So goes it for Georgia and Alabama fans looking for lodging close to Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game.
Many hotel managers said their properties are filling up fast — or are already sold out.
Hyatt Regency Atlanta, one of the host hotels for this football matchup, is already sold out for the big game.
“We expect most of the major hotels in downtown, Midtown and Buckhead to fill up as well,” said Peter McMahon, general manager of the 1,260-room hotel. “This weekend will be tremendous for the city. The game is expecting some 72,000 fans, which will mean many sold-out hotels and packed restaurants, bars and attractions.
“Historically, the economic impact of the game has been more than $100 million for the host cities. That means more overtime pay, tips and overall a nice New Year bonus for the thousands of Atlantans who work in hospitality.”
The demand for hotels may come as a surprise to some, given the close proximity of both universities to Atlanta. UGA, for instance, is just 72 miles away. The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa is 202 miles from Atlanta.
“The biggest advantage for Atlanta is the competing teams are both regional, which means more fans can easily get to Atlanta, even if they don’t have tickets to the game,” said William Pate, president and CEO, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Tom LaVaccare, director of sales and marketing for the Ellis Hotel on Peachtree Street, said demand has been high, but some rooms are still open.
“We had a great turnout from traveling Alabama fans in recent years for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl and the SEC Championship,” he said. “We love serving the University of Alabama fans, and, of course, we love our Bulldogs. They’re a fun group.”
The Ellis currently has 38 of its 127 rooms left to sell on Sunday and 32 rooms left to sell on Monday.
“People definitely waited until they knew who was playing,” LaVaccare said. “All of the (booking) action was on Jan. 2. Now it is just steady reservations.”
With the 8 p.m. game time, plus traffic from the president attending the game and a rainy forecast, he thinks a lot of fans will prefer to stay nearby.
The Ellis has lowered the two-night minimum rate to $362 per room per night (plus tax) for Sunday and Monday nights.
Football fans may have better luck in outlying areas like near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport or in Smyrna and Marietta.
For instance, Angel Lipscomb, assistant manager of the Drury Inn & Suites on Powers Ferry Place in Marietta, said there’s availability, but she expects the weekend to be busy.
She can’t say, though, if it’s because of the game. “It’s looking like a normal weekend,” she said. “I think a lot of people will just be doing a day trip.”
It’s not just hotel rooms in demand.
Airbnb looked at guest arrivals and host income in Atlanta for Saturday and Sunday, comparing them to the same weekend in 2017.
There will be 3,200 Airbnb guest arrivals in Atlanta for the college football championship, according to Airbnb. This represents an 80 percent jump from the same weekend in 2017, which saw 1,800 Airbnb guest arrivals in the city.
New Year’s Eve was Airbnb’s biggest night in Atlanta for guest arrivals during 2017. The total guest arrivals for Dec. 31 were 7,020.
Airbnb said hosts in Atlanta will earn $250,000 sharing their homes with game attendees.