KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – Football fans pay a premium this weekend to watch the Vols take on Georgia. A quick Google search shows hotel rooms range from $ 700 to over $ 1,000 a night. The country’s No. 1 team coming to town is just one reason for the prices.
Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville, said hotel rates in the city were increasing ahead of the football season. In fact, she said they had increased by 30 to 40% during the pandemic. And people pay higher prices.
In fact, the city hit a record for hotel / motel tax collection in July and August.
Everything is driven by demand. Basically, Bumpas explained, the rates have gone up because Knoxville is a place where people are willing to spend money on staying overnight. During the pandemic, more and more people turned to Knoxville as a getaway destination, took advantage of outdoor recreation, walking trails, among many other attractions.
“We have a certain client that’s in the market now and either has a budget to spend more or just has more money to spend,” Bumphas said. “We are capitalizing on this. Honestly, I said Knoxville should have gotten these rates years ago. It’s a silver lining of COVID. “
Michelle Arline, vice president of sales and marketing for Gibson Hotel Management Inc., said most rooms are full at their 10 area hotels – and not just because of football.
“There are so many other great things going on as well. You have Eric Church performing at the Thompson Boling Arena on Friday, ”Arline said. “With the fall season and all the beautiful colors and the trees all spinning, it really creates this wonderful backdrop for upcoming weddings and family reunions in town.”
Bumpas and Arline recommend booking early to find the cheapest prices. Arline recommends that members of the rewards program book directly with a hotel brand or individual hotels, to ensure they earn points.
Bumpas said it’s a good idea to check out discount sites, as many hotels have a block of rooms at lower rates. However, she urged the public to book early as they sell out quickly.
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