November Masters Week hotel rooms, house rental bookings booming

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Augusta National Golf Club announcing a new tentative date for the 2020 Masters Tournament means a lot of people can get back to planning for a busy and lucrative Masters Week.

“Our livelihood is based on the Masters being successful,” said Christy Beckham, owner of Par 3 Rentals for the last 8 years. Beckham says her company handles around 40 clients for that week, which is on the smaller side of the local companies that book housing rentals for Masters Week.

Hotel bookings and house rentals generate millions of dollars for the Augusta economy during Masters Week. But for the first time ever, the tournament is scheduled for sometime other than the first full week in April. ANGC chairman Fred Ridley announced on Monday, April 6 that the club will attempt to host the tournament the week beginning November 9 as a result of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic.

Most hotel rooms and housing rentals already had deposits, and many patrons have simply asked for their original Masters Week reservations to be moved to the new November start date.

“Obviously, we’ve had a lot of calls come in,” said Rakesh Jasani. His company owns and operates several hotels in the Aiken area, including the Hilton Garden Inn. “A lot of people who held their deposits have wanted to transfer to the new dates we heard about yesterday,” he said. “And we’re getting a lot of new calls for new reservations wanting to book for November as well,” he added.

By midday the day after Augusta National Golf Club’s announcement, 75% of the Masters Week hotel rooms listed on sites like hotels.com were booked. And nearly all had the usual inflated Masters Week rates.

“It’s great knowing that hopefully we can regain that revenue and recapture the greatest week we have here in town,” said Jasani.

The new tournament date does create some complications for those renting their house out, namely that no decision regarding local schools has been made. Many families that rent out go out of town since Masters Week has coincided with Spring Break for schools in the CSRA. That won’t be the case in 2020. But Beckham and others are confident something will be worked out by the time the 2020 Masters Tournament is scheduled to tee off.

“We get to fulfill the contracts, we get to honor what we were going to do in November instead,” said Beckham. “I would assume the school system, they’ve been working long and hard for us to make it work,” she added.

“Most houses that get rented out, I would assume, a good portion have children in school. I do. So I’m thankful that everyone is going to work together to make it work,” said Beckham.

And with seven months to plan ahead, and the potential to rent out for two Masters Tournaments within six months, Beckham thinks plenty of new rental business could be generated.

“A lot of houses that need to be renovated are being renovated or bought,” she said. “So there’s these fabulous houses on the market available to rent and they’re making them Masters friendly,” added Beckham.

A fall Masters is good for golf fans, and should be great for the Augusta area economy.

“You know, it’s a bonus to be able to live in Augusta and to be able to rent your home,” said Beckham. “It could be a big buzz, to have two Masters in six months. I don’t know if you can ask for more than that,” said Jasani.

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