increased flight capacity has also led to lower fares. “Unlike last year, Bonza is now flying to Melbourne, and Rex has increased its capacity. With all those extra flights, prices are down and there are still plenty more flights available to get you to the Melbourne Cup.”

This year, The Everest took place at Randwick Racecourse on 14 October, while the Melbourne Cup is set to kick off at Flemington Racecourse on 7 November. Both racecourses offer a range of premium corporate experiences, from the glamorous ballroom at Randwick to the unique infield experience of The Panoramic at Flemington.


1 Corporate Traveller collected flight bookings (1) to Melbourne from 27 October-2November 2022 to capture business travel to the Melbourne Cup on 1 November 2022, (2) to Melbourne on 2-8 November 2023 to capture business travel to Melbourne Cup on 7 November 2023 (3) to Sydney on 9-15 October 2022 to capture business travel to The Everest on 15 October 2022 (4) to Sydney on 8-14 October to capture business travel to The Everest on 14 October 2023 (5) to Melbourne on 31 October to 1 November 2022 to capture business travel to the Melbourne Cup on 1 November 2022 (6) to Melbourne on 6-7 November 2023 to capture business travel to the Melbourne Cup on 7 November 2023 (7) to Sydney on 14-15 October 2022 to capture business travel to The Everest on 15 October 2022 (8) to Sydney on 13-14 October 2023 to capture business travel to The Everest on 14 October 2023.


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