Families struggle to find hotels for Family Weekend

Lydia Jacobson, Reporter

Families eager to spend the weekend in Boone for the university’s Family Weekend, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, are struggling to find hotels with available rooms and reasonable prices. 

The university’s Family Weekend will consist of events such as the AppalFest, a Parent and Family Services Tailgate, the App State vs. The Citadel football game, a Legacy Brunch with Alumni Affairs as well as other festivities.

Sleep Inn Boone, Quality Inn & Suites, Comfort Suites, along with other hotels in Boone, are completely booked for either one or multiple days of Family Weekend. Hotels that have availability increased in price by hundreds of dollars per night.

There are discounts offered by the university for Family Weekend, but the discounts are only applicable to local restaurants and stores. Between the lack of hotel availability and high costs, some families are looking for places to stay outside of Boone, still facing difficulties. 

I looked at lodging, but there was zero chance I was gonna stay near campus,” wrote Jeff Connelly, an App State parent. “I looked at something reasonable (about $100) in a hotel about a half hour away, but in the end with all the traffic and inconvenience, I decided I’d just visit my son on a less crowded and less expensive weekend.”

Connelly is not alone in his preference to skip Family Weekend altogether and come to Boone a different weekend. Multiple families have heard from those who have attended previous Family Weekends that it is better to visit on a later date.

“I’m going to visit another weekend,” wrote Jennifer Covington, an App State parent. “The stories from other parents in years past made my decision to skip the stress and price gouging.”

Covington said that she heard from a friend the prices hotels were offering in August, and that led her away from looking for a room herself. 

Many parents said they did not anticipate how quickly hotels would be booked out. Some parents discovered they started their search for places to stay too late.

Parents have been booking hotels for Family Weekend since the date was released,” wrote App State parent Sharilyn Clarke. “Those parents may have been able to grab a hotel for $250 a night in/near Boone if they started their search in July.”

Clarke said she began searching for hotels in August. 

“I started looking about a month in advance, and I decided not to go about 20 days in advance,” Connelly wrote. 

Another common frustration among parents is the more than triple the typical price increase for hotel rooms for Family Weekend. Sleep Inn Boone, a local hotel, jumped from $93 per night on Thursday, to $368 per night on Friday

“Rates are definitely determined by what’s going on in the city, and we are definitely competitive with other rates as well,” said Lisa Le, the general manager of Sleep Inn Boone. “Everyone’s going to look at your competitors, so basically we have to look at the brand, what amenities you offer and what we can offer when determining rates.”

Le said it is typical for hotels to raise their rates on weekends, especially weekends with App State home football games. Still, the Friday rate a week before Family Weekend is set at $168, while Friday, Sept. 30 is at $368.

“Parents, especially empty nesters, are missing their kids very much,” Clarke wrote. “Sadly, a lot of them have given up on coming for the weekend because they cannot afford to.”