Oxford hotel rate increases during game weekends concern some visitors

Marcela Rivera of Oxford at the Holiday Inn Express on Heritage Drive. Photo by Kassidy Biss.

Kassidy Biss
Oxford Stories

Ole Miss parent Todd Halle of Atlanta doesn’t understand why Oxford hotel rates are so high during football and other game seasons.

“We (my wife and I) are already spending a fortune sending a kid to Ole Miss,” he said. “Why is it an arm and a leg to come stay and support our kid and his friends? Five hundred dollars a night for a room smaller than my son’s dorm is absurd.”

Booking hotels in Oxford during any game season can be a challenge for Oxford’s visiting sports fans. One Oxford hotel employee offered tips for sports fans about how to make booking hotels in Oxford easier.

Oxford resident Marcela Rivera has worked at Oxford’s Holiday Inn Express on Heritage Drive since last game season.

“I actually started working here in the heat of game season and learned really fast how to accommodate guest’s needs to the best of my ability,” she said.

Marcela Rivera of Oxford at the Holiday Inn Express on Heritage Drive. Photo by Kassidy Biss.

Rivera said the main problem for hotels during the current baseball season is overbooking.

“We have high demand for rooms around and on game day, and we run out really quickly,” she said.

Rivera offered the following tips about battling crowds and securing a room: “Make sure you book as soon possible,” she said. “Do not underestimate how far in advance seasoned football fans will book. Veteran football fans will book in January for a game in October. Be aware of high rates because of the demand for rooms, and be aware of the cancellation policies.”

Cancellation policies refer to a set protocol the hotel has to follow when a guest cancels their reservation of a particular room. “Cancellation policies are different at every hotel,” Rivera said, “so when you book, make sure you call ahead and ask.”

Holiday Inn’s complimentary pens. Photo by Kassidy Biss.

Guest relations on game days can be strained due to the sheer volume of guest problems and the ratio of staff to guests.

“As a guest, you need be aware that it is a full house, and we are working hard to accommodate you and the other 100+ guests also here,” Rivera said. “Football game nights are when hotel employees work the hardest.”

Others also sometimes have grief about hotels during game seasons. Many parents flagged the high rates as a cause for alarm.  Rates in Oxford during game weekends soar to $500 a night and beyond.

Small businessman Jonathan LaFleur of Gulfport said doing business in Oxford is hard when game weekend rates are high. Sometimes, he has to stay for two weeks, and the bill spikes during game weekends.

“What am I supposed to do? Stay in Batesville during the weekend,” he said.

LaFleur said rates for non-sports fans should be created. Otherwise business in Oxford could suffer.

Regardless of the issues during game seasons, many hotels do their best to accommodate the Ole Miss family.

“We love our guests and hope they continue to return year after year,” Rivera said.

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