“Obviously people want to book closer in first, but rates also dictate that, too,” said Susan Glenn, the sales director for DoubleTree by Hilton. “Some people don’t mind driving 30 minutes out if
the rate is a little bit better for them.”
The 179-room DoubleTree on Perimeter Parkway in Augusta reached capacity for the Masters Tournament in December, which Glenn said is about three months later than normal.
“This is not necessarily unusual. It happens every three or four years,” she said. “People just kind of waited a little bit later
and now are finding that procrastination is not working out in their favor.”
Rooms at seven other hotel chains in and around Augusta that are operated by the same development group as the DoubleTree, including lodging on Jimmie Dyess Parkway, Gordon Highway and Stevens Creek Road, also are almost sold out, Glenn said. Even Hampton Inn in Thomson is nearly full, she added.
Augusta Convention and Visitors Bureau marketing communications director Carly Kobasiar said the daily occupancy level of local hotels during last year’s Masters Week was between 71 percent and 93 percent, attributing the information to STR, formerly known as Smith Travel Research. Richmond County has 7,000 hotel rooms, Kobasiar said.
A quarterly report released last summer by the visitors bureau showed that last year’s hotel revenue and occupancy was up 10.3 percent and 4.2 percent from the 2012 Masters.
A sprinkling of rooms are still available Sunday and Monday nights for the tournament’s practice rounds.
“The first part of the week are individuals coming in, and the latter part of the week are client-entertained guests,” Glenn said. “Starting Wednesday is really when it doesn’t matter what type of client it is, it’s going to be sold out.”
The same holds true at Staybridge Suites Augusta, one of the closest hotels to the golf course.
Manager Sherry Smith said that as of Monday, just 17 rooms were left for the Monday and Tuesday of Masters Week. The 92-room hotel at 2540 Center West Parkway, which opened in 2008, charges between $550 to $1,050 nightly, much higher than the average cost of $164.99 for a standard suite.
“The closer it gets to the Masters, it can go up higher,” she said.
Glenn said it is typical for local hotels to double, triple or quadruple their rates for the first full week in April.
Management at La Quinta Inn at 3020 Washington Road said all 129 rooms in the three-story
hotel are occupied for Masters Week.
At the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center, the 372-room, 11-floor downtown property has been booked since June, said Darryl Leech, the vice president and general manger of the riverfront hotel.
“We fill up about 30 days after the Masters is over,” he said. “I’m sure we have a couple (of rooms available) on a Tuesday, but for all intents and purposes, we’re sold out.”