Room at Inn: Program Makes Holiday Bit Easier
Richard and Sandra Hoffman, of Pinehurst, could have had a house busting at the seams this Thanksgiving with their two children and their families visiting.
But thanks to the popular "Room at the Inn" program, some of their family members will stay close by in a hotel. Their son, Rick, and his family from New Jersey, and their daughter, Laurie, and her family from Ohio, are visiting their parents for Thanksgiving.
The program allows local residents to take advantage of discounted rates at local hotels during the holiday season.
"We booked a room for the kids coming home," Richard Hoffman says. "We've been very pleased with it."
The Hoffmans are putting up one of their children and their family at the Hampton Inn and Suites in Aberdeen.
"Right now, we have two families (visiting)," he says. "We can comfortably put up only one."
The Hoffmans heard about the new Hampton Inn, met up with the management and took a tour of the building. They liked the rooms and the indoor swimming pool, so they went ahead and booked a room for Thanksgiving.
"It's a beautiful facility over there," he says.
The Hoffmans welcome their three children's visits every year. Their other daughter, Carrie, couldn't make it this year. Richard Hoffman says that taking advantage of the Room at the Inn program has become a Thanksgiving tradition.
It's so easy that Hoffman says he can't remember if they used Room at the Inn last year.
"I think we did last year," he says leaning away from the phone to ask his wife. "We did. She says we always use it."
The Hoffmans are one of many local families who take advantage of the program, started after 9/11 as a way to jump-start the struggling hospitality market.
David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot, and Walker Morris, owner of Muirfield Broadcasting, came up with the idea shortly after the terrorist attacks when it became clear that the local hotels and motels were going to need a spark to get through the down economic times.
Woronoff and Morris took the idea to Caleb Miles, CEO of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the CVB ran with it. The Pilot and Muirfield Broadcasting provide free advertising. The program helps drive business to the hotels during the down season. It lasts through the New Year.
The program has proved so popular that it stuck around even after the travel economy recovered somewhat. With the economy struggling again this year, it's the perfect time to take advantage of lower rates.
Nineteen hotels and motels are taking part in the program this year. They offer single-room rates as low as $39 a night. For a full list of the participating hotels visit the CVB Web site at homeofgolf.com.
Norman Clingerman, director of sales and marketing at Hampton Inn, says the hotel has taken part in the Room at the Inn program for several years, going back to when it was located on U.S. 1 in Southern Pines across from Raffaele's Restaurant.
He said it has been good for local residents because they get good deals, as well as for the hoteliers because they get more customers.
"I think it's worked out well for the community," Clingerman said. "We're here to let people know that out-of-town people who stay here can get a reduced rate."
The program is not just for visitors and out-of-town family members. Some local residents also take advantage of Room at the Inn to have a romantic getaway with their significant other or just get away from the house for a night over the holidays.
But Clingerman said most of the folks who take advantage of the Room at the Inn are looking to make the holidays a little easier by having family members stay nearby in a hotel.
"You can enjoy the holidays," he says. "If you get them a room, you have that luxury. You don't have to be making breakfast. It allows them to enjoy their family a lot easier."
Contact Matthew Moriarty at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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