By Desirée Taylor
The signs are up, the staff is ready, but so far hotel bookings for Super Bowl week have been anything but super.
“We still have rooms available. The Meadowlands market I think is a little disappointed,” said Homewood Suites by Hilton Hotel Manager Tom Martucci. “So I think we’re all going for the same dollar so it’s every man for himself.”
Other hotels in the area also have rooms available that week, contrary to what many had predicted months ago. As a result, room rates have come down considerably and some restrictions have been loosened.
“Two, three months ago, the price structure was much higher. We’ve dropped considerably. The length of stay pattern, originally most cities was a four-night minimum. Not a lot of hotels at a two-night minimum,” Martucci said.
Homeowners hoping to cash in on the big game have also been disappointed.
“Every day I list my house on Craigslist and so far, nothing,” said Pamela Sutch.
Sutch was optimistic because she says her asking price is two to three times lower than others listed online. But with no takers so far, she decided to lower her rate.
“I started at $3,000 per night. Yesterday I went down to $2,500,” Sutch said.
Realtor Justin Smith says the problem is that there are just too many hotel rooms in the region, unlike other smaller cities that have hosted the Super Bowl in the past.
“Right across the river you have New York, so there’s definitely an abundance of hotel options there. So that will make it more difficult for a homeowner to rent out their home,” Smith said.
Making matters worse, says Martucci, New Jersey is an afterthought when it comes to promoting the big game, even though the Super Bowl and many related events will be held in the Garden State.
“It looks like the NFL kinda tried to make this look like a New York event and let’s come to New Jersey to play the game,” Martucci said.
Sutch agrees, but she’s still holding out a bit of hope that she can score a renter.
“I am on EventHomes. That’s one of the best websites. So it’s out there,” Sutch said.
Of course some folks are hoping there are still procrastinators out there who are waiting until the last minute to find a place to stay. But with so many options available, realtors say there’s a slim chance homeowners will get the super rental rate they were hoping for.