SXSW 2013 had $218 million economic impact

Sep 19, 2013
Austin American Statesman

This year’s South by Southwest events had a $218 million impact on Austin’s economy, according to a report released Wednesday afternoon

That figure is up from $190 million in 2012, an increase of 15 percent

Austin-based consulting firm Greyhill Advisors produced the report, which was commissioned by SXSW organizers. Since Greyhill Advisors first began producing its annual report in 2007, SXSW’s economic impact has more than doubled from its initial $95 million

“South by Southwest continues to be a truly remarkable event for Austin,” said Michael Rollins, president of the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce. “Every year, we see more quantitative and qualitative benefits from SXSW, and we’re thrilled to see what the future holds.”

Attendance at core SXSW events this year hit an all-time high of 41,700 registrants, according to the report, helping contribute to the festival’s record-breaking economic impact

The continued growth of SXSW is great news for Austin hoteliers, according to Rob Hagelberg, general manager of the Four Seasons Hotel Austin. In 2013, SXSW directly booked 56,000-plus hotel room nights for attendees, an increase of 10 percent compared to 2012

Hotel occupancy during March reaches one of its highest levels of the year, thanks to SXSW and a number of other events that happen simultaneously, including spring break and the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo. The space crunch helped boost the city’s average nightly room rate to about $255, an increase of about 20 percent

“South by Southwest remains the most important annual event in the city of Austin and its value to the community grows each year,” Hagelberg said. “The demand for hotel rooms has continued to escalate, particularly for the interactive conference, along with the addition of the educational conference. This growth benefits not only the hotels, but the associated businesses, as well as the city and our workforce.”

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