Derby economic impact tops $401 million, tourism officials say
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The numbers are in and the big winner in the Kentucky Derby is the Louisville economy.
Tourism officials say the payoff is a windfall exceeding $401 million.
That figure was driven by the high demand for hotel rooms.
“Most hotels did a 3-night minimum. I would say 90% of the hotels,” Louisville Tourism Executive VP Doug Bennett said. “So, that’s a Thursday, Friday, Saturday at historically high occupancy rates.”
Bennett said a 3-day stay in Jefferson County cost an average of $780.
Downtown hotels averaged nearly double that with a 98% occupancy rate.
Bennett said the numbers add up to one conclusion.
“We need more hotels rooms,” he said.
It is a good problem to have for a city aspiring to attract large crowds beyond the Kentucky Derby. Louisville entered Derby season with more hotel rooms that ever.
“There’s demand, Louisville’s on quite an upswing,” Bennett said. “Group business, transient, people like coming to the city. And that translates into demand that we can still accommodate.”
Hotel Distil on Whiskey Row, one of Louisville’s new generation of boutique hotels, was sold out for Derby.
General Manager Casey Massaro Grinold said Derby guests also spent freely on wining and dining.
“Higher end dinners that were coupled with rare and rotating bourbon selections, some higher end,” Grinold said. “Higher volume bottles of wine as well.”
Copyright 2023 WAVE. All rights reserved.