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DATE News (chronologically)
02/22/12
f1
Rates for many Austin hotels skyrocket on F1 weekend
The downtown-area Super 8 still has rooms available for Austin's Formula One race weekend in November - if you're willing to shell out more than $500 a night.

The budget hotel at 1201 N. Interstate 35 is just one of many motels regionwide that have dramatically hiked prices on race day, Nov. 18.

Other examples: A Best Western in Lockhart would run you at least $450 a night. And the Hampton Inn in Buda has rooms available - starting at $407.

Rates are, for the most part, higher just before and after the event, as well.

Hotel operators' decision to dramatically increase room rates during the F1 race is not a violation of the state's price-gouging laws. Those laws go into effect only when a state of emergency or disaster is declared by the governor, according to the Texas attorney general's office.

The eye-popping prices don't surprise consumer advocate Chris Elliott, author of "Scammed," a book focusing on ways to save money and get better service.

"Hotels know it's a sellers' market for their rooms," Elliott said. "They know people are willing to pay more."

Many hotels are already booked solid for the race weekend. A search of Travelocity.com shows rooms are unavailable on Nov. 18 at 180 inns in Austin and across the region.

Figures from Smith Travel Research show Central Texas has about 30,000 hotel rooms - not nearly enough for the 120,000 attendees expected at the still-under-construction track.

F1 organizers have said as many as 4,500 of those rooms will be needed for people directly affiliated with the race, including drivers, sponsors and reporters from around the globe who will be covering the event.
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