Hotels react to competition from MU rental dorms
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Conventions and Visitors Advisory Board (CVB) gave an informational update regarding MU's plan to rent out rooms in some of its empty residence halls. MU will have to pay the same five percent lodging tax other Columbia hotels pay and other related city, county, or state taxes.
"A lot of these specialty weekends that the dorms will be focusing on are football weekends, which are of course busy weekends for our hotels but by no means necessarily a sellout," said Strategic Communications Manager for the Columbia Conventions and Visitors Bureau Megan McConachie.
MU is already taking reservations for Homecoming and family weekend with over 200 requests already filled out. However, the CVB does not know the exact number of rooms MU will have available.
MU will rent out Excellence and Discovery Halls on Virginia Avenue. The rooms will be two-bedroom, four-bed suites and cost $120 per night. The rooms will come with high-speed wireless access, economy bed linens and towels.
This price is similar to some hotels close to MU, but hotel managers say customers are giving up conventional hotel amenities they wouldn't find in a dorm.
"Televisions are going to be scarce, few and far between. Carpeting, there is none. Simply things like a refrigerator and a guest room, they aren't there. No swimming pools, no fitness centers. If that is the choice they want to make for relatively the same price, let them pay," said General Manager of the Residence Inn by Marriott Steve French.
Columbia hotels had no prior knowledge of MU's plans, according to French.
"As this unfolds in the future, we will find out exactly what the gratifications are going to be. They've already made the announcement and didn't talk to us prior. It's a little hard to un-ring a bell. We are kind of in a situation where we are just going to have to see what happens," said French.
Dorms will be available to stay in starting the weekend before classes start.