May 22, 2009

Up-market hotels have empty beds for Indy

Expensive hotels in Indianapolis are reporting plenty of empty rooms as the Indianapolis 500 weekend approaches.

The auto race, the most celebrated in the United States, is set for Sunday.

More modest hotels are doing well, The Indianapolis Star reported. Richard Gogoun, manager of the Downtown Days Inn, said his hotel is booked solid through Sunday night.

Mitch Divens, assistant sales director at the Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre Hotel, told the newspaper that only 85 percent of the rooms were reserved for the weekend. He said companies sponsoring cars have not ordered the big blocks of rooms they have in the past.

The Sheraton, along with the Hilton and the Omni, has abandoned the normal three-night minimum for Indy weekend in hopes of filling some of those empty beds.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway executives say people still want to come to the Indy -- they just do not want to spend a lot of money doing it.

All this spring, sales have either been a tick ahead or a tick behind from last year, Ron Green, the speedway's public relations director, said. And last year, we saw a sizable jump.