It will be hard to find a motel on July 4
South Shore lodging folks can expect a full house on Fourth of July weekend, which is normal. What’s unusual is that this year they have double the reasons to fill up, and fill up quickly.
The Fourth of July attracts visitors en masse to South Shore. This year it falls on Sunday, the concluding day of the annual Celebrity Golf Championship, now known as the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.
It could get a little cozy.
For visitors slow to make reservations, it could get real frustrating.
“People who will really get hurt are the people attending,” said Pete Mac Roberts, general manager of Viking Motor Lodge and president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association. “I don’t think the (motels and hotels) will suffer an income loss. We’ll be full anyway.”
Local officials have no control over the scheduling of the Celebrity Golf Championship, which begins with preliminary and practice rounds on June 29. The two events also overlapped two years ago.
NBC Sports officials set the date based on contracts with other events such as the LPGA, US Open and Wimbledon, according to Phil Weidinger of Weidinger Public Relations, which helps organize the event for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.
“It’s much better if the events are on consecutive weekends, but the (golf) event is worth having,” he said.
Local officials have been told this is the last time the golf championship will overlap Fourth of July, he said.
For now, organizers are searching for rooms.
NBC and Sports Marketing and Television International start booking sponsor rooms 11 months ahead of the event. This year, due to the recent contract with the new title sponsor American Century and additional secondary sponsors, their estimate fell short. The LTVA is helping out.
More than 2,500 room nights have been booked for sponsors, celebrities and guests, said LTVA Director Terry LeBan. Many are at discounts and some are complementary.
“That’s a big chunk to take out of the revenue stream,” she said, adding that another 20 rooms are still needed.
“I’ve had an awesome amount of cooperation from the neighborhood. It’s not ideal, we’ve had to spread out where most years they’re concentrated in one area.”
Most of the celebrities and officials will be staying at Caesars Tahoe. As the host hotel for the golf tournament, all its rooms are reserved for the tournament.
“For Caesars, it’s celebrity golf that week,” said Sue Hyde, Caesars’ vice president of marketing. “The Fourth is very big. We’ll be losing it this year. But (the golf championship) is such a wonderful event, it’s worth it.”
Weidinger’s firm has been gathering room blocks for media representatives.
“We don’t ask for comps because we know this is the time people need to make their money,” Weidinger said.
Left to fend for themselves are the volunteers, about 400 of them, who make a vacation out of doing the grunt work for the tournament.
“Most people have done it before, so they know what to expect,” said Sheila Stanton who organizes the volunteer program for the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce. “Most have their reservations (early) or stay with friends. Some stay down in the valley.
“For new people, it might be a little harder (this year).”
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