SXSW 2015 Had an Economic Impact on Austin of $317 Million

SXSW Gaming Awards photo by Lisa Hause, courtesy photo.

SXSW Gaming Awards photo by Lisa Hause, courtesy photo.

Reports on the death of South by Southwest have been greatly exaggerated to paraphrase Mark Twain.

In fact, SXSW has never been doing better.

In 2015, the music, interactive and film festival and its SXSWEdu and SXSWEco events had an economic impact on Austin of $317.2 million, according to a new report by Greyhill Advisors.

Some media reports have heralded the death of SXSW for the past few years noting that its success might also lead to its demise. Yet that hasn’t happened.

The 13 days of industry conferences, trade show, music and film festivals attracted 43,000 registered badge holders, the largest attendance record in its history.

“Even as the 30th annual SXSW approaches, the event continues to grow in relevance and provide an unparalleled depth and breadth of opportunities for cross-pollination,” according to the report.

And increasingly SXSW has become a global conference focused on creativity. More than 180 countries attended the conference last year.

As SXSW has grown in popularity, the conference has also attracted a large number of outside companies and marketers.

Finding everyone a place to sleep during the 13 days of SXSW festivities continue to prove challenging. The report found that demand continues to outpace supply for hotel room and the average nightly rate for a room reached $330 a night in 2015. Some good news is the JW Marriott downtown opened this year and increased the number of hotel rooms available. In all, SXSW directly booked 13,300 individual hotel reservations totaling 60,254 nights.

Despite the higher hotel rates, it appears people are staying longer in Austin.

“The average length of hotel books made directly by SXSW reached five nights, an all time high,” according to the report.

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