Marathon boosts BR-area hotel business

Hotel business boomed in the nine-parish Baton Rouge area during last weekend’s Louisiana Marathon, according to statistics released Wednesday by Visit Baton Rouge.

“The event was a success,” said Renee Areng, Visit Baton Rouge’s executive vice president. “The hotel occupancy rate would have grown even more if not for new rooms added since the 2013 marathon.”

Areng said information from the research firm STR shows a 3.3 percent increase in the number of hotel rooms available in the nine parishes because of new construction. That total now stands at 13,000.

Hotel occupancy was 40 percent higher on Saturday than it was Jan. 1, Areng added.

Overall hotel room revenue totaled $546,906 on Friday, which Areng said was 9.2 percent higher than the same date last year.

Hotel room dollars totaled $624,967 on Saturday, which Areng said was 8.9 percent higher than a year earlier.

Visit Baton Rouge officials said they usually do not conduct or commision economic impact studies for such events.

However, Louisiana Marathon founders Craig Sweeney, Pat Fellows and Danny Bourgeois estimated prior to the event that it would generate $5.4 million for the area.

LSU economics professor Stephen R. Barnes estimated an economic impact of at least $2 million, possibly as much as $6.5 million.

The nine parishes that make up the Baton Rouge Metropolitan Statistical Area are East and West Baton Rouge, East and West Feliciana, Ascension, Livingston, Iberville, Pointe Coupee and St. Helena.

Editor’s note: This story was changed on Jan. 23, 2014, to correctly say that hotel revenue increases on Friday and Saturday were from room rentals.