As K-pop sensation BTS performs their first in-person, live concerts in two years at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, tens of thousands of fans worldwide have made their pilgrimages to LA, happily spending thousands of dollars during their trips.
The Bangtan Boys’ performances are sold out, and a VIP seat to the last day of the four-night run was being resold at $8,692 as of this afternoon.
And since BTS’ first live concerts were announced, hotel prices near SoFi have become increasingly more expensive, with some rooms charging guests two or three times more than the usual rate.
For example, the Hilton hotel near LAX is charging more during the week of the concert than during the week of Christmas. A daily rate for a two-person room is going for $395.65 this week, compared to $122.85 the week of December 20.
A matriarch from New Mexico named Berlin says she’s footing the travel bill for herself and family members. She expects the overall cost of the trip to exceed $12,000, with $5,000 on hotel rooms alone.
“It’s kind of hard because everybody's trying to book around SoFi Stadium. It’s kind of expensive, but it's all worth it.”
A woman named Carrie-Anne, who does not want to disclose her last name, says she spent approximately $19,000 to travel from Colorado with her teenage daughter to watch BTS live.
“This is their first concert in two years,” says the fan. “We were going to come here no matter what.”
Thousands of others who crossed the ocean to get to SoFi are likely to spend more.
Margarita Pearl, who lives in Korea, spent around $1,000 for her airfare from Seoul to Los Angeles. After paying for lodging and food — and brief sightseeing in Hollywood — the 30-year-old woman is expecting to spend at least $1,700 for her five-day trip despite being unemployed for the time being.
Pearl is one of many traveling from BTS’ home country to LA. South Korean travel companies are already piggybacking off the wildly popular concerts. Hana Tour, for one, offered a travel package, which included a direct flight from Incheon to Seoul, five nights at a three-star hotel, and an airport pickup service for about $2,000 USD.
Alma Diaz and two of her friends also hopped on an international flight to travel from Monterrey, Mexico to Los Angeles. The three women are lucky enough to share a hotel room, but they are paying more than $2,000 to stay at a three-star motel for 10 nights. Overall, they’re projecting the entire trip to cost about 30,000 pesos or about $1,350 USD per person.
“It’s totally worth it,” says Diaz. “[BTS] makes me happy.”
The three Mexican nationals are making the most of their trip by visiting some of LA’s landmarks like Santa Monica and Hollywood before the concerts. After attending every live performance for four nights, the super fans say they will tour other parts of Southern California before heading back home.
The influence of BTS has also reached Koreatown in Los Angeles, transforming an obscure Korean barbeque joint into a sudden fan favorite.
Ahgassi Gopchang welcomed an overwhelming number of patrons after one of the BTS members, Jin, said it was his “number one restaurant” in LA during an interview. Pictures and videos posted on social media show dozens of BTS fans waiting in line for hours to dine at the BTS-frequented restaurant.
“He-hey! You know ‘Ahgassi Gopchang’!?”— trinh ⁷ saw bts ⟭⟬ (@trinhers) November 27, 2021
- Kim Seokjin, @BTS_twt
if you’re trying to get in for dinner tonight, good luck!! I’ll be here waiting in line too! 💜 can’t wait to try their fav Korean bbq spot! eeeekkkkkk I’m so excited! 😍 pic.twitter.com/uwN4yXjFWU
It’s not just the local hotel and restaurant industries that are likely to see an income boost. SoFi Stadium says the concerts are creating jobs for Angelenos.
“These shows are bringing fans together from all over the world to Inglewood, representing over 78 countries,” said Jason Gannon, managing director of SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park.
“Not only have we employed thousands of staff to create a memorable experience, but local restaurants, hotels, and transportation across Southern California will benefit with increased business.”