Hotel boom continues: Building activity continues in Bakersfield’s bustling hotel market with two new hotels slated to open soon. Home 2 Suites by Hilton, 8227 Brimhall Road, will offer 113 rooms adjacent to the Westside Parkway. Hyatt Place, 310 Coffee Road, will have 120 rooms in a location near CSU Bakersfield. Both Home 2 Suites and Hyatt Place are new brands never before seen in Bakersfield. A third new hotel, the city’s second Residence Inn with 125 rooms, is under construction at 8312 Espresso Drive.
Plans for three additional hotels have been submitted to the city of Bakersfield. When completed, these six new hotels will add 658 rooms to Bakersfield’s hotel room inventory.
In addition to these new hotels, two other properties have undergone major renovations. The Fairfield Inn and Suites is the new name for the former Clarion Hotel, 3540 Rosedale Highway.
The property was closed for a rebranding and extensive refurbishment of its 122 rooms adjacent to the busy junction of Highway 99, State Route 58 and State Route 178. Across the street from the Fairfield, renovation of Bakersfield’s largest hotel is continuing. The DoubleTree by Hilton, 3100 Camino del Rio Court, recently completed work on all 262 guest rooms, meeting spaces and pool area. Wi-Fi also has been upgraded throughout the property. Sidewalks in the courtyard, plus decking and fencing around the pool and the pool furniture, are all new.
The DoubleTree’s renovation is now in its third phase, which includes the entire front area of the hotel —‚ lobby, the cafe/bar, breakfast room and fitness room. That phase should be completed by the first quarter of 2020.
The fourth phase of renovation will involve work on the exterior of the hotel, including painting the building, landscaping and the parking lot. The building’s entrances will be replaced to be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA.
All this new hotel construction and renovation work is being funded by private developers. No public funds are being used. This speaks to the confidence the private sector has in the underlying strength of Bakersfield’s hotel market.
More hotel nights, higher hotel revenue: The increased hotel building activity in Bakersfield reflects continued upward trends in the local hotel sector. For the first eight months of 2019, all indicators showed increases over the same period the year before, according to data from STR Inc. Not only were more hotel room nights sold in Bakersfield, but the rate that hotels charged also increased. Both factors led to a sizeable increase in overall hotel revenue. Between Jan. 1 and Aug. 31, the number of hotel room nights sold in the Bakersfield market increased about 2%.
ADR, the average daily rate charged by hotels, was up almost 5% compared with 2018 levels to more than $85 per night. The rise in the demand for hotel rooms, plus the higher rates charged for those rooms, led to an increase in hotel revenue of almost 7%.
That year-over-year increase in hotel revenue was reflected in the amount collected from the city’s hotel tax, otherwise known as the Transient occupancy tax, or TOT. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019, the city’s TOT revenue topped $9.94 million, its highest level ever. That translates into a direct economic impact from hotel spending of more than $92.8 million in the city of Bakersfield alone.
Despite those higher room rates, Bakersfield continues to be an affordable choice for group and individual travelers.
Branding: Visit Bakersfield is one of several partners that recently completed work on a regional branding initiative. Along with the city of Bakersfield, county of Kern, Greater Bakersfield Chamber, Kern Economic Development Corporation and a group of 15 private sector funders, the initiative focused on improving the image of Bakersfield and Kern County. Building on the tagline, “The Sound of Something Better,” Visit Bakersfield is updating its promotional materials that soon will be seen in a variety of messages across a number of platforms.
“Everywhere Man”: Bakersfield is one of 92 places in the Western Hemisphere called out in the song “I’ve Been Everywhere,” made famous by country music legend Johnny Cash. Nebraska resident Brett Randel Anderson is making it his mission to visit all of those locations that stretch from Alaska to Argentina and he stopped by Visit Bakersfield in September. In the song, Bakersfield finds itself between Springfield and Shreveport and Anderson is closing in on visiting all 92 places. He is tracking his adventure with a blog at www.EverywhereMan.me.
David Lyman, Ph.D., is manager of Visit Bakersfield. He and his staff help visitors from throughout the world spend their money and find “The Sound of Something Better” in California’s ninth-largest city. They are available toll-free 866-425-7353 or at Info@VisitBakersfield.com.