Early reservations keep families out of cold

It’s that time of year again: graduation. With Florida State University having 1,700 students walking across the and FAMU expecting 686 students to receive diplomas, one can only guess how many guests Tallahassee will be accommodating.

Families are coming as early as this weekend.

Michele Nihiser, a 21-year-old criminal justice student from Camp Zama, Japan, said her family is coming a week early. “They’re so excited about me graduating that they’re flying in on Saturday,” Nihiser said. “They wanted to come early so they could help out with the whole process.”

I’m so happy I stay in a house and don’t have to deal with trying to book them a hotel room. It’s one less thing to stress about,” she said.

With the influx of visitors expected over the next few days, hotels are filling up everywhere, although some people admit that the fall graduation isn’t nearly as hectic as the spring graduation.

The La Quinta Inn on Apalachee agrees.

“We have about 50 (rooms left) altogether. We aren’t half as busy as the spring graduation, but the rooms are being picked up quickly,” said Nadia Pappas, front office manager. According to an employee at the Howard Johnson hotel, they currently have 14 rooms for Friday and 32 for Saturday of next week.

“Come next week though, I doubt we’ll have that many, if any,” a representative said. The Holiday Inn Select, located on Tennessee Street, which usually receives quite a deal of business, is completely full for Friday, and has 46 rooms available for Saturday.

Aside from the hassle of trying to book a hotel room period, students and their relatives also have to deal with the inflated prices of hotel rooms.

“I booked my family’s room about a month and a half ago,” says Alfonzo Maxwell, a 22-year-old graduating computer engineering student from Topeka, Kan. “I went through a friend and got their rooms. It seemed like they jacked up prices for graduation everywhere else I looked and this was months ago.” Holiday Inn Select front desk agent Solace Dyer said, “All busy weekends the prices go up.” Holiday Inn has raised the price of a room to $149 from the usual $89.

However, contrary to expectations, not all hotels have raised their prices. For example, The Hilton Garden Inn on Thomasville Road has not.

“Our rates are the same for each football game weekend or whatever big weekend. We don’t raise them specifically for events. We have a standard rate for any football game, graduation, whatever,” said Neroli Guy, a front desk employee. Their newly opened counterpart on Blairstone Road has not raised its rates either.

So, for all graduates and their families, or whoever else might be seeking a hotel room for the upcoming Dec. 15 weekend, it seems that there are still some availabilities.

But making early reservations will more than likely secure a hotel room.