When Garth Brooks’ called Baton Rouge, hotels set a new record for revenue | Business

Garth Brooks’ sold-out concert at Tiger Stadium last week appears to have helped Baton Rouge hotels set a record for daily revenue.

Area hotels posted nearly $1.6 million in revenue on April 30, the night of the concert, according to figures compiled by STR, which tracks hotel data for Visit Baton Rouge. That was .5% higher than the previous record set on November 3, 2018, the night of the LSU-Alabama football game.

Paul Arrigo, president and chief executive officer of Visit Baton Rouge, said the tourism agency went back to see how the Brooks concert compared to lodging figures for other major events in Tiger Stadium over the past few years. That included high profile LSU football games, a 2015 Taylor Swift concert and Bayou Country Superfest, the Memorial Day weekend event that drew 135,000 fans at its peak in 2014.

“If you look at how rates have gone up over the years, the number of rooms have gone up, it was the best single night event,” Arrigo said.

Hotel revenues could have actually been higher, Arrigo said. While the dates for major LSU home football games are announced at least a year in advance, the Brooks concert wasn’t announced until December. That meant area hotels had already reserved a number of lower-priced rooms.

The Saturday night of the Brooks concert, hotels were 91.5% occupied. That was the second highest occupancy rate for a night, behind only the 2018 Alabama football game.

Overall, hotels were 83.8% occupied during the concert weekend. In comparison, the occupancy rate during March was 71.1%.

Hotel revenue for the weekend was nearly $2.6 million. That was behind only the Alabama football weekend in 2018 and ahead of other recent LSU major home football games, such as when Florida, Auburn and Texas A&M came to Tiger Stadium in 2019 – the year the Tigers won the College Football National Championship.

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Hotel occupancy and revenue numbers for 2022 are running ahead of the pre-pandemic pace, said Andrew Fitzgerald, senior vice president of business intelligence for the Baton Rouge Area Chamber. But the Brooks concert took those numbers to another level.

“The increased consumer activity surrounding the concert was undoubtedly helpful for other industries as well – such as restaurants, bars, retail, and other industries filled with small businesses,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.

Peter Sclafani said there were noticeably larger crowds at all of his Baton Rouge restaurants the day of the concert. Sclafani is part owner of several eateries, including Juban’s Creole Restaurant, SoLou Patio Restaurant Bar, Phil’s Oyster Bar and Portobello’s Grill.

“That was huge for us,” he said.

Not only did local restaurants get their normal Saturday business for brunch and dinner, but there was the pre-concert crowd in between.

The concert was better for his restaurants than a typical LSU football game, Sclafani said. While there are increased crowds the Friday night before a game, “on Saturdays you could shoot a gun through the restaurant during game time” because people are watching the Tigers.

The concert crowd spilled over from Saturday into Friday dinner and Sunday brunch, Sclafani said.

“It was really a great crowd and they spent money as well,” he said.