Area hotels raise prices, sell out for graduation

by Charles Rafkin | 9/30/12 10:00pm

by Nathan Yeo and Nathan Yeo / The Dartmouth

The Hanover Inn, Six South Street Hotel, the Norwich Inn, the Trumbull House Bed and Breakfast, the Marriott in Lebanon and the Holiday Inn in White River Junction are among the hotels already sold out for the June 9 event, according to their websites and managers.

"We get guests asking about graduation sometimes when they found out their student has been accepted," Norwich Inn Manager Taryn Foster said.

Six South Street Hotel reserved its 69 rooms for members of its "E-Club" parents who have previously stayed in the hotel according to Don Bruce, the hotel's manager. In March, Bruce informed members of the "E-Club" that rooms had been set aside for them.

The Norwich Inn also implemented a system for offering rooms to preferred members, Foster said.

In addition, several hotels raised their prices for Commencement weekend, according to managers.

"As any hotel will do in a high-demand time, you raise the rates a little bit," Foster said.

The Norwich Inn raised rates to a minimum of $299 per night for the weekend of June 9. Similarly, the Trumbull House increased prices by around $20 to $30 for each of its six rooms, while Six South Street Hotel upped prices to between $500 and $600 per night.

To accommodate hotel overflow, the Office of Residential Life will distribute an application for on-campus housing to parents in March 2013, according to Patricia Hedin, the assistant director of residential operations and coordinator of Commencement and reunion housing. Last year, the College reserved 1,400 "bed-spaces" for Commencement weekend and charged $42 per person per night, Hedin said. She expects similar numbers for this coming spring's event.

"I hate to say the word guarantee' because that's barring that nothing can happen, but I can pretty much say that I've been able to house everyone that has applied," Hedin, who has been in charge of Commencement housing for the past 12 years, said.

Families who apply sooner will receive higher-quality facilities, like rooms in Fahey-McLane Hall or Hitchcock Hall. After those rooms are full, Hedin will fill all of the residence halls except the Choates and River clusters and Greek houses, she said.

Although the College asks graduates to invite eight guests or fewer, Hedin said that ORL has been able to accommodate larger parties and family-specific requests in years past. Families with small children are given preference for triples, and grandparents are often given access to elevators.

Hedin cited the College's lower prices and increased flexibility for families as advantages over hotel reservations. Unlike many hotels that require three-night stays during Commencement weekend, the College allows families to stay either Friday and Saturday nights or only Saturday night, she said. Seniors will be allowed to stay on campus free of charge during the interim period after classes end.

Even though his parents started looking for hotels several months ago, Michael Matt '13 said that his parents are relying on ORL housing due to hotel rooms' higher rates and distance from the College.

"My dad wants to be able to party and have fun with me," Matt said.

Brendan Woods '13, who said he could not find a convenient hotel near Hanover, said he was unaware of the ORL housing application for Commencement.

"They should try to make [the housing application] public right now because people are already spending money and booking transportation and hotel rooms for places that are off campus," he said.

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!