Hotel rooms in Atlanta are filling up fast as the Super Bowl gets closer. Places for rent on Airbnb and other similar sites are booking up quickly, too. Prices for both are rising with demand.
The high prices and lack of space in Atlanta are driving some guests to places not so close to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Gainesville, although it’s about an hour away, is seeing an increase in visitors.
“Just within the last week, we've have a flood of people calling, booking for those dates,” said Christianna Somerville, front desk manager with Ramada by Wyndham in Gainesville. “I think that people are finding the hotels are filling up in Atlanta, and I think that we’re one of the only ones that has rooms left, really.”
On what would normally be a slow weekend in February, hotels in the area are seeing more visitors than normal. Somerville said she’s had people calling to book for Feb. 2 and Feb. 3, mentioning they’re coming in for the Super Bowl. Although they’re not expecting anything too out of the ordinary, Somerville said the hotel is preparing just in case.
“On our busiest days like this, when we know there are things going on in town like this, we like to have our most diligent and reliable staff members on board on those days just so we know everything runs smoothly,” Somerville said.
The same goes for the Hilton Garden Inn in Gainesville. It has seen an increase — about 15 percent — in its occupancy rates from what is normally the case in the wintertime.
“I’ve heard talk of people coming to visit us, basically having parties and things like that,” said Fallon Shiloh, director of sales and marketing at the hotel. “Sundays are typically slow for us, but that particular Sunday we have seen an increase in occupancy.”
Many people may find Gainesville and places outside of Atlanta more palatable because of the lower price tag. While many hotels in Atlanta are raising their rates, the Ramada and Hilton Garden Inn in Gainesville are keeping their prices near the status quo.
“We are exactly the same as we would be any other Sunday,” Shiloh said. “The demand is really high, so (Atlanta hotels) know people are going to spend the money. We’re just keeping it the same.”
Somerville said her hotel is following the same premise for now.
“I think we’re pretty much staying the same for the most part and just try to pack as many people in as we can,” Somerville said. “We might raise them last minute, but right now we’re just going to keep them the way that they are.”
Airbnb estimates 3,829 guests will come into the Atlanta area for the Super Bowl, earning its hosts an estimated $1.35 million.
So, for those renting out their homes on Airbnb in Gainesville, there’s money to be made if someone chooses to go that route. There are many places available in Gainesville ranging from $150 to $2,000 per night. The more affordable houses aren’t marketing themselves as Super Bowl getaways, but the ones with higher price tags are. There’s a home listed for $1,800 per night in Gainesville that the owners are promoting by emphasizing the home is just 50 miles from Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
If Dawsonville is a better option with its access to Ga. 400, there are homes listed for $450, $200 or $3,000 per night. That $3,000 home on the lake offers six bedrooms with 12 beds and is listed as just a 35-minute drive to Atlanta.
For any large groups, Ark on Lake Lanier, a resort-style rental property in Gainesville, is listed on Airbnb for $4,733 per night. The lakeside retreat comes complete with room to sleep 45 people, a fire pit a pool and much more.
Ark on Lake Lanier owner Jeff Hylton said he hopes to get the property rented for the Super Bowl, but knows it’s a big space, so he has realistic expectations.
“It’s not your normal vacation rental,” Hylton said. “I thought it might rent with people coming into town, but since we’re a little over an hour away from the stadium, it’s not super close. But it is one of the few places that can fit a lot of people.”
He said since it’s so close to the Super Bowl and no one has booked the property yet, he’d consider giving somebody a discount.
“If it doesn’t rent it’s going to sit empty, so I’d rather rent it for half-price than have it sit empty,” Hylton said. “I’m happy to negotiate.”