Austin Hotel Prices Plunge In the Wake of SXSW’s Cancellation — Driskill Rooms Drop Below $220

SXSW Cancels Driskill Hotel
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SXSW Cancels Driskill Hotel
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Photo Credit: Hyatt

After the unthinkable-and-sudden shutdown of SXSW, Austin flight and hotel prices are bottoming out.

The City of Austin is feeling the full economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Amid news that SXSW canceled this year, hotel prices are insanely low as thousands of rooms become available.

That’s causing some serious price plunges.  The iconic Driskill Hotel is a highly-coveted and never-available hotel during SXSW. Now you can have a hotel room for as little as $220 a night — and probably lower if you hunt around.  That’s an unheard of price during SXSW; rooms are typically snapped-up at the historic hotel months before the event kicks off.

Prices at other hotels are also plunging — and once-booked, prime hotel locations are suddenly available. That includes spots like the Hilton, Westin, and Four Seasons, all located within the coveted city center.

Before SXSW canceled the show, major exhibitors like Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Netflix were pulling out. The conference was scheduled between March 13th and March 22nd this year. It is one of the biggest conferences in Austin – catering to an overlap of the music, film, tech, and gaming industries.  Now, the typically-jammed city is likely to become a half-filled shadow of the usual festival.

Meanwhile, cities across the globe are issuing quarantine orders to shut down large gatherings. Festivals like Ultra Miami have shut down completely, and Winter Music Conference is now announcing its cancellation. Artists like Mariah Carey, BTS, and Green Day have rescheduled their concerts for later tour dates.

Some major festivals like Coachella and Stagecoach are hanging by a thread. Organizers have not been told to cancel those events, but they are keeping an eye on the situation as it develops.

Coachella easily attracts over 250,000 fans and is the biggest music festival in the United States. Stagecoach usually follows Coachella by a week and tops 80,000 attendees. Both of these festivals could end up on the chopping block.

The economic impact from these festival cancellations extends beyond just the artists and exhibitors. Coffee shops, hotels, bars, restaurants, and local businesses rely on the influx of tourists to keep their businesses running.

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Without the influx of spending in local city economies, we could be facing a recession. Many people are pulling back from non-essential travel and reconsidering vacation plans. The city of Austin will be feeling this loss for months to come.

5 Responses

  1. Who cares

    Suddenly DMN is concerned about people losing money and jobs in Austin? Last week you were ROOTING for SXSW to be canceled. “Do they really need the money that badly?” You helped create unnecessary hysteria whose impact everyone will feel, not just those who don’t “need the money.”

    • Bryan Promtic

      Hysteria is a result of people gathering information and reacting, not the information itself. The information, whether you like it or not, is real. People are dying…and at a rate multiple that of the flu.

      • Who cares

        Fine, so every media outlet in the world is taking information and creating hysteria from it. Not sure what you consider hysteria but by any measure – stock market, flight cancellations, countries quarantined – this is what we have now and the media are fueling it with nonstop “number of cases has tripled” and “crisis escalating” headlines.

        Are we supposed to stop all human interaction due to C19? I responded because DMN weirdly made it a “do they need the money” issue and I’m saying yes, the people who had jobs at SXSW and the hotel employees they’re writing about now need the money. The media are clearly making a lot of money on C19.

        As for the C19 death rate, obviously it is killing people and that sucks but saying it is at a rate “multiple of the flu” is the kind of misinformation that’s driving this hysteria. You’re probably using a superficial number the media throw around that is based on the number of cases already proven. But those numbers are nowhere near the total number of people with/exposed to C19 because, just like with the flu, many people get it but get over it and are never lab tested.

        But let’s say you’re right. For a more precise example of the death rate, use South Korea, where they test virtually everybody who has the symptoms. They’ve had 51 deaths with 7478 confirmed cases. That’s a rate of 0.7%. Still sad but not a multiple of the flu. And almost all were elderly and/or had other health conditions.

        So we need to cancel everything until…when? There were better options than canceling SXSW entirely. BTW, I have nothing to do with SXSW and don’t live in Texas. My main point was that DMN pushed for the cancellation and is now trying to be sympathetic about the negative after affects. It’s a fact that the media’s nonstop count of who is infected and where is only helping to further the panic. If it keeps up there will be a much more significant, longer term negative impact on millions of lives due to unnecessary social and financial crises.

        • Bryan Promtic

          Wrong. Information is information. How people react to it is the hysteria. People make their own decisions.

  2. Wendy Day

    It’s a bit hard to feel sorry for hotels that price gauged for SXSW for the past 2+ decades—when Red Roof Inns and Motel 6’s charge $300 a night. Yeah, it’s real hard to feel sorry for them now.