SXSW hotel bookings mark latest return for leisure travel

Data: Kalibri Labs, CBRE; Graphic: Thomas Oide/Axios

South by Southwest hotel bookings saw a near-normal return in March, the latest sign of a rebound in leisure travel, according to a new report from CBRE.

why is it important: The hospitality sector is an important driver of the local economy, and while the industry has not fully recovered, the numbers are a promising sign for the summer travel season.

By the numbers: Revenue per available room, the hotel industry standard for measuring a property’s performance, improved significantly during this year’s SXSW compared to the previous year, CBRE found.

  • However, this year’s event has still not reached pre-pandemic levels, when revenue per room hit $145.86. Revenue per available room this year was $131.39, down 10% from 2019.
  • Meanwhile, total hotel room revenue, which is a useful indicator for groups interested in the tax revenue generated by the city’s hotel sector, was up 5% from 2019, CBRE found.

Yes, but: The surge in total revenue is likely due to an increase in the number of hotel rooms since 2019, according to Kevin Donahue, who leads CBRE’s hotel valuation practice in Texas.

  • There were 40,396 rooms in March 2019. This number increased to 46,877 in March 2022, driven by growth in hotel construction.

Rollback: Business travel has been hit hard by the pandemic, but leisure travel is on the rise.

What to watch: SXSW officials have yet to release their economic impact report, but the 2019 impact on the local economy totaled $355.9 million.

  • CBRE predicts a rebound by 2025.

To note : The Austin City Limits 2021 Economic Impact Report will be released today at a 10 a.m. press conference.

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