High hotel prices a problem for US Grand Prix

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Is the success of the United States Grand Prix being put at risk by rising room prices at local hotels?

The return of the US Grand Prix at the purpose-built Circuit of the Americas was one of the success stories of 2013.

F1 teams, drivers, media and fans alike welcome Formula One’s return to the USA at a superb new facility in Austin, Texas.

But a report in the Austin-American Statesman shows some tour operators are avoiding Austin hotels due to their high prices:

Last year during F1 week, San Antonio hotels were markedly cheaper than Austin hotels. According to data supplied from Hotels for Hope, the booking partner of Circuit of the Americas, the average daily rate for Austin hotels that week was $393.69, while San Antonio hotels were at $184.20.

It’s not unusual for hotels to raise their prices to coincide with major events and exploit the potential of a captive audience.

But they need to be wary of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. The economic justification for the race as a source of revenue for Austin will be compromised if tourists avoid the area because the hotels are too expensive.

As NBC’s Will Buxton pointed out on Twitter, while teams can afford top-dollar hotel prices, fans and the media cannot:

Did you go to last year’s United States Grand Prix? What was your experience of hotel prices in the area? Let us know in the comments.

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic. Follow F1 Fanatic on Twitter.