TAMPA, Fl.-- — Super Bowl 2021 may have secured more than a Lombardi trophy for Tampa.
Visit Tampa Bay says the impact on hotels surpassed expectations.
“Just amazing in light of obviously the pandemic, but also having the hometown team. We didn’t know how that would effect people staying in hotels and obviously our locals did their part and stayed in some hotels,” said the organization’s CEO and president, Santiago Corrada.
Visit Tampa Bay says data from Smith Travel Research, Inc., shows hotel reached 92.1 percent Super Bowl weekend. That’s more than the city’s previous 2009 Super Bowl weekend that had a 84.7 percent occupancy.
Hotel revenue was more than $14 million, a 166 percent increase over the same time period in February 2020. That month was the second-best hotel revenue month in Hillsborough County’s history, according to the organization.
“It really gives you a lot of momentum and it’s helping February. The numbers for February are the best occupancy revenue numbers through the 13th of February that we’ve seen since last March,” said Corrada.
The Epicurean Hotel sold out for the weekend.
They hosted vaccinated healthcare workers the NFL sponsored, according to Joe Collier, the president of Mainsail Lodging & Development which owns and operates the hotel.
“We were completely sold out and the bar and restaurants were full, it was great. I mean this time of year, normally the Epicurean sells out almost 7 days a week. It’s a very busy hotel especially in the winter time so it felt good for our staff to get back to that feeling and that level of energy,” said Collier, adding they've been doing well on the weekends.
They weren’t alone.
“It gave us a boost and a kick in the butt together,” said Ron McAnaugh, the area general manager for Marriotts in Tampa and the general manager for the JW Marriott Tampa Water Street.
The hotel opened the end of December. But McAnaugh said they filled the hotel for the game weekend.
“We had two really solid weekends in a row to really test things. This weekend here will be more subdued and allow us to deliver and refine things a little more,” he said.
The impact of the weekend may not have ended with it, though.
“The perception that we can put on an event like this safely and have this kind of success is helping us bring in a lot more business already. We’re already seeing other conventions and meetings and groups looking to relocate from other parts of the country to Tampa Hillsborough County for this year,” said Corrada.
Still, Corrada says there is still more work to do. He said normally this time of the year, they’re around 85 percent occupancy, but right now the numbers are around 67 percent occupancy for the month with the Super Bowl, which is still over the 22 percent occupancy rate seen last April.