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COLUMBIA - There's a high demand for hotel rooms this weekend because of multiple graduation ceremonies at MU for the Class of 2018, and the SEC softball tournament. The graduation ceremonies begin May 11 and end on May 13th, while the softball tournament spans from May 9 to May 12. 

The Columbia Convention and Visitors Bureau said it has helped large groups, including the 12 SEC softball teams, find rooms in the city's hotels. 

"We have people traveling from all over the country and world coming to see their graduate," said strategic communications manager Megan McConachie. "The volume is taken up a notch this year - it's made it more difficult to find hotel rooms, but we've found a way to accommodate those groups."

McConachie said residents should expect dining, shopping and the city's trails to have increased traffic. She also said patience will go a long way this weekend. 

"We're trying to let the community know it will take awhile to get from one side of town to the other," she said. "Hopefully that will help with their patience."

Columbia will be more crowded than the typical graduation weekend, but the Convention and Visitors Bureau said that will boost the city's economy. 

"Just like with any other event, when tourists come here, they're going to stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants, shop in our stores, fill up with gas," McConachie said. "That has a huge economic impact on Columbia both in supporting local business and in helping create and support local jobs."