North Jersey hotels say Super Bowl was a win for them

Posted: February 28, 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. More scores from the Super Bowl early this month have just come in, and hotels in the vicinity of the stadium in North Jersey's Meadowlands are declaring themselves winners.

Overall, according to a trade survey, the area's hotels reported increases in occupancy (more than 70 percent), average daily rates (nearly 130 percent), and average revenue per available room (over 289 percent) compared with how they performed during the same weekend - Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 - one year ago, according to Smith Travel Research, which tracks the national hotel industry.

Their occupancy rate for Super Bowl weekend also jumped - from 36 percent to more than 61 percent.

The North Jersey hotels saw bigger percentage gains in each of these categories than their pricier Manhattan counterparts, according to the report, authored by Carter Wilson, director of analytics for Smith. They lagged in one respect: "New York City hotels still had much higher rates and overall higher revenue," Wilson said Wednesday.

The key difference, he said, was that unlike Manhattan venues, hotels in East Rutherford and Bergen County typically have little business in February, so relatively speaking, the impact of the Super Bowl was greatest there.

"Manhattan hotels have been running strong year-round, so incremental gains are more difficult to come by," Carter said.

Manhattan hotels had higher revenue per available room from Super Bowl weekend - $302.96 in Times Square and $286.39 in Uptown/Midtown East, vs. $152.34 in Bergen County/East Rutherford.

The average daily rate at Manhattan hotels was $382.66 in Uptown/Midtown East and $379.84 at Times Square, vs. $248.85 in Bergen County/East Rutherford.

The numbers may encourage tourism officials in Philadelphia, who said last month the city and suburbs have enough hotel rooms to accommodate a Super Bowl if the Eagles make a successful bid for the game.

It was expected that hotels near MetLife Stadium on the New Jersey side - including the Hilton-Meadowlands and the Renaissance Meadowlands Hotel, on Routes 3 and 17 - would see increases as game-goers tried to be as close to the venue as possible. Manhattan is eight miles from the stadium.

"With over a 100,000-hotel-room capacity in the New Jersey/New York marketplace, the overall economic impact of Super Bowl visitors was always a concern here in the greater Meadowlands region," said Jim Kirkos, chief executive officer of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber, which counts many of the area hotels as members.

"We are delighted reports are indicating that year-over-year rates, occupancy and [revenue per available room] numbers are up significantly, and in some cases, with increases even better than what New York City experienced year-over-year."

The chamber released its own numbers Monday showing that additional revenue generated from 5,796 rooms at member hotels over Super Bowl week, from Jan. 30 to Feb. 3, was just over $3 million.

Of that, $453,645 was local tax revenue, and $362,916 in state tax revenue from an 8 percent occupancy tax. Total revenue from all Meadowlands rooms was $4.4 million.

"Regardless of the region's ability to easily absorb the influx of visitors, the greater Meadowlands fared pretty well as host to MetLife Stadium and the Super Bowl," Kirkos said.

The hotel numbers are significant because competition for tourism dollars between the two host states was fierce.

Eight North Jersey towns, including East Rutherford, held low-budget events tied to Super Bowl week to generate room bookings and compete with the pricier events on the temporarily renamed "Super Bowl Boulevard" - the 14-block stretch of Broadway geared toward Bowl-goers in New York City.

"We had the best weekend in February," Steve Kaiser, general manager of the Hilton-Meadowlands Hotel, said Tuesday. "We had huge, big-group business, so we were sold out. I had folks from Fox TV and the NFL staying here, so we had very few transient rooms to sell."

Kaiser said his 427-room hotel reported a 200 percent increase in the average daily rate, 400 percent increase in revenue per available room, and occupancy between 97 percent and 100 percent for Super Bowl weekend, compared with the mid-30s during the same weekend in 2013.

Kaiser's one complaint: He was expecting to sell his last set of rooms for $800 a night for the game, but instead they fetched about $350.

"Rate was nowhere near what we expected, but we still did great," Kaiser said.

Super Bowl XLVIII on Fox was watched by 112.2 million American TV viewers at any given moment, according to Nielsen ratings. That topped last year's average of 111.3 million for the game in New Orleans and made the rout in East Rutherford by the Seattle Seahawks over the Denver Broncos the most-watched event in TV history.


sparmley@phillynews.com

856-779-3928 @SuzParmley

|
|
|
|
|