Homecoming Means Big Business

By: Michael Gorsegner
By: Michael Gorsegner

September 15, 2006

The annual tradition of homecoming at UVa means fun for many and a shot in the arm for local business.

"The home football games are pretty crazy," said Kevin Blake from the Boar's Head Inn.

When people think homecoming weekend, they think food and football. But for local businesses, it's a chance to pad the bottom line. The Boar's Head Inn sold out all of their 170 rooms weeks ago and they anticipate those customers will spend some money.

"About 40 percent of their overall spend will be in our outlets, in our restaurants, in room service, at the sports club," said Blake who is the Director of Food and Beverages at the Inn.

"Homecoming weekend, football game, family, friends, associates of the University of Virginia, students, it's all good for Charlottesville," said Larry Banner from the Charlottesville Chamber of Commerce.

UVa estimates that more than 15,000 alumni return to Charlottesville just for this weekend. Banner says that influx of people is not only good for business here in the City, but also the surrounding areas.

"The wealth extends beyond Charlottesville and Albemarle County. You have outlying counties that are benefiting from the hospitality and the hotels," he said.

"We do a good job of forecasting our occupancy, then we will forecast how many covers we will do in the outlets. There is quite a bit of organization that goes into it," Blake said.

Even though it is a lot of work, Blake says it's what drives the industry.

"When people are here for a good time, it is awfully hard not to deliver that," he explained.

If you are looking for a last minute hotel room, you are going to be out of luck. Just about all of the 3,000 hotel rooms across the region are sold out.


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