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Beyond The Super Bowl, Atlanta Hotel Market 'Is On Fire Right Now'

The Super Bowl was certainly super for three hotel operators in Atlanta.

The Georgia Terrace in Downtown Atlanta

Executives with Southerly Hotels, Summit Hotel Properties and Xenia Hotels & Resorts all told stock analysts this month that the biggest sporting event of the year in the U.S. helped pump up hotel room performance in the Atlanta markets for them.

“We're very positive on Atlanta as a result of the Super Bowl, obviously, that got us off to an amazing start this year,” Southerly CEO Andrew Sims said on an investor call this week. “Not only did the hotel experience great results in and around the Super Bowl, but the whole month of January and the entire month of February have been well above expectations. So Atlanta seems to be a market that really is on fire right now.”

Southerly, which operates the Georgian Terrace hotel in Midtown Atlanta, did not break out specific performance metrics for the storied Atlanta hotel. Georgian Terrace is across the street from the Fox Theater, and in 1939 hosted the opening gala for “Gone With the Wind.”

But overall revenue for each hotel room in its portfolio — RevPAR in hotel-speak — jumped 7.4% in 2018 to $100/room on average, with a 6.9% increase in nightly room rates, executives said.

Atlanta hoteliers overall were entering the new year after a strong 2018, with RevPAR increasing almost 4% to $78.86/night from 2017. But experts have contended that the Super Bowl was expected to boost Atlanta hotels with nearly a 200% increase in the average daily room rate and a RevPAR jump by 350% to $219/room, according to a recent STR report.

The Super Bowl festivities begin a week before the game with parties, media events and unparalleled networking.

Summit Hotel Properties CEO Dan Hansen said his company's hotels in Downtown and Midtown Atlanta showed strong performance in Q4 2018, even before the Super Bowl took place.

“Atlanta was one of our stronger markets in 2018 as RevPAR increased 19% for the full year and 10% in the fourth quarter, driven primarily by the continued ramp-up of the downtown AC Hotel by Marriott, which has been extremely well-received by guests and is ramping quicker than we had forecasted,” Hansen said.

Summit also operates Courtyard by Marriott hotels in Downtown and Decatur as well as a Residence Inn off Peachtree and 17th streets in Midtown.

“Atlanta should continue to be a good market,” Hanson said. "In addition to having the Super Bowl, they've got a strong convention calendar."

Xenia Hotels & Resorts — which recently rebranded its luxury Buckhead hotel into a Waldorf Astoria — also expects a positive impact due to the NFL's championship game and the celebrations around it.

“The Super Bowl in Atlanta, as well as renovation comparisons over last year, are expected to make for a strong top line in the first quarter relative to 2018,” Xenia Chief Financial Officer Atish Shah said to analysts Feb. 26.

RevPAR in Atlanta was up more than 5% in 2018, Xenia executives said.