This post is for Producers and Line Producers who want to benchmark rates for location housing when budgeting for physical production. In Part 1 we looked at cities with location housing rates higher than the US average ($147.94). In Part 2, we look at cities where location housing rates are below the national average and there is big money to be saved by shooting in some of these locations.
Portland, OR – (BTN-$149: Experient-$147)
Portland is the national average bell weather city. About as middle of the road as it gets. The Pearl District/Downtown is ground zero for major brand hotels, a significant number of independent hotels and a boutique that says five-star but we have our doubts. Across the Willamette River there are several good budget options for BTL at which we would be more than happy to stay. Budget: ATL-$185, BTL-$120
Atlanta – ($147/$149)
Experient has more than 800,000 rooms room nights under management through 2021. It is also our most popular city for location housing. We know Atlanta. Everyone wants to stay in midtown what with all the activity at the Turner campus. Hotel rates in the area generally range from $139-$159 for 3 star extended stay. Four star tends to hover around $160-$180. There is only one 5 star in midtown (Four Seasons) but we’ve seen some very competitive pricing from them in the last year. The other area of note in Atlanta is Fayetteville/Peachtree City which is where Pinewood Atlanta Studios is located. There are only 2 hotels of any note in Fayetteville and we can’t say we’re all that impressed. More and better options are available in Peachtree City. Budget: ATL-$225, BTL-$100
Las Vegas – $139/$165
A big spread is understandable given we work so man big trade shows and conferences in Vegas that we sometime manufacture our own compression. We also do lots of events that are a corporate expense accounts so rates then to drift a little higher. Choose your poison – the Strip and all that comes with that. Downtown for a more authentic LV experience. Or you can try some of the resorts up next to the mountains to see if they have some holes you can fill. Or if all else fails, you can stay out by the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Nah. Here’s our advice – most major properties on the Strip have five-star equivalent accommodations so you can’t go wrong. The further north you go, the lower the prices go with some notable exceptions. Also look east of the strip for some solid independents and plenty of condo/executive apartments. From Mandalay Bay to the Convention Center, expect $150 during the week, $200 on weekends. Downtown has lower prices but not too much different from the Strip. Our advice? Don’t stay at the big boxes if you don’t have too. Budget: ATL-$200, BTL-$90
Buffalo – $129/n.a.
Who put Buffalo on this list? You did. Buffalo doesn’t get much respect but they are getting more productions thanks to low costs, welcoming environment and the extra Western New York tax incentive on top of the NY production credit (there were 3 movies shooting simultaneously last fall). No 5-star hotels but the fours are pretty good and the prices are an excellent value. Budget: ATL-$160, BTL-$90.
Savannah – $125/$154
Savannah has long been a backdrop of choice for filmmakers and Georgia’s tax incentive has only increased it’s popularity. But increased popularity has not really translated into higher rates in the region though we are seeing more citywide conferences and sellout dates more often than before, particularly in the spring and, oddly enough, St. Patrick’s Day. There are a large number of historic properties in the area at very reasonable prices and the furnished apartment product is world-class. No 5-stars but several excellent fours. Extended stay options are also plentiful downtown and midtown. Budget: ATL-$175, BTL-$90.
Albuquerque – $101/n.a.
Albuquerque is not a major travel or tourism destination so it doesn’t suffer the compression issues of other cities. At just over $100 average daily rate, it’s a screaming bargain. Producers who work in New Mexico know this and now it’s time you did too. The only issue in Albuquerque is a lack of high-end hotel product to accommodate ATL needs. You can stay downtown or out by the airport but there’s little to choose between them. Budget: ATL-$150, BTL-$85.