Any hotelier that has experienced an event of this magnitude in his or her market understands the important role that smart revenue management plays in effectively capitalizing on what for many cities is a once-in-a-lifetime event. To help hotels leverage this unique opportunity and make the most of their time in the spotlight, Expedia’s New Orleans-based market manager Ted Bogan III is sharing key market insight and strategies to help hotels make hay when the big game comes to the Big Easy.
With 35,000 rooms, the size of New Orleans’ hotel market is relatively similar to Indianapolis, the host of Super Bowl XLVI. For the 2012 game, Indianapolis properties commanded an Average Daily Rate (ADR) of $375. Previous host cities Dallas and Miami, with market sizes of approximately 100,000 rooms each, only commanded ADR of $216 and $246, respectively, likely due to a wider selection of lodging options for visitors. Compare that to New Orleans’ current ADR of $284, with 13 weeks until the playoffs conclude.
New Orleans is already outpacing Indianapolis on length of stay, as well. While game-goers in Indianapolis had stayed in town just over three nights, New Orleans is up 41 percent with the average guest staying nearly 5 nights.
smart plays. If you have available inventory for dates of the event, make it available now while there is limited competition in the marketplace and build your base of bookings early on while there is still time left on the clock. Expedia data shows that nearly three-quarters of bookings in Indianapolis for the 2012 game were made within 28 days of arrival. Plan to yield rates up in the weeks leading up to the event as your occupancy needs narrow.
Show your highlight reel. Remember that most out-of-town visitors have no idea that a hotel in Metarie is located a mere 20 minutes from the Superdome and the French Quarter. Will you offer a shuttle to game-central attractions? It’s imperative that relevant location and services information is featured prominently in your online content.
Short yardage plays are nail-biters, and short term booking windows lead to lower rates and shorter length of stay. Save your manicure and open inventory early.
Watch out for the blitz. Be aware of your competition, and that’s not just the hotel on the other side of the street or even on the other side of town. Baton Rouge and Biloxi/Gulfport have a great deal of available inventory at reasonable rates. Both markets are about an hour drive from New Orleans and are already seeing occupancy benefits by offering four-star hotels for about half the rate of a two-star in the Quarter.
Get the field goal. The majority of fans plan their trip from Friday through Monday. Incent guests to stay extra nights by offering a discount for Thursday and Monday nights.
Go for two. The two most popular Mardi Gras weekends happen to fall the week before and after the Super Bowl. Consider discounting the middle of the week to get guests to string together two popular weekends.
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