D.C. area hotels were the big winners in the four days leading up to and including the presidential inauguration, raking in $94.8 million in room revenue, according to the city's tourism arm, Destination DC. More than half of that revenue came from the 110 hotels within the District. The numbers, compiled by Smith Travel Research of Tennessee, do not include revenues for food, beverages, and other nonhotel sources.
Occupancy rates hit 98 percent in D.C. on January 19. Visitors paid an average of $605 per night to stay in a D.C. hotel on inauguration night and about $300 per night outside of the District. That's more than three times the average room rate in January 2008.
"Our city relies heavily on the revenues generated by travel and tourism. In today's troubled economy, tourism, meetings, and events keep our residents employed," said Bill Hanbury, president and CEO of Destination DC. "We represent a $5.5 billion dollar industry that contributes $620 million in tax revenue to the District and employs more than 71,000 residents."
Destination DC offers some fun facts about the historic celebration:
- There were 1.8 million visitors who lined the National Mall and parade route on Inauguration Day, according to Leslie Kershaw, a spokeswoman for Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty.
- There was a record 1.544 million trips handled by Metro on Inauguration Day.
- There were 5 noninaugural sightings of the Obama family at local spots around town: Equinox, Ben's Chili Bowl, Gallery Place, Georgia Brown's, and the Kennedy Center.
- There were 555 gallons of chili served at Ben's Chili Bowl during inauguration week.
- There were zero inauguration-related arrests on Inauguration Day, according to officials.