Six years of Super Bowl hotel performance
Six years of Super Bowl hotel performance
18 FEBRUARY 2016 8:11 AM

With Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco’s rearview mirror, how did hotels perform in the market compared to the past five Super Bowl host cities?

BROOMFIELD, Colorado—Every year STR Analytics examines the impact of the Super Bowl on its host city’s hotels, looking at the stats both in absolute terms as well as year-over-year change. This is the sixth year of this analysis, and we have been eager to see what the impact would be this year in San Francisco. 

What's particularly interesting about Super Bowl 50 was the distance of the venue from the major city (about 40 miles away). With such a geographically broad location for the event—in particular an area which usually runs at high occupancy levels—there likely will be less positive impact, as we saw when New York/New Jersey hosted Super Bowl XLVIII in 2014.
This year, we processed the data by the following locations:
  • San Francisco market (which includes area to the north and south of the city);
  • San Jose market (which includes San Jose, Palo Alto, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale and Santa Cruz);
  • combined San Francisco and San Jose markets;
  • Santa Clara submarket (which is a part of the larger San Jose market); and
  • city of San Francisco (which is part of the larger San Francisco market).


For Super Bowl weekend, the city of San Francisco was the occupancy leader, hitting 88.3% for the combined Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights of Super Bowl weekend. The Santa Clara submarket, where the game was actually played, was more than 10 occupancy points lower. By contrast, for last year's game in Phoenix, the market-wide occupancy was 95% for the weekend.

If occupancy levels were a bit softer than expected, the same thing can't be said for rate. Average rates surpassed the $500 level in the city of San Francisco and were north of $400 for the broader region. This surpasses New Orleans' rate of $393 in 2013 for Super Bowl XLVII.
RevPAR year-over-year change

All areas experienced a decent spike in revenue per available room for Super Bowl weekend compared to the same weekend last year, with the city of San Francisco more than tripling its prior-year performance. The Santa Clara submarket doubled its performance, while the San Jose market noted the lowest increase of the area. As a point of reference, the Phoenix market registered a 344% increase in RevPAR during Super Bowl XLIX last year.
So how does this compare to the five previous Super Bowl hosting cities? The following charts examine the comparative impact of all six host areas, first for the weekend of the Super Bowl itself, and then for the two weeks leading up to the game.  For this year's game, we used the combined San Francisco/San Jose markets to designate the hosted area.
Past Super Bowl weekend performance

The combined San Francisco and San Jose markets had the second-lowest occupancy level for the weekend, just behind Dallas and about seven occupancy points ahead of New York. Phoenix recorded the second-highest overall occupancy for Super Bowl weekend and was beat by only New Orleans (which has about half the room supply to fill).

Here's where California wins. The combined San Francisco and San Jose markets had the highest weekend rate of all the past six Super Bowl hosts, just edging out New Orleans. Phoenix was a somewhat-distant third place, followed by New York.
In looking at total RevPAR increases versus the prior year, the winners and losers shift a bit.

The combined San Francisco and San Jose markets experienced a 234% RevPAR increase for Super Bowl weekend compared to the same period in 2015, an increase that falls between those experienced in New York (115%) and Phoenix (344%). Indianapolis experienced an astounding 1,000%-plus increase in RevPAR during its Super Bowl weekend in 2012, more than double the next highest increase (Dallas at 447%). 
These numbers make sense. Of the five markets, Indianapolis is slowest in early February, so it has a lower basis from which to climb. Dallas and New Orleans also experienced relatively soft weekends the year prior to their respective Super Bowls, while New York, Phoenix and San Francisco were somewhat busier.
Two weeks of Super Bowl anticipation
Looking at the markets for a full two weeks prior to and including the Super Bowl tells yet another story. 
Of the six host cities, the combined San Francisco and San Jose markets had the highest occupancy for the two weeks preceding the Super Bowl the year before the event came to its market (74.5%), so these are markets already fairly busy in the winter. Thus, gains are more difficult to come by, especially compared to a location such as Indianapolis, which only had 43% occupancy in the last two weeks of January the year before the Super Bowl and saw a 48.5% occupancy jump in 2012 (the year of the Super Bowl). Nonetheless, it's interesting to note the San Francisco and San Jose combined markets saw almost no occupancy growth (+0.1%) during the two weeks leading into Super Bowl weekend, although RevPAR gains during this period amounted to roughly 34%. 

Overall, the RevPAR gains experienced in the Bay Area were most pronounced in the city of San Francisco itself, largely due to impressive rate increases. But for the broader San Francisco and San Jose markets, total year-over-year RevPAR gains both for Super Bowl weekend and the two weeks leading into the event were below the average experienced of the five previous host cities, with only New York achieving less.


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