ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With a little more than six weeks to go until Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, some hotels are on track to sell out this year, according to Karl Holme, executive director of the Greater Albuquerque Hotel and Lodging Association.
The 2023 Balloon Fiesta will take place Oct. 7-15. Each year it brings about 850,000 visitors to Albuquerque, according to Visit Albuquerque. Dhawal Kholwadwala, president of 505 Hospitality and owner of two hotels near Balloon Fiesta Park, said right now his bookings are a little down compared to this time last year.
Despite that, his hotel, Comfort Inn & Suites Alameda at Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Park, has sold out on some days during the event. “Generally, we do get sold out for the weekends and then sometimes on the weekdays we do have some rooms left over,” Kholwadwala explained.
Kholwadwala said he is seeing more bookings for the second weekend of Balloon Fiesta this year. “The second weekend of Balloon Fiesta is actually busier this year than the first weekend. And I believe last year it was flipped a little bit where the first weekend seemed to be the busier weekend,” Kholwadwala said.
Visit Albuquerque president and CEO Tania Armenta encourages people to visit Balloon Fiesta during the week, which is typically when it is less crowded. “Coming during the week is a perfect opportunity. A lot of people overlook that, but there are ascensions, there is great activity throughout the week. So, Monday through Thursday is a wonderful time to be at Balloon Fiesta as well,” she explained.
This year’s Balloon Fiesta will have a special twist with the annular solar eclipse taking place on Oct. 14, during the second weekend of the event. While the eclipse is taking place, a one-of-a-kind balloon glow will take place.
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Kholwadwala said there is still time to book a hotel room and get a good price. If people wait too long to book a room for Balloon Fiesta, they may face high rates or a limited selection of stays, he added. “When you’re talking about the best time to book, I would say still we’re right in that window now. We’re getting kind of close enough to the event where certain hotels might bring their rates down a little bit if they have inventory, but I would recommend to still try and book a few weeks ahead,” Kholwadwala said.
He recommended booking with the hotel or through the brand’s website to get the best rate. “They will give you typically the best rate guaranteed and they’ll also give you an opportunity to be much more flexible with cancellation or change in your plans,” Kholwadwala explained.