Music, film and tech lovers who are planning to visit the South by Southwest® (SXSW) conference in Austin, Texas better start scraping their nickels together. According to a new survey by www.CheapHotels.org hotel rates in and around Austin have risen strongly for the city’s annual music and film festival, which starts on Friday, March 8, and runs until March 17.
Certainly Rodeo Austin, which also just happens to be starting this Friday, will attract plenty of visitors as well. The coinciding of this event with SXSW will make hotel rooms in the city even more expensive. The rodeo will last until March 23, making the entire middle of March a pricey proposition for Austin visitors.
Not surprisingly, for the first weekend of these two events downtown Austin is virtually sold out. Indeed, only a few remaining high-end rooms are still available from US$500 per night. In the Austin suburbs, more rooms are currently available, but most are going for triple their regular rates. Some establishments have hiked their rates even more than that.
The Super 8 Austin serves as a good example. Located in southeast Austin, about four miles from the international airport, this hotel regularly charges US$107 for a Queen room. Come mid-March, however, when the SXSW festival and rodeo are in full swing, it will be charging US$647. That figure represents more than a 500% increase. For more affordable rooms, out-of-towners will have to head to Round Rock, about 12 miles from downtown Austin. There, they should be able to readily find a room for below US$200 per night.
A slightly greater number of hotel rooms are available during the week and on the second weekend of the music and film festival, but even then their rates are still at least double regular prices. The good news is that cost-conscious travelers will be able to find a budget hotel room during this timeframe for less than US$200 nightly, even in downtown Austin. Rodeo visitors will find more reasonable rates during the last week of the event, when South by Southwest attendees have cleared out of the city. If they want to save money, they should plan on attending the rodeo from March 18 onward.
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