Average rate for hotel in Austin was $393 a night
Grand Prix generated in new or additional tax revenue.
According to an economic forecast prepared earlier this year for the circuit by Don Hoyte, hotels are expected to provide the secondlargest amount of racerelated tax revenues, only slightly behind shopping and entertainment. According to Hoyte’s analysis — which took into consideration hotels beyond the immediate Austin area — hotels could see an increase of $52 million in revenue over seven days from traffic for the F1 race.
That, Hoyte said, could result in a trust fund gain of $5 million.
The STR comparison of revenues for the same week this year and last is interesting because of last year’s home UT game. A UT home game can bring in more than 100,000 fans and generate a oneor two-night spike in hotel occupancy rates.
The Grand Prix attracted 117,000 on the third and final day of racing and drove a fourday spike in hotel occupancy rates and a spike in daily room rates.
STR focused its analysis on nearly 30,000 hotel rooms in the Austin Market Service Area, which is bounded by Round Rock and San Marcos between Bastrop and Lake Travis.
According to STR’s figures, this is how the weekend compared yearover-year:
On the comparable Saturday in November 2011, when UT played Kansas State, 89.9 percent of area hotel rooms were occupied by people paying an average of $111.40 per night. This year on Saturday, Nov. 17, 94.4 percent of the rooms were occupied by people paying $300.44 per night. More rooms were occupied at a higher rate during F1.
On the comparable Sunday in 2011, 41.1 percent of area hotel rooms were occupied by people paying an average of $86.52 per night. This year on Sunday, Nov. 18, 76 percent of the rooms were occupied by people paying $266.16 per night. Again, more rooms were occupied at a higher rate.
Lander said occupancy for downtown hotels this year on Nov. 17 was 97.8 percent. “It doesn’t get much better than that,” Lander said.
Neil Goldman is founder and CEO of Hotels for Hope, which served as the booking partner for Circuit of the Americas. Goldman said his organization booked more than 27,000 room nights at Central Texas hotels during Formula One week, with the average length of stay being 4.18 nights and an average daily rate of $364.68.
For Austin hotels that average rate was $393.69, and Goldman said hotels did offer increased services and amenities for those rates. But he acknowledges, “Everyone understands there are going to be some learning curves. There were some people locked into prepaid rates that were through the roof.”
In some cases the price for hotel rooms dropped as the race neared, and there were still vacancies.
“Patrons are too smart to pay $600 for a 2-star hotel. That’s just not going to happen,” Lander said of some attempts at price gouging.
Lander said the prices for hotel rooms in Austin during F1 week weren’t out of line with what travelers might pay in New York City or San Francisco for rooms, or with what they might be charged during South by Southwest.
“It compares very well, although it’s over a much shorter period of time,” Lander said of the F1 race to SXSW festival matchup.
For circuit officials the high occupancy rates this year provide concern for next year when both the Grand Prix and a UT home football game are currently scheduled on the same weekend.