Super Bowl 2014 - Five-star prices for one-star lodgings
By Victoria Cavaliere
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nightly rates at a no-frills, budget hotel in West Orange, New Jersey, average around $100 for a queen room outfitted with a coffee maker and basic cable television.
But for several days in early February, the same Best Western will be charging 10 times that amount, asking guests attending the Super Bowl XLVIII in the nearby town of East Rutherford to shell out $1,000 for a room.
"It's a lot of money," hotel manager Brian Cassara concedes, adding that he hopes sports fans "will pay these exorbitant prices to come to the game."
The National Football League estimates that about 400,000 people will descend on northern New Jersey for the February 2, 2014, championship game at MetLife Stadium, about 10 miles from New York City.
The event is expected to bring in more than a half billion dollars in economic activity to the New York-New Jersey area.
That vision has put dollar signs in the eyes of hotel operators, homeowners and apartment dwellers in the region's already pricey real estate market, with some of the advertised lodgings seen as the most expensive ever for a Super Bowl, observers say.
To attract high-end guests, some homeowners are throwing in incentives like chauffeurs, stocked bars, and gift certificates for dinner or a massage.
"There's a lot of hotels, businesses and commercial real estate owners who are cashing in on this event and taking the opportunity to make a buck. So, why wouldn't Joe Homeowner give it a shot?" said Bill Ryan, managing director of Super-Bowl-Rentalz.com, a site launched last year solely to link Super Bowl attendees with short-term rentals. Continued...