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"Thursday is the new Friday" for Melbourne CBD hospitality. Or is it?

We heard the expression "Thursdays are the new Fridays" a number of times in reference to Melbourne CBD hospitality, so we used tech to test this hypothesis. uses de-identified human movement (mobile location) data that doesnot contain personal information (e.g. names, addresses, phone numbers etc), iscompliant with all Australian laws and ensures privacy is maintained at alltimes.

We geofenced a group of leading hospitality venues in Flinders Lane, Melbourne, including Garden State Hotel, Chin Chin and Cumulus. A statistically significant sample of de-identified mobile devices from within these geofenced areas were analysed, being a sample of the visitors within these hospitality venues.

We profiled when and proportionally how many visitor events occurred by Dayof the Week (DoW) and Hour of the Day (HoD). The below graph shows relative density for different days of the week and hours of the day i.e., the busiest days and times of the week within the hospitality venues.

We analysed and compared visitor activity between two time periods:

·      Sep – Dec 2019   (from here on, we will call this “Pre-Covid”)

·      Sep – Dec 2022  (from here on, we will call this “Post-Covid”)

The below chart reveals that pre-COVID, Friday at 7pm was the busiest time of the week in the hospitality venues.


There was a clear change in pattern post-COVID and Saturday at 7pm became the busiest time of the week in the hospitality venues.

This knowledge is helpful for CBD hospitality venues as they continue to try to gauge “The New Normal”, what it means, and how to best respond to our changing environment.  

However, to really understand what’s occurring and draw insights, we need to take a closer look at the key changes in activity levels on different days on the week. Again, we analysed and compared de-identified mobile phone activity between the same two time periods (pre- and post-COVID). Key findings are summarised below.


Day of week analysis

The graph below shows the percentage of activity that was observed on Fridays during both time periods, as a proportion of the total weekly activity.

Pre-COVID, Fridays were the busiest day of the week, representing 21% of all weekly activity at the Flinders Lane hospitality venues.

Post-COVID, Fridays became the third busiest day of the week, having decreased to 17% of all weekly activity at the Flinders Lane hospitality venues.


We observe in the graph below that Post-COVID, Thursdays have remained the second busiest day of the week, but have increased from 16% to 18%of all weekly activity at the Flinders Lane hospitality venues. In fact, Thursday activity is the only weekday in which activity increased - all other weekdays saw activity levels decrease.

Saturdays have gone from being the third busiest day Pre-COVID, increasing by 8% to become the busiest day of the week Post-COVID, representing 22%of all weekly activity at the Flinders Lane hospitality venues.

So Saturdays are in fact “the new Fridays”.

Sundays have gone from being the least busy day of the week Pre-COVID, increasing to become the fourth busiest day Post-COVID, representing 13% of all weekly activity at the Flinders Lane hospitality venues.

All up, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are now the busiest days in these Flinders Lane Hospitality venues Post-COVID, with proportional increases in visitation observed on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and decreases on all other days.

Our theory was that Thursday activity at these Flinders Lane hospitality venues had probably increased due to CBD workers heading out after work on Thursdays now, rather than Fridays, due to many people working from home on Fridays.

But rather than make this assumption, we used our technology to investigate this further.

For this analysis, we used our proprietary algorithms to segment the Flinders Lane hospitality patrons into “CBD Workers” (shaded) and other “Visitors” (bold).

As per the above graphs, on Thursdays Pre-COVID, 11% of patrons were CBD workers. However, on Thursdays Post-COVID, only 7% of patrons were CBD workers.

It’s therefore apparent that the increase in patrons on Thursdays has been attributable to an increase of other Visitors to these Flinders Lane hospitality venues, rather than from CBD Workers. Visitors have increased from 5% Pre-COVID to 11% Post-COVID (see above).

Our conclusion from the above analysis is that people are socialising in the CBD more now because they are working there less. With fewer people commuting to the CBD for work on a daily basis with hybrid working, there is more time and a stronger desire for people to socialise and enjoy leisure activities in the CBD.

An established trend of working from home on Mondays and Fridays has been well documented in Australia and around the world and’s own analysis of CBD workers in the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs has confirmed this.

With people working from home on Fridays and Mondays, we believe they are more likely to visit the Melbourne CBD for leisure and entertainment on Thursday evenings and Sundays.

The changing landscape of work and lifestyle choices Post-COVID is reshaping our city. We will continue to leverage our new technology to report on trends and patterns as they emerge in this ever-changing environment.

If you’d like to understand what activity levels look like in your precinct of interest, please reach out today here.  Or to receive regular updates like this, you can join our newsletter list here.

Callan Cameron