Miami hotels prep for record-setting Super Bowl weekend
Miami hotels prep for record-setting Super Bowl weekend
31 JANUARY 2020 9:44 AM

The Miami hotel market is expected to record the highest rates for a Super Bowl weekend, and hoteliers in the area are prepared to take on the extra guests.

MIAMI—It’s been 10 years since the Miami area last hosted a Super Bowl, and hoteliers in the market are looking to make the most of it.

STR, parent company of HNN, projected the market will achieve occupancy of 91% to 94% with average daily rate ranging between $520 and $540 over the weekend, combining for revenue per available room of between $473 and $508. The area’s high season is typically February and March, so the jump in rate won’t produce large year-over-year percentage changes. However, Super Bowl LIV is expected to drive rates above already high performance.

Last year’s Super Bowl host city, Atlanta, achieved occupancy of 75.7% and ADR of $313.40, resulting in RevPAR of $237.34. In 2013, New Orleans achieved 96.5% occupancy around the game. Phoenix hotel occupancy reached 95.2% in 2015; and Minneapolis/St. Paul reported 92.5% occupancy. None of the markets achieved ADR or RevPAR as high as what’s being projected for the Miami/Hialeah market.

“The Miami market is projected to achieve the highest rates we’ve ever seen for a Super Bowl weekend,” said Blake Reiter, STR’s director of custom forecasts, via email. “Since the market is already so strong in February, the Super Bowl is just adding a layer to that already elevated performance.”

The timing of Super Bowl LIV will be an interesting factor in monthly performance, he said. The Friday of Super Bowl weekend is the last night of January, and the Saturday and Sunday subsequently will affect February’s monthly performance, he said.

“With the financial impact of Super Bowl weekend spread across both months, it may actually appear somewhat muted when looking at monthly data, in comparison to when the full weekend falls in one single month,” Reiter said.

Since Miami last hosted the Super Bowl in 2010, the market has added about 10,000 new rooms. The city, like the rest of the country, was still struggling to recover from the recession in 2010, so rates at the time were in the low- to mid-$300 range.

Data from STR shows the Miami/Hialeah market reported negative year-over-year performance for full-year 2019. Occupancy dipped 0.9% to 75.9%, and ADR dropped 1.2% to $196.52, which resulted in a 2.1% decline in RevPAR to $149.19. Even during the market’s high season, in February and March, RevPAR was negative, the data shows.

Game-day strategies
When Neal Spivack came on as GM of The Gabriel Miami, Curio Collection by Hilton, during a management company change in 2019, the hotel already had two groups on the books for Super Bowl weekend. Since then, Spivack and his team have fully booked the 129-room property. About 90% of guests are part of groups, such as sports organizations, as well as corporate business, he said. Most guests coming for the Super Bowl and related activities are departing on the Monday after, he said.

Jacqueline Lejart, GM of the Cadillac Hotel & Beach Club, Autograph Collection by Marriott, in Miami Beach, said via email a week before the Super Bowl that her property is projecting to sell out from 31 January to 2 February. The business mix is 30% transient and 60% group, she said. Most guests are leaving the day after the game, but some check out on Super Bowl Sunday, she said.

Revenue and sales strategies are crucial for events like this, she said.

“There was no need for special packages or deals,” she said. “To have competitive rates is what drives your guest bookings.”

The Gabriel is located about a quarter of a mile from the American Airlines Arena, the Bayside Market and Bayfront Park areas, which are hosting many of the city’s Super Bowl Live activities. Spivack said he’s expecting to see a lot of people walking by his hotel due to road closures. Though the property is fully booked, his team will be looking to attract non-guests to enjoy the atmosphere and food at the hotel restaurant, he said.

“We’ve been focused on how we make sure that people know who we are,” he said. “So in any of their traveling or vacations they take to the city in the future, they can remember who we are.”

Because Miami plays host to so many large events throughout the year, preparing for a Super Bowl after a 10-year absence wasn’t an insurmountable task, both GMs said. The city government and its departments know what to do to set up and direct traffic, Spivack said. The hotels’ job is to make sure they have guest credit card information, and provide extra security at the property and great service, he said.

“Quarter one is our busiest quarter anyway, because it’s cold everywhere else, and it’s really great weather here. We kind of know what that feels like during this time of year anyway, so it’s a really amped up version of that,” he said.

The Cadillac will have some guest “surprise and delight” items and activations in its food-and-beverage areas, such as a big-screen TV to showcase the game as well as happy hours and game specials, Lejart said.

Spivack said his property worked out a deal with the hotel restaurant’s liquor vendors to give out products to guests upon arrival.

“We try to provide something nice, something of value in the room just to show our appreciation, again keeping in mind that they’re really not spending a lot of time here. It’s more of a place to just come back, grab some sleep and then head back out to the events, because that’s typically what they’re in town for,” he said.

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