Hotels look for big business from convention
by Staff Writer
The Democratic National Convention is expected to bring significant revenue to the Charlotte area.
About 35,000 additional media, delegates and other visitors to Charlotte have local police, restaurants, hospitals and hotels preparing for the Sept. 3-7 event.
Hotels in Charlotte are so full that many visitors are booking rooms in the Lake Norman region.
Laura Hill, media relations manager for the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said the city contracted 15,000 rooms for the DNC and that 93 percent of those have been booked.
A few weeks prior to the start of the convention, the 18-room Davidson Village Inn is already full of visitors in town to see President Barack Obama accept the Democratic nomination.
“I think for us it will be a pretty regular week,” Owner Rebecca Clark said. “It actually might be a little bit easier because they’ll get up, eat breakfast and then head down to Charlotte for the entire day. Hopefully that will change in the evening and they’ll come back to go to some local restaurants.”
The Clarion Inn in Cornelius will also see an increase, a spokesperson said.
“I think we’ll see an increase, but not people from the DNC,” he said. “Other people that might be passing through, they can’t stay in downtown Charlotte because there’s not any rooms. I think that’s where you’ll see it.”
Ron Johnson, chairman of the Mooresville Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Mooresville will be pulling in DNC visitors even though it’s nearly 30 miles from the event site.
“We’re anticipating having a full house,” Johnson said. “There are maybe two (hotels) that I haven’t been in contact with but the others are expecting to be at full occupancy.”
About 800 hotel rooms have been contracted for DNC personnel, Johnson said, meaning the other rooms in town – about 300 – should be filled to capacity with regular hotel-goers.
The extra visitors to Mooresville’s hotels shouldn’t provide too much of a burden, he said.
“A large number of weeks throughout the year, we’re at 95 percent occupancy anyway,” Johnson said. “So our hotels are used to having large numbers like these. I’m not sure they would call in any extra staff. But if they do need some help, they all have staffs and have people they can call in like you would see during race weeks.”
Craig Swicegood’s Wingate by Wyndham in Mooresville is already booked to capacity.
Swicegood, the general manager, said the 86-room hotel will host two DNC groups, including a security team and contracted employees for the convention.
It should be a positive week for the hotel, which has been about 70 percent full on average this year, Swicegood said.
“It’s going to be a great opportunity for all the communities around here and we expect to be very busy,” he said. “I’m sure everyone will have some overtime that week but we’re not planning on hiring any additional staff.”
Is there any vacancy in Charlotte?
The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority helped secure 15,000 rooms for the Democratic National Convention Committee to accommodate delegates and guests next month.
The convention committee filled 93 percent of those rooms, according to CRVA CEO Tom Murray, prior to Aug. 13, when they released the remaining 7 percent to the general public.
Charlotte has more than 30,000 hotel rooms.