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DATE News (chronologically)
08/11/12
f1
Austin's largest hotel operator still has rooms on F1 weekend
While Central Texas hotels as far away as San Antonio and Waco are booked solid for Austin's inaugural Formula One race, the region's largest hotel operator says it still has plenty of rooms up for grabs.
It'll cost you, though.

At least 21 of White Lodging's properties in Austin and Round Rock have openings Nov. 11-18, a spokeswoman said Thursday. Rates start at $349, and there's a minimum stay of four nights.

"They are higher-than-average rates for Austin, but they are comparable with other major sporting events that attract an international crowd," said Natalie Hart, the company's regional director of sales and marketing.

Hart said the rates are based, in part, on what hotels in other F1 cities have charged, including Indianapolis and Montreal.

The American-Statesman's July survey of Central Texas hotels found that more than 200 Austin-area hotels, from roadside inns to luxury properties, were full.

The region has about 20,000 hotel rooms, according to the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau. San Antonio has 40,000, and Waco has 4,000.

F1 organizers have said about 4,500 of those rooms are needed for people affiliated with the race, which occurs the weekend of Nov. 16-18.

Officials with Austin-based HomeAway, a site featuring vacation rental homes, report that interest is up significantly, as well.

White Lodging's Central Texas properties with openings include the Hilton Garden Inn Austin North, Holiday Inn Austin Arboretum, Marriott Austin South and the Westin at the Domain. Reservations can be made on each hotel's website, Hart said, or via circuitoftheamericas.com.

All will increase staffing during the race, Hart said, and will offer extra amenities, such as complimentary breakfast.

"It's definitely not business as usual," she said. "We're rolling out the red carpet for our guests."

Interest has been high since the event was first scheduled, according to managers at the White Lodging hotels, and has been growing as race weekend nears.

"We continue to receive inquires about room availability, but we still have great rooms for individual travelers, as well as groups," said Zach Burns, general manager of the Courtyard Austin University. "My staff and I are thrilled about the opportunity to exceed the expectations of travelers from around the globe." The Statesman

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