inauguration

DC's Hotel Industry Holding Out Hope for Inauguration

The planning committee is asking most people to stay home and watch the ceremony on TV

NBC Universal, Inc.

With just over a month to go, 2020's inauguration is shaping be unlike any other in history.

Normally, the planning committee gives out 200,000 tickets; this year, they’re asking most people to stay home and watch the ceremony on TV. Even members of Congress may only bring one guest each.

This isn't promising news for nearby hotels.

"The hospitality industry really looks forward to inauguration every four years," said Elliott Ferguson, president and CEO of Destination DC, which markets the city for tourism.

But although inauguration will be smaller, Ferguson said hotels are still holding out hope that customers will come.

"People just want to be around and near events like that," he said. "It’s similar to going to whatever city is hosting the Super Bowl."

The Rosewood Hotel in Georgetown is offering an inaugural ball package, with rates starting at $4,000 a night. The hotel says even with the capacity limits for inauguration, they still expect to sell out.

"It's a key business for us and we're hoping to capitalize on this time again," said Gabor Vida, the hotel's managing director.

Vida says they offer entire townhouses that people may rent to avoid coming in contact with other guests. The pricey packages include dinner and a TV screen to watch the ceremony.

"The pandemic had a huge impact on the industry, and of course, hospitality being one of the hardest-hit industries," Vida said. "So we are just thrilled to be open again."

Over on Airbnb's website, there are hundreds of listings for the week of Jan. 20, some bearing headlines like "Walk to [the] presidential inauguration."

But visitors will have limited options for fun. Many museums are currently closed.

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