S.C. hoteliers nervous canceled DNC reservations will go unsold

by: Greg Suskin Updated:


YORK COUNTY, S.C. - The Democratic National Convention is days away, but hotel room cancellations are putting many in the hotel business in York County on edge. 

"Nervous. We're nervous. If there's one word, that's it," said Kimberly McDaniel, director of sales at the Rock Hill Holiday Inn.

McDaniel told Channel 9 that the DNC has not been the windfall she expected.

"I expected all our rooms to be sold out," she said. "It's not what I expected."

The DNC released 20 rooms at the Holiday Inn that had been reserved for the convention. The hotel is scrambling to sell those rooms.

They are contacting frequent corporate guests, letting them know rooms are now available.

Sixteen of York County's 31 hotels have contracts with the DNC. Many are housing members of the media and support staff for the convention.

The contract allows the DNC to cancel some room reservations until Saturday.

Some hoteliers are bothered by such a late cancellation date.

Dilip Patel, who runs the Microtel on Riverview Road, is one of them.

"That's really unfair to us, because we don't have time then to sell those rooms," he said.

Eddie Bosch is general manager of the Hampton Inn behind the Galleria Mall. His hotel is nearly full, but he got a shock this week when the DNC canceled 25 rooms there. The group planning to stay there had a change in plans and instead went to help people in the path of Isaac.

Bosch expects that he'll be OK this week.

"We've got 12 of those rooms sold," he said. "I'm sure we'll fill the rest, too. We'll be booked."

Other groups that had reserved rooms in Rock Hill suddenly had the chance to stay in Charlotte and relocated.

The York County Convention and Visitor's Bureau points out the hotel occupancy for the week is far above the norm for September because of the DNC.

Hotel occupancy jumped from an average of 53.1 percent to nearly 70 percent for the week.

Of York County's 2,450 hotel rooms, only 769 are still vacant next week for at least one night.

Sonja Burris with the Convention and Visitor's Bureau said any spillover from the DNC is a big deal to the area. 

"This is a Charlotte event. We're grateful to be benefiting from something that's happening in Charlotte," she said.