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Hotels Seeing Green Over Inauguration

A couple of weeks ago, we told you about the potential problems in the inauguration housing market in which thousands of Washington-area residents are trying to rent out their homes for the week of Jan. 20. In today's Metro section, we bring word of a related property market in which rates are also soaring for the inaugural: hotels.

The key paragraphs:

With skyrocketing demand for inauguration week housing, Washington-area hotels are enjoying the kind of bargaining power that is usually reserved for hotels in cities that play host to Super Bowls, Final Four college basketball tournaments and soccer's international World Cup, industry experts said.
Some hotels have doubled or tripled usual prices, required customers to stay at least four nights and collected full payment up front, no refunds allowed. Even during Washington's busiest times, such as major conventions or protest marches on the Mall, hotels have usually been able to demand minimum stays of just two nights, experts said.

In the story, you'll find two examples of consumers who made reservations for low rates months ago, only to be told they owed more because the rates had doubled after Obama's general election victory. Read the whole story here.

By David A Nakamura  |  December 2, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Housing
Previous: Campaign's Heavy Hitters Give to Transition | Next: New Obama Souvenir Store Opens In D.C.

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If hotels in the DC area did not have the foresight to adjust room rates around Inauguration Day and smart consumers scooped up low rates, then woe to them. A confirmed reservation with a quoted rate should be honored and actions such as those mentioned in the article should be brought to the attention of the proper authorities.

Sure, had McCain won the election you would have had the typical crowd with a limited number of out-of-town visitors, but Obama's election is going to be a totally different event. Hotels should have proactively raised their rates in preparation for an Obama victory which would have given them the option to lower them as needed.

Do I begrudge hotels and B&Bs for trying to make some extra money? Of course not...this is what drives our economy, but I don't believe that bad management should be rewarded. By the way, if anyone needs a place to stay we have a vacant in-law suite in Fairfax near George Mason and we will drive you to Metro on the 20th.

Posted by: skipper7 | December 2, 2008 9:04 AM | Report abuse

This post prompted me to double-check my reservations in Baltimore; the price had not changed.

Posted by: tbd61 | December 3, 2008 9:37 AM | Report abuse

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