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North Central Florida hotels banking big on Gator Football

Published: Sep. 16, 2021 at 8:32 AM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - As tickets for this weekend’s big Gator game against Alabama are sold out, hotels across Alachua County are reporting similar trends as very few rooms remain available and those come at a high price some nearing $800.

Assistant General Manager of the Fairfield Marriot in Gainesville Adam McGovern said all 114 rooms are sold out this weekend and have been for three months.

“Last year we were happy to see 50 to 60% occupancy, a lot lower rates,” said McGovern. “This year when we saw all the booking coming in we realized people are ready to come back, they’re ready to pay a premium and I think everybody has benefitted from that.”

For UF’s season opener against Florida Atlantic University, Alachua County hotels hit 90% occupancy for the weekend, bringing in approximately 1.6 million dollars in hotel visitor spending alone.

RELATED STORY: Gators say they won’t buckle under the pressure of facing top-ranked Tide

Not including Airbnb’s, 63 lodging properties can be found across Alachua County. Even with more properties now on the market, this year’s hotel occupancy has surpassed previous years.

Alachua Counties Tourism Development Manager, Jessica Hurov, said this visitation supports local businesses across North Central Florida.

“This is a huge spillover effect everything from filling up a gas tank at one of local gas stations to filling up a cup of coffee at a local coffee house to getting your dinner, going to celebration pointe checking out spurriers,” Hurov said.

More properties are on the way, as construction on the New Hyatt Place, next to the Hippodrome, is underway and expected to open in Spring 2022.

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