VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – The Hampton Roads hotel industry did well during this year’s Something in the Water festival weekend – but perhaps not as well as they’d hoped.

Hotels across Hampton Roads saw more than $2 million in increased revenue thanks to the festival, but occupancy rates were down, according to STR Global Hospitality data.

“This year revenues increased almost everywhere, but rooms sold decreased everywhere also except in Williamsburg,” Old Dominion University Professor of Economics Vinod Agarwal said.

This year, hotel occupancy was at about 75% on festival Friday and nearly 78% that Saturday. In 2019, hotels saw occupancy of over 90% on both of the festival’s main days, data showed.

The prices for hotel rooms was way up this year, too. Oceanfront hotel rooms sold for an average of $343 a night during the 2023 festival weekend compared to $231 a night in 2019.

“This tells me because 2019 SITW was such a big success, hoteliers, especially at the Oceanfront, thought they could charge much higher rates and have full occupancy,” Agarwal said. “I believe the fact that they charged much higher rates also led to a softer occupancy.”

Virginia Beach officials have yet to release information on SITW ticket sales or the festival’s economic impact on the city. Officials say they’re working on a report that’s expected to be released in the fall.

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