AUSTIN (KXAN) — With this year’s South By Southwest Festival returning to a full in-person format, searches for Austin hotels on the Hotels.com app have increased tenfold, according to the company.
That also means that hotels are becoming even more expensive.
Hotels.com said the average room rate within the city during the festival is hovering at around $315 per night.
However, if you’d like to stay close to the action, you can expect to pay a hefty premium.
The company says hotels in downtown Austin are charging between $500 and $1,000 per night, with some going for even more.
“It gets a little less expensive as you move out,” said Expedia Group Spokesperson Melanie Fish. “But starting last week, some people I think started canceling their reservations, and all of a sudden there was a little bit of availability. The Driscoll for $400 a night. The Aloft Hotel for around $350. So if you hit it just right, you can still find downtown places to stay.”
If you’re hoping to fly in just for a day to catch your favorite speaker or panel, the search for a room gets even more challenging.
Some downtown hotels require two to three-night stay minimums before you can book.
Despite its central location, getting to Austin is going to cost you more than usual. Expedia reports the average plane ticket costs $425.
To save more at the airport, you may want to consider arriving a bit early or enjoying a few days in town after the festival ends. Expedia said fliers can save 15% on average with domestic flights that depart on a Wednesday.
“Booking domestic flights at least 30 days out will save you some money,” Fish said. “Also use your flight price tracker in the Expedia app, you can get those notifications when prices drop.”
For those looking to rent out a house, you’ll find steep competition. Vrbo said demand for vacation homes in the Austin area surged more than 10% during SXSW this year compared to last.
Fish said about one in five travelers is visiting Austin for SXSW from out of the country.
“Other than that, I see a lot of the usual suspects, we’ve got Dallas visitors, we have Houston visitors, New York and LA, no surprise coming to South By,” Fish said.