Home Conventions Okay just a little bit more on San Diego’s hotel situation

Okay just a little bit more on San Diego’s hotel situation


Not to beat this into the ground, but there are some interesting documents online that explain why San Diego has a chronic hotel room shortage and the rates are among the highest in the land. A look at the media page for the San Diego convention and visitor’s bureau turns up some interesting reports. For instance this chart shows the relative size of the number of visiors, room nights and so on for each month last year. July easily has the greatest number of visitors, and more importantly, a greater amount of visitor dollars spent and hotel rooms booked. The occupancy rates are also very high.

It’s often been said that the city of San Diego itself and the CVB didn’t give the Comic-con much priority (forcing it to move around on the calendar etc.) because although the con was big, the visitors didn’t spend that much money. That was NOT the case in ’06, apparently, but if you’re interested in looking at the charts from 2000-2005, you’ll see that that was not always the case. Although Comic-con goers have numerical superiority, it wasn’t until the most recent Hollywood era that they began to outspend nephrologists and whoever else was visiting town.

(The Comic-con still doesn’t have much juice with the CVB — search for events in July and you’ll get art exhibits and plenty of events at SeaWorld but no Comic-con – but hey check it out — a Pre-Rephaelites show will be on during the con!)

This report tells you EVERYTHING you ever wanted to know about tourism in San Diego county, but also explains why hotel room rates are SO high, and why finding a room is so hard: basically, San Diego is a popular destination!

According to PKF Consulting “Trends in the Hotel Industry” report, San Diego leads the Los Angeles and Orange County hotel markets in highest average daily rate and second highest occupancy through the third quarter of 2006. “Not only is San Diego one of the strongest hotel markets in Southern California, it is currently one of the strongest hotel markets in the country, and one of the most popular destinations for conventions.”10 The San Diego hotel market met pre-2001 levels in 2005 and is estimated to have exceeded historical highs in 2006. While growth has been steady, the market experienced some additions to supply, which reflects a shift from recovery to growth. While convention bookings in 2005 were strong, 2006 should be even stronger. The opening of the Hilton Campbell Shipyard in 2008 is projected to bring the market to record convention performance.


After several years of significant additions, relatively few new hotels were opened in San Diego during 2006, although a net 269 hotel rooms were added to the inventory primarily from rehabilitations and expansions of existing hotels. Many more hotel projects, however, are under construction or proposed and in planning stages. Reopening, additions, and new hotels during 2006 include the U.S. Grant, (as part of the Starwood Luxury Collection), Staybridge Suites San Diego, and Hotel Del Coronado additions.

Some projects expected to open in 2006 are now anticipated in 2007, when an estimated 2,300 rooms will be added, a 4.2% increase to the County’s total inventory. The 2007 projects include the reopening of the Sofia Hotel (formerly Pickwick) and Ivy Hotel (formerly Maryland), plus the Keating Hotel are other additions anticipated by the end of the year. A Hilton Garden Inn, Grand Del Mar Resort and Spa, Diegan Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel, Carlsbad Ranch Resort, and additional rooms at La Costa Resort and Spa, with numerous more projects are also in the planning phase for 2008 and beyond, including the Hilton San Diego Convention Center Hotel, Inter-Continental Hotel at Horton Plaza, and Chula Vista Waterfront Hotel.

…As of November 2006, there are 449 hotel properties with 51,882 rooms in the County of San Diego. An additional 85 Bed & Breakfasts and country Inns with 537 rooms, 2 Health Spa Resorts with 63 rooms, and 3 Casino Resorts with 1,555 rooms are also available.

That’s a picture of the huge new Hilton at the top of this post — it will belocated on the other side of PetCo Park, but it won’t be available until the 2009 con.

For more on San Diego’s hotel crunch there’s this newspaper article from 2004 about the rise in occupancy and room rates and this
pr piece which nonethless paints an accurate picture of the grim lodging situation.

As grim as it may be, it’s still better than downtown LA, where scattered outposts of hotel rooms set amid a Golan Height-like expanse of homeless tent people and gang turf leave the LA convention Center a less than desireable location.

The 15 conventions booked at the Los Angeles Convention Center this year continue the steep drop from the peak of 35 in 2001, according to LA Inc. And a reversal of fortune doesn’t appear to be coming anytime soon–there are 13 conventions booked into the center in both 2005 and 2006. six in 2007, five in 2008, seven in 2009 and four in 2010.

[snip] Another negative for L.A.: a dearth of hotel space near the Convention Center. With 650 hotel rooms allocated to convention business within a half-mile of the center, the city pales in comparison to Las Vegas (9,400 rooms), San Francisco (5,000), Anaheim (4,500) and San Diego (2.650). And while efforts to develop a convention hotel have advanced in recent months, a deal is nowhere in sight.

While we don’t doubt there are more than 2.6 hotel rooms within a half mile of the San Diego convention center, that typo surely reflects the feelings of a lot of folks who get left out in the cold on Hoteloween.

  1. The Comic-con still doesn’t have much juice with the CVB — search for events in July and you’ll get art exhibits and plenty of events at SeaWorld but no Comic-con

    That’s just sad and pathetic.

    What the SDCVB needs is a good, swift kick in the ass, courtesy of the LVCVA.

  2. Andrea,
    I saw that promotion – not bad! This article was interesting. I thought it was always my dumb luck that my San Diego hotel rooms were so damn expensive when I went to book. (I live in LA and gor all the time). Howerver, I have been finding cheap rates at Travel Helper and Reserve Discount Rooms

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