Hotel Business Spikes During MU Graduation Weekend

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COLUMBIA - Many hotels in Columbia have been fully booked since December for the University of Missouri graduation this weekend.

Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau Director, Amy Schneider, said most people start making their hotel reservations in the Fall to attend their children's graduation.

"And then there are folks that don't make reservations until about two or three weeks out, and those are the ones that you feel sorry for because the rooms have either almost sold out, or sold out."

Schneider said the hotels in Columbia are 94 percent full now.

"We still have some rooms to sell," Schneider said.

Schneider said the inflow of visitors benefit not only the hotel business but also retail and food service businesses.

"After kids graduate, they want to celebrate, and one of the best way to celebrate is eating and drinking, and we have a lot of those great establishments here in town," Schneider said.

She compared the graduation weekend to a football weekend, one of the major events that attract many visitors to Columbia.

"Usually we run about 55 percent hotel occupancy, this (graduation weekend) is double from the regular," Schneider said.

Schneider said last week, the hotels were also full due to Stephens College and Columbia College's graduation.

As of May 10, some of the accomodations that still have rooms include Courtyard by Marriott, Days Inn, Econo Lodge, Holiday Inn East, Holiday Inn Select, Howard Johnson, Motel 6 East, Ramada Inn, Stoney Creek Inn, and Travelodge.

For help finding a hotel during this festivity, please contact the Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau at (573) 875-1231.