Graduation creates spike in business for area hotels


Hotels, such as the one located inside the Holmes Student Center, will see a boost in business as graduation approaches.

By Danny Ciamprone

DeKALB | With only about two weeks until graduation, hotels in DeKalb and Sycamore are seeing big numbers for people wanting rooms for the weekend.

This year, commencement ceremonies will be on May 13 and 14. Each graduate is allowed 10 tickets for friends and family members, so several people are looking into the idea of renting a hotel room to accommodate guests.

“It’s always busier during spring graduation,” said Nancy Young, manager of the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, 1935 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore. “That weekend is usually busy but we’ve been fielding calls since last fall, so people are really planning ahead.”

Young said as of Saturday she has one room left for May 13 and an additional 20 will free up on May 14.

Cindy Meeks, Holmes Student Center Hotel manager, 340 Carroll Ave., said historically there has been a big demand for rooms on graduation weekend.

“Our hotel guests like the convenience of staying at a hotel on campus,” Meeks said. “We anticipate selling out and have just a room or two available for commencement weekend.”

Meeks said friends and family often stay for other events aside from graduation. These events include watching their children play sports, attending a theater performance or watching a debate competition.

Vicky Torres, manager of Best Western, 1212 W. Lincoln Highway in DeKalb, said rooms have been sold out since the graduation date was posted on NIU’s website.

“We have had very few cancellations since then, maybe five percent,” Torres said. “That’s why it’s important not to overbook for the weekend.”

Gopal Modi, manager of Comfort Inn, 1475 S. Peace Road in Sycamore, said there is always a lot going on that weekend, so it is hard to get reservations.

“We do get a lot of people then requesting rooms,” Modi said. “Right now we don’t have any rooms available.”

Taylor Morris, senior sociology major, said her family originally wanted a hotel, but had to change plans.

“They are driving in Saturday morning and leaving that afternoon,” Morris said. “When we looked for a room everything was booked.”

The website has several tips for booking and saving on hotel expenses. They include traveling with a group and always making a reservation instead of just showing up and asking for special rates.

None of the hotels in the article offered special rates for graduation weekend.