AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– The Masters Tournament is just two weeks away, and it’s the busiest part of the year for hotels in the CSRA.
Marty Metfess, CEO of 10 local hotels, said the industry during the Master’s week isn’t what it used to be, “The market has changed a lot the past few years, and we’ve all seen it coming. We’ve been adapting year after year. It used to be no matter where you were in Augusta, you would be sold out a year or two in advance. Now we have to work a little harder for each reservation.”
Jane Girvan, manager of a Comfort Inn and Quality Inn hotel, and Shelly Blackburn, director of Columbia County Visitors Bureau, told the same story.
Blackburn says there’s roughly twelve hundred hotel rooms in Columbia County, but there’s still vacancies.
“We’ve got a few rooms here and there. Reservations have been slower this year, but we are filling up,” Girvan said.
Matfess said technology and accessibility play a large role in the decrease of hotel reservations, “Expedia and Hotels.com now list houses and non-traditional hotels, where they didn’t used to. On top of that, you have the Airbnb where someone could rent not just a house, but a room in their house.”
Renting houses out during the week of Masters is not a new concept. Matfess said it’s risky business to rent a private home because you never know what you’re paying for. He said there’s no Trip Advisor for private homes.
“With a hotel brand, you know with a Double Tree you’re going to get a cookie at check in, and you know it’s going to be up to Hilton Standards. With a Sheraton, you know you’re getting a Sheraton experience,” Matfess said.
Although the hotel industry is experiencing a downfall, one thing remains constant: “It’s a great week to be the hotel business. Not because we’re sold out but because everyone is just in a great mood,” Matfess concluded.