Hotel occupancy higher than 80 percent for Mardi Gras weekend

Published: Feb. 25, 2022 at 9:41 AM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - This year’s Bacchus, actor Josh Duhamel, was treated like royalty as he made his way to his hotel ahead of the krewe’s Sunday roll time.

“We had a police escort. I got to throw doubloons to everybody. We had a band playing,” Duhamel said.

The actor was excited to be in New Orleans during the season, especially since he will ride in the parade with his son.

“We are just going to have the times of our lives,” he said. “This is my first time experiencing Mardi Gras. I think this is going to be one of the most exciting weeks of my life.”

But it’s not just actors and other notable faces coming down for the floats and staying in one of the area’s 26,000 hotel rooms.

“Occupancy this weekend is in the high 80 percent, almost close to 90 percent for Saturday night,” Kelly Schulz, New Orleans & Co. Senior VP Communications and Public Relations said. “It drops off a little bit for Sunday and Monday but it’s still very strong occupancy. Especially when you look at what the hospitality industry has been through since COVID.”

With the first Mardi Gras in two years, Schulz said New Orleans & Co. wanted to focus their tourism ads in cities within drivable distance.

“We have advertising that is active right now in markets like Memphis, Dallas, and Houston,” she said.

Hotel management says the surge of revelers is a mix of both newcomers and familiar faces.

“Some of our rooms are booked year after year by the same repeat guests that love it and want to make sure they come back on a regulars basis,” Viviane Friedman, Director of Sales for the Pontchartrain Hotel, said.

Friedman says the increased check-ins is a welcomed sign with some of the hotel’s guests anticipating carnival since it was put on hold.

“These guests had already rebooked for this year and now they are coming and there is a level of excitement,” she said.

Tourism experts say that while the main focus is on the parades, visitors are ready to experience everything the city offers and open up their wallets to do so.

“I would say it’s easily millions and millions of dollars in economic impact for this weekend alone,” Schulz said.

While experts say the numbers won’t be as high as pre-COVID numbers, hotels are ready to manage the crowds.

“We have been preparing the way in advanced and we are fully staffed,” Friedman said.

And tourism leaders are getting ready for more big events, like Jazz Fest and the Final Four, in the months to come.

“We are the best in the country at doing these types of major citywide events,” Schulz said.

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