Hotel reservations and event attendance in 2021 shatter expectations

BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (WAFB) – New Year’s revelers are expected to bring in big bucks in the Baton Rouge area.

Sector leaders attribute a successful Christmas weekend as an indicator. After a devastating blow to the hotel and restaurant industries last year, the 2021 holidays indicate that things are finally looking up.

“Hotel bookings were actually better this year than we’ve seen in several years,” said Ben Blackwell of the Hotel Association.

Blackwell added that hotel bookings and revenues not only exceeded last year, but were also better than in 2019 before the pandemic upset everything.

“You know, Christmas time in the capital is definitely a time when people leave the city more than they come in. So, I think this year more people have visited their families and have come together. presented to the market, ”added Blackwell.

Attendance at the events also took many by surprise, exceeding all expectations.

“2021 has turned out to be much better than we expected and we are cautiously optimistic for 2022,” said Paul Arrigo of Visit Baton Rouge. “We hope that the numbers for 2022 will reach those for 2021.”

And with hotel reservations and huge crowds at events, there is business for restaurants. Jim Urdiales, the owner of Mestizos Mexican Grill, said it was one of his best years.

“I have to say it was one of our strongest weeks that we have seen in a long time,” said Urdiales.

But while service is making a comeback, what Jim is missing is the staff.

“Yeah, that’s interesting. I mean, in front of the house we were really lucky, behind the house doesn’t seem like there are any people applying. In fact, hardly anyone applied, ”continued Urdiales.

He may be shorthanded, but has noted that at least his business is progressing.

Experts say what we’ve seen so far this holiday season is only positive. And even with the current increase in COVID cases, the biggest turnout rates are expected to continue until the New Years weekend.

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