Most hotel rooms reserved by the Democratic National Convention Committee in the Charlotte area were filled as planned.
Out of 15,000 rooms contracted by the committee, about 7 percent – or just over 1,000 – were released back to hotels on Monday, according to a convention official. The hotels can now sell any of those rooms to other guests.
“Per the request of some of the hotels, we are in the process of trying to fill a number of the un-booked rooms,” DNCC press secretary Joanne Peters said in an email.
Mike Dino, CEO of the Denver host committee four years ago, said he didn’t remember any rooms being released back to the hotels before the 2008 Democratic convention, but that some of the rooms went unused.
“I think that’s good management, certainly on the DNC’s part,” Dino said. “It’s very positive to see that the DNC is working with the host city.”
The timing is excellent for hotels, as Labor Day weekend is not usually a busy one for Charlotte, said Glenn Simon, general manager of Hilton Charlotte Center City in uptown. His hotel has all of its rooms booked by the committee from Sept. 1-6.
“It’s a great convention for Charlotte,” Simon said. “It’s really great for the hotels.”
But perhaps not for all of them. Salisbury hotels received many of the released rooms, according to James Meacham, executive director of Salisbury-Rowan County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The committee had requested up to 400 rooms from Salisbury hotels, but only 28 are being used.
“The challenge for the hotels is they did not fill the typical demand that they would normally have because they were holding those rooms for the DNC,” Meacham said. “It’ll be a substantial negative impact upon this region as opposed to a positive.”
He said the hotels are now scrambling to find business for that week.
“It would’ve helped to have known earlier,” he said.
Visit Charlotte plans on having resources for people still looking for rooms, including an inventory of all the rooms still available, spokeswoman Kimberly Meesters said.
“We’re pretty pleased ... It’s a fairly low attrition rate for a group of this size,” she said. “I don’t think there are many if any (openings) in Charlotte.”
Leon Cox, general manager of Charlotte Marriott Executive Park, said 80 percent of their rooms were under contract for Sept. 1-6.
“We’re working through the rooming lists, but it’s looking like we’re pretty much on point to what we committed,” Cox said, adding that most of the remaining rooms will go to the host committee.
Even as far out as Lake Norman, the majority of hotels were booked, though some are still waiting on placements and additions by the DNCC over the next week, said Courtney Wolfrom, marketing and communications manager at Visit Lake Norman.
The York County Convention & Visitors Bureau was not sure how many rooms would be released in Rock Hill but expects to find out by the end of the week, said communications manager Sonja Burris.