St. Joseph County hotel demand breaks record

Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 4:58 PM EST
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ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - As life slowly became a “new normal” in 2022, St. Joseph County hotels broke records.

Visit South Bend Mishawaka, which tracks and promotes local tourism, reported a 2.5% increase in hotel demand from the prior year.

“While our occupancy overall wasn’t a record number, the record numbers came through on our overall demand, which approached almost a million hotel room nights in 2022, as well as a record number on the average daily rate that we saw within the county. And so, by all accounts, just a tremendous year in St. Joseph County,” explained Jeff Jarnecke, executive director of Visit South Bend Mishawaka.

Jarnecke pointed to one-tank trips from Chicago and Indianapolis visitors as well as sports tourism for boosting room demand.

“We had more than 51,000 people that came and booked hotel rooms because of our leisure marketing,” he said. “Hotel room nights from youth hockey, from the month of October, all the way through April accounted for more than 22,000 room nights, and had more than $11.5 million of economic impact. So, youth sports are just a tremendous addition and added a factor to our economy here in the county.”

Noor Hadzimesic, the area director of sales for the Inn at Saint Mary’s and Hilton Garden Inn, agreed 2022 was strong for the hotel campus.

“We didn’t think travel would be back 100 percent and in some areas like our business travel, it is definitely not back, but in other aspects like leisure and sports, it is definitely back — and we kind of saw that from the citywide numbers,” Hadzimesic said.

Jarnecke expects hotel room prices to continually increase if demand remains steady.