Hospitality preparing for football season as travel numbers surpass 2019

Published: Aug. 31, 2022 at 6:12 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - With football season around the corner, hotels are all hands on deck helping guests make the most of their stay in College Station. Busier than they’ve been used to in years, College Station hotels are starting to see pre-pandemic level bookings.

“August was the best month we’ve seen in the last 10 years for the property. So really starting to see us mirror 2019 numbers, which is exciting,” the General Manager of the Hilton College Station and Conference Center, Bobby Dyer, said.

Preparations for football season start a year in advance when reservations open up. Now, with numbers on the rise, the hotel is preparing for multiple home games, bringing fans to the area from all over the SEC.

In order to achieve a successful weekend for guests, Dyer says they have all staff ready. This year is a little different with three home games in a row.

“Excited that it’s all in one month but absolutely no vacations and things like that. All hands on deck as it approaches, and then I believe next year is kind of the same kind of setup. So this is a good trial run for us. We have it all kind of hit at once, it’s going to be a very, very good month,” he said.

Visit College Station works to connect visitors and residents in the area with things to do. For game days, they’ve teamed up with businesses to share specials they’re running and created resources for people to find something to do in town.

“This is always a great time for our hotels. It’s a great time for our retailers. It’s a great time for our restaurants, and so we at Visit College Station are doing everything that we can to support them. Come a day early, stay a day late,” Visit College Station Marketing Manager, Aubrey Nettles, said.

Nettles created a blog for visitors that includes where to get food, local watch parties for the game, green spaces to check out in town and more. Two additions to town for Aggie fans will be Aggie Park and the Century Square Biergarten, both open Friday.

The list includes newer spots for people to check out but Nettles also suggests a Northgate visit, even just during the day, for a meal. Visit College Station has also seen an increase in visitors to town and interest in getting out of the house.

“Entertainment options keep growing, our food options keep growing so College Station today isn’t what college station was 10 to 20 years ago. So we want to make sure that we are telling that story to the people who are coming back to the community for a football weekend and getting them amped up and excited. There’s so much to see,” she said. “The number [of visitors] that we’ve been seeing recently are positive and we have been seeing that people are getting out more, they’re more confident with their travel.”

Beyond football season, Dyer says they’re looking forward to the future of travel in the area.

“Fall is looking encouraging, moving weekend’s been great, graduation’s coming up, just a lot of great things going on in the hospitality industry and I think more to come as we close out the year and look forward to 2023,” Dyer said.

Visit College Station’s Blog to navigate gameday can be found here. If you are an area business running specials for a football weekend, fill out this form to have it added to the list.