The week of the Masters Tournament is a hectic one for Augusta hotels, but it’s the easiest week of the year to sell rooms.
“We’ve been booked for a year,” said Betty Carter, the director of sales and marketing for Candlewood Suites Augusta.
The hotel at 1080 Claussen Road in Augusta has been booked since last year’s tournament. One company rented all of the hotel’s available rooms last year, she said, and made reservations for 2012 on their way out.
Peggy Seigler, the director of sales and marketing for the Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the overall occupancy rate for 2011 was 88 percent for Masters Week. Wednesday night had the highest occupancy at 95 percent, and Sunday had the lowest at 68 percent. She expects this year to be about the same, if not a little better.
Seigler and her staff field calls all year long from guests looking for a place to stay, and she said they have always been able to find everyone a room.
“We will get calls up until the last minute from people looking for rooms,” she said. “Sometimes, hotels might drop prices at the last minute and guests get really lucky.”
The Hampton Inn on Washington Road has just a handful of rooms each day still available, according to director of sales Ian Fisher, but he expects those to sell in the next week or so.
“I will totally book up,” he said. “It’s been a very good year.”
Masters Week involves a lot of extra hours and preparation for hotel staffs, Fisher said, but it’s an exciting week, too.
“It’s a great time to showcase Augusta,” he said.
Not only do rooms sell quickly for Masters Week, but hotels are able to charge prices significantly higher than usual.
Carter said her rates are marked up by about 75 percent, and West Bank Inn manager David Jeng said his rates range from $230-$275 during the week. That’s about four times as high as usual.
West Bank Inn has sold out of rooms for Thursday through Saturday nights, but the rest of the week still has a few rooms available. Jeng said he expects those rooms to sell soon.
Jeng said there’s a degree of extra care that goes into Masters Week.
Every year, the hotel decor is updated and a huge supplies order is made to ensure nothing runs out.
“We put a lot of work into this week, but it’s really fun,” Jeng said.