Still, hotels aren’t exactly panicking. Most are expecting to experience a strong surge starting this Sunday, when the Super Bowl’s two teams are finally decided in the NFL’s conference championship games.
Martin says Hotel Chandler is currently around 40 percent occupancy, but anticipated a “flurry of bookings” once the two squads are announced. Jim McPartlin, managing director for the newly renovated Loews Regency Hotel in Manhattan, is in the same boat. “We’re over the 50 percent mark right now, but we expect to fill right up on Sunday. I feel very good about what’s going to happen.”
Over at the Hilton Meadowlands, many of the hotel’s rooms are reserved for high-profile groups. “We were aggressive very early,” Bojanowski says. “We’re the official host hotel for the NFL, and we also have NFL Films, FOX, and other sponsors. Still, about 25 percent of the inventory is being held for individual ticket holders. I think there are 35-40,000 tickets that are being held for fans, so when they’re released for sale, there will be a big last-minute pickup here.”
While most owners and operators have lowered their expectations for Super Bowl weekend, they still view the big-game bump—whatever the size—as a major plus, since January and February are traditionally the worst performing months for New York and northern New Jersey hotels.
“Typically, the same weekend as the Super Bowl in past years has been slow, and our average occupancy was around 65 percent,” Martin says. Ultimately, even if Hotel Chandler’s occupancy is slightly higher than last year with rates starting at $529 a night, Martin anticipates ADR for the days leading up to and over the Super Bowl to be almost twice as much as what she saw in 2013. “It will be a ‘win’ for us, even if the property isn’t full,” says Martin.
Bojanowski sees the same silver lining. “Look, we would have loved to have made 50 percent more money than we’re going to make, but what’s happened is we’ve taken two months in which we’ve had historically negative net operating income at a lot of hotels in the area, and now they’re going to become profitable months,” he says. “We’ll be coming out of the first quarter with profit on the books, and it’s going to be a fantastic year because we’re not digging out a big hole in January and February and trying to make up for it the rest of the year.”
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