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Bergen County hotel occupancy rates during Super Bowl fall short of past host cities

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According to data released Tuesday by STR Analytics, hotels in New York and New Jersey saw modest gains during the recent area Super Bowl, but occupancy rates fell short of those seen in other recent host cities.

During Super Bowl weekend, hotels in East Rutherford and the surrounding Bergen County area saw a 61 percent occupancy rate, representing a 69 percent increase in business from the last year. However, STR reports that not only was Bergen County's occupancy rate below projections, it lagged behind those of Times Square area hotels, which came in at 79 percent, and Uptown and Midtown East hotels at 75 percent.

Compared to occupancy rates in other recent Super Bowl host cities, the New York area numbers reflect a mediocre performance, according to the data. In 2013, New Orleans saw a 99 percent hotel occupancy rate, slightly higher than the 91 percent occupancy rate Indianapolis experienced in 2012.

Bergen County hotels also saw the largest rate increases for the weekend, jumping approximately 130 percent in their average daily rates to $248.85. Comparatively, Times Square hotels saw a 102 percent average daily rate increase to $379.84 and Uptown and Midtown East hotels bumped up 54 percent to $382.66.

At an increase of 289 percent to $152.34, Bergen County hotels also reported the largest gains in revenue per available room over the weekend. Times Square hotels saw a 137 percent boost and Uptown and Midtown East hotels jumped 90 percent.

Comparatively, Indianapolis reported a 907 percent revenue per available room gain in 2012.

John Fox, senior vice president for PKF Consulting, which serves the hospitality and tourism industries, said that since some of the hotel projections leading up to the game were somewhat "amorphous," it's tough to really measure the area's performance.

"I'm not so sure anyone really had a hard number," Fox said of projections.

And while he doesn't question the report put forth by STR, he said it's a "bit misleading" to make conclusions based off of just the numbers from Super Bowl weekend rather than adding in the weeks leading up to and following the game.

In comparing the area's occupancy rates to those of New Orleans and Indianapolis, Fox said the New York area's size must be taken into account. With "several hundred thousand rooms if you really broaden the scope," it's more difficult for New York to reach full occupancy, he said.

Also, Fox said, it should be noted that a higher percentage of the game's attendees are most likely from the New York area rather than from out of town, thus reducing the need for hotels.

And as for the decision by Bergen County area hotels to hike up their rates, Fox said in the end, "significant profits" were made at "what is really the bottom of the year from a cycle standpoint in the hotel industry in the New York area."

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Andrew George

Andrew George

Andrew George covers the Statehouse from NJBIZ's Trenton bureau. Born and raised in N.J., Andrew has also spent time as a reporter in D.C., Texas and Pa. His email is andrewg@njbiz.com and he is @AndrGeorge on Twitter.

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