'Room at Inn' Offers Reduced Room Rates
There will be "room at the inn" this holiday season for the eighth year in a row.
The program, called "We've Got Room at the Inn," starts Nov. 13. It features dramatically reduced room rates at local hotels so residents can offer relatives and friends an affordable place to stay during the holidays.
This year, 16 hotels -- ranging from bed and breakfasts to the Carolina Hotel -- are participating in the program, which will run through Jan. 3.
The idea was devised by David Woronoff, publisher of The Pilot, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks created a downturn in the local hospitality and tourism industries. The newspaper offers free advertising for the participating hotels, and the Convention and Visitor's Bureau (CVB) administers the program.
"We're all in the hospitality business," Woronoff said, "and our economy rises and falls with their performance. So this is an opportunity for the local community to help the hospitality industry, and it's an opportunity for the hospitality industry to give back to the community. We're happy to facilitate that."
Woronoff considers the program to be a "win-win" for the area. It allows residents to make their guests more comfortable instead of packing them into their homes, and it gives the hotels additional business during what is normally a slower time of the year.
"The local market is a viable market for [the hotels]," Woronoff said.
Many residents take advantage of the deal themselves, and will check into the local hotels for a quick getaway.
Claire Phillips, director of marketing and advertising for the CVB, said the program is something that residents and their guests have come to enjoy and expect. It also pays off for the hotels.
"Generally speaking, the participants see results from it," she said, "so I'd say it's a very effective program. Based on last year's rates, this year's are even lower. They really are providing value."
Phillips said both residents and hoteliers are eager for the program to start, and this year is no exception. Calls started coming in last month.
Phillips encourages those interested in taking advantage of the program to book as soon as possible because the hotels do fill up fast. Participating hotels can be found in full-page advertisements running in The Pilot as well as at thepilot.com and www.homeof golf.com.
Janeen Driscoll, communications director for Pinehurst Resort, said it's always a pleasure to participate.
"We always love opening the doors to Pinehurst during the holiday season," she said. "We're just about done with our holiday decorations, and it gives people within this community the opportunity to showcase this great hotel. There's no better way to to treat your family than to bring them to Pinehurst, and we make it affordable for them."
The Carolina Hotel will feature 30 decorated trees and its famous gingerbread house collection this year.
"It really becomes a landmark, especially during the holiday season," she added.
Woronoff said it's still a lot of fun to put the program on after all this time.
"We're trying to keep everybody happy," he said. "I think it's a great program. Everybody's excited. We still love doing it eight years later."
Contact John Krahnert III at (910) 693-2473 or by e-mail at jkrahnert@thepilot .com.
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