The 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is less than three weeks away and for the first time in years, reserved seats are sold out.
But that’s not the only thing going fast. People coming to town for the 500 who haven’t yet booked a room will probably have to go out of town to find one – perhaps as far away as Ft. Wayne and South Bend.
Chris Gahl with Visit Indy calls it “a virtual sell-out.”
He said hotels in Indianapolis proper and the surrounding metro area have been booked solid since March 15 or eight weeks out, “much longer than usual.”
Call area hotels about booking a room race weekend and you’ll likely hear, “Sold out, fully committed and no rooms.”
It’s the same thing for travel or hotel websites.
Additionally, Gahl said most are requiring a three-night minimum stay with rates running at least 20 percent higher than usual, some considerably more.
Rooms at Knights Inn on the city’s south side usually go for $55 a night. It’s one of the few hotels that still shows availability and without a minimum stay, but you’ll pay $899 plus taxes to stay the night before the race.
Debbie Hasbrook owns the Hotel Broad Ripple, a boutique inn along the Monon with nine different rooms. Open now for three Indy 500s, she said most guests last year booked for this year before checking out.
“We have one room now, one room that opened up. Someone canceled,” she said early Tuesday afternoon, adding that room wouldn’t be open long. “One opened up yesterday and it was booked within 20 minutes.”
She said people are excited about the 100th running.
“I think there’s a lot more conversation about it and we’ve had way more phone calls and people we’ve had to turn away,” Hasbrook said.
The race has also provided a big boost to the Airbnb businesses.
Catherine LaCrosse has two places she lists on Airbnb: a bungalow in Broad Ripple and a carriage house in Meridian Kessler.
“I booked one place in January and the other in October of last year,” she said, adding, “I’ve had extra requests for my place from friends and friends of friends seeing if I have availability and I don’t.”
LaCrosse said she’s renting the out bungalow for three nights for $700 and the carriage house for about $400 – both about 20 percent higher than normal.
“I probably should have done 50 percent [higher than normal] to be honest, but I don’t like gouging people. I find it offensive, so unfortunately, I only did 20 percent,” she said.
Still, LaCrosse isn’t complaining, except for one thing.
With all her space rented out, “Now we have to find a place to stay,” she laughed, which could mean a road trip to South Bend. News Source: wthr.com