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NEWORLEANS - New numbers showed local hotels got off to a strong start in 2012.

Events like the Sugar Bowl, the BCS Championship game and the Final Four brought even more visitors to New Orleans in the past few months.

For the first three months of the year, the overall occupancy rate for hotels in the city was nearly 70 percent, about three percent higher than the same period last year.

According to the report from Smith Travel Research, it was the ninth highest occupancy rate among the top 25 markets the firm tracks.

With so many people visiting the city, more hotels are making investments and improvements.

Very soon the W Hotel will be getting a $9 million renovation.

The 97-room hotel on Chartres Street is getting its first upgrade since it first opened in 2001.

The upgrades will include redesigned rooms and a new restaurant, which is expected to open this summer.

Officials said all of the rooms should be redesigned by early July.

This is the first of a two phase renovation. The rest of the hotel is expected to undergo its own renovation in april 2013.

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