This post is for Producers and Line Producers looking to benchmark location housing rates for production budgets. In Part 1, we will cover US markets that are priced higher than the US Average Daily Rate (ADR). Part 2 will look at those cities that are below the US average. We’re working on an international version for physical production cities around the world so hang in there.
We benchmarked transient and group hotel rates for the top US physical production markets using two sources – BTN’s Corporate Travel Index 2017 and Experient’s Average Contracted Rate for that city. BTN’s ADR is for Upper and Upper/Upscale hotels (3-4-star) over a 12 month period. Experient’s Average Contracted Rate is for all rooms we booked in that city thru 2021 (2-5-star).
Click on each city link which will take you to a Google map showing hotels for that city. Zoom in and out to find more hotels. The Budget number at the end of each market review is what you might reasonably expect to pay for ATL and BTL in that market. All the usual caveats apply – seasonality, citywide compression, etc.
New York (BTN-$332/Experient-$234)
No surprise that NYC tops the list as the most expensive hotel market in the US. Group rates are lower than transient but most productions won’t get to take advantage because of plentiful local talent and crew. That being said, accommodation for ATL and visiting talent is in demand. Everyone has a favorite neighborhood in New York. Prices vary widely but generally speaking, any rate below $250 a night in Midtown south to FiDi is a pretty good deal. You can get decent rates in Brooklyn close to the Barclay’s Center under $200. Queens doesn’t get enough respect. We also like Williamsburg and the view across the East River. A good alternative to a hotels is a furnished executive apartment or studio. Rates are very competitive with hotels and superior in many cases. Budget : ATL-$300, BTL-$175
The difference between transient and group ADR ($79) means it definitely pays to book your location housing as a block. Boston hotels are clustered in downtown, Back Bay and Seaport so if you’re outside those areas, hotel inventory gets a bit thin. Anything under $200 would be a good deal but realistically, you’re going to pay $250-$300 for a 4-star property. The earlier you book, the better chance you have of getting a good deal. Our advice? You’re going to have to stay somewhere downtown so stop complaining and start negotiating concessions. Budget : ATL-$275, BTL-$175
One of our favorite cities with lots of options in the Loop and North River. Other hotels are clustered around Midway and O’Hare airports. Transient v. group price is not a factor but paying for extras can be so take care to negotiate concessions or you’ll be out of pocket. Prices downtown can top $300 during peak compression but you can usually get a small block (500 rooms) for $175-$200 a night. Furnished apartments run $130-$210 a night North River/Magnificent Mile has so many choices its simply a question of preference. The Loop has lots of good options including the Residence Inn, the global brand’s newly renovated flagship hotel. Budget : ATL-$275, BTL-$150
Los Angeles ($205/$222)
The first city where transient ADR beats group but only because Experient disproportionately books the L.A. Live/Anaheim Convention Center hotels. Just like New York, Los Angeles does have some location housing demand for inbound talent, international crews, reality show contestants or outside the Studio Zone (eg. Palm Springs). Rates fluctuate in a narrow band from $150-$200 and are pretty stable year-round except during citywide event compression. Still, you can get decent accommodations at reasonable rates most of the time. As for the quality of the inventory, I can’t recommend anything in Burbank. There are better options at Bob Hope and in North Hollywood. Downtown is surprisingly convenient for getting around. And if you hit a hole between major downtown events, you could score a pretty good deal at one of the bigger hotels with rooms to fill. Budget: ATL-$275, BTL-$150
I’m a little more open-minded on rates when it comes Honolulu. I don’t know why. Just am. Hawaii’s rates respond to seasonal compression and inventory that skews toward resorts. Experient books a lot more incentive and resort stays so our ADR is about 5% higher than BTN. If you stay away from major tourist areas, you can probably do $20 better than BTN’s $184. For group we see rates starting in the $150 range for BTL. In high season that number can climb closer to $200. Budget : ATL-$275, TL-$160
New Orleans – ($167/$193)
Experient’s ADR is higher in New Orleans because we book large citywide conventions and trade shows during high season so our rate will skew higher than the business transient rate which incorporates low compression times like Lent and summer. The Big Easy is a fun place to stay but once you’re outside downtown, your options dwindle rapidly. There is a cluster of extended stay and limited service in Metairie and another by the airport but that’s about it unless you go across the Lake to Covington. You can find some bargains here and there. Just avoid the run up to Mardi Gras and your rates should be pretty good. Budget: ATL-$200, BTL-$120
If you can’t wait for Part 2 or the International post because you are getting ready to prep, drop me a line and I’ll pull the data for you. Go to the Contact page for our coordinates.