Bowled over by price hike for super weekend in Indianapolis
AS OF Friday, you could still find a scarce hotel room for this weekend in Indianapolis, at the budget Best Inn – for €687.46 a night, according to Travelocity.com. That would put you in town for the Super Bowl on Sunday between the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
Of course, if that’s too steep, you could book the same room the following weekend – for €42 a night. That would put you in town to see the Indiana Ice hockey team take on the Muskegon Lumberjacks on February 11th at the Pepsi Coliseum. Supply and demand drive all aspects of travel, naturally. In Indianapolis, a midsize air travel market with fewer than half the hotel rooms of Dallas, the host of the Super Bowl last year, game weekend demand exceeds supply for most travel services – including hotels and coveted landing and take-off slots for private jets, and even parking. Travel industry executives are already shaking their heads at the degree of wretched excess building up.
In terms of costs and difficulty in finding hotel rooms, for example, “Indianapolis is probably going to be one of the most extreme of all the Super Bowl cities simply because of the limited supply,” said Tim Hart, the executive vice-president for business intelligence at TravelClick, which provides marketing data to the hotel industry.
The Super Bowl is more than just a major football game. Almost since its start in 1967, the event has also played out as a corporate extravaganza that, for many travellers, is a weeklong business trip with expense account spending on a truly epic scale. Depending on how much business is conducted, it’s also a big business expense tax write-off for at least some of them.
Still need game tickets? Stubhub.com, the ticket resale site, listed about 3,000 seats on Monday, priced from a mere €1,605 in the farthest nosebleed levels, all the way up to €394,901 for a full luxury suite. How about a rental car while you’re in town? Hertz has full-size sedans for €328.71 for this Saturday through to Monday morning. A week later, the same rental is €78.30. And don’t forget parking. For those who want to avoid a bracing walk in chilly Indianapolis, ParkWhiz.comlists a spot at a lot across from the stadium at €381 for all day Sunday (tailgating is allowed, unlike at official lots at Lucas Oil Stadium, where the rate is the usual €46).
Air travel? Giants or Patriots fans flying between Indianapolis and New York or Boston this weekend will pay €1,054 to €1,404 for nonstop flights (assuming seats are available), according to Orbitz.com. Next weekend, fares on the same route are about €306. So let’s go back to hotel prices. About 13,000 hotel rooms, roughly 90 per cent of the rooms in Indianapolis regularly tracked by TravelClick, were booked early last year by the National Football League. That probably accommodates the NFL as well as business partners, including “all the sponsors and the people the sponsors bring in tow,” Hart of TravelClick said. These rooms were sold at roughly 2½ to three times standard rates, he estimated.
After the block booking, only a relatively small number of the major brand hotel rooms in the Indianapolis region tracked by TravelClick were available. There were also rooms at smaller hotels available. Some travellers are playing a waiting game, in the hope that prices will drop. And the Days Hotel near the airport, which usually goes for €36 a night, suddenly became available – at €1,407 for two nights.
– New York Times