100th running of Indianapolis 500 selling out hotel rooms
INDIANAPOLIS -- The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is generating demand for hotel rooms not seen since the 2012 Super Bowl, according to tourism industry officials.
The 33,000-room metropolitan hotel room market has been a "virtual sellout" for nearly two months, said Chris Gahl, vice president of tourism promoter Visit Indy.
All 7,100 downtown hotel rooms, and clusters on all sides of town, sold out by mid-March, with downtown hotels commanding four-night stays and suburban hotels requiring a minimum stay of three nights, Gahl told the Indianapolis Business Journal (http://bit.ly/1VTnRAa). Many downtown Indianapolis hotels are commanding rates 30 percent to 40 percent higher than in May 2015.
"All the hotels surrounding and within (Interstate) 465 were sold out by March 15," Gahl said. He said that's eight weeks earlier than it has for any May in the recent past.
The race on May 29 is drawing heightened interest compared to recent years. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has announced that all of the nearly 250,000 reserved seats are sold out.
Jim Dora Jr., CEO of General Hotels Corp., said his Crowne Plaza hotels downtown and at Indianapolis International Airport sold out more than two months ago, and two suburban hotels have been sold out nearly as long. General Hotels has 781 hotel rooms in the area.
"It's unlike it's been for the Indianapolis 500 in many years," Dora said. "We've been sold out and turning people away for quite some time."
Late cancellations cause a few hotel rooms to pop up from time to time on Internet hotel room search engines, Dora said.
"Those are the normal coming and going with any big event," Gahl said. "Those rooms will get gobbled up pretty quickly."
"It's going to be a tremendous month," Dora said. "A lot of businesses are going to see a positive impact, and that's really great to see."
Information from: Indianapolis Business Journal, http://www.ibj.com