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Hotels report high occupancy rates during first weekend of ArtPrize

This past Saturday, 80% of hotel rooms were filled in the area. The recent average was between 60 and 65%.

Grand Rapids area hotels are seeing some of the highest occupancy rates since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Experience Grand Rapids, the city's visitors bureau, says ArtPrize is attracting tourists to our area.

"We've had a good summer and last weekend was pretty busy too," Senior Vice President Janet Korn says. "We're seeing a return of visitors to the area certainly."

Hotels are reporting strong occupancy rates. This past Saturday, 80 percent of hotel rooms were filled in the area.

"That's actually really busy," Korn says. "Our weeks are averaging 60 to 65 percent occupancy."

Korn says that occupancy rate is similar to other ArtPrize years, but this year is different.

"Now, we have 13 hotels in the downtown area and we didn't used to have that many, and we have many more in the surrounding areas," she says. "Our 10,500 hotel rooms we have available now for our visitors is more inventory."

That means it's been easier for visitors to find a room, like Holly Miller from Pensacola, Florida.

"It's smooth sailing," she says. "(My friend) had good luck because she booked early, and we're in a wonderful hotel around the corner from here."

Another group from Atlanta, Georgia say they had no issues booking a room at the Amway Grand Plaza.

Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Korn hopes occupancy rates continue to trend this way.

"Our hotels are really happy in this 60 to 65% average, so as we're reopening our communities to visitors, those are pretty strong numbers," she says. 

Korn says occupancy rates were peaking this year in July and August, above the 80% mark. For comparison, the average rate pre-pandemic was about 70%.

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