Av­er­age rate for ho­tel in Austin was $393 a night

F1

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - Con­tact John Ma­her at 4453956.

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.

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