|By Abbey Doyle, The Herald Bulletin,
Anderson, Ind.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jan. 29, 2012--ANDERSON, Ind. -- The Super Bowl's presence in Indianapolis is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for area businesses, according to community leaders and business owners.
"The impact will be huge," said Ralph Day, director of the Anderson/Madison County Visitors and Conventions Bureau. "I'm sure locally we will be in range of economic impact (that) we have never been in before. We've never dealt with numbers of this magnitude; we have nothing to compare it to."
Most area hotels are booked now or expect to be booked with room rates two to three times higher than their typical rates. And hotels closer to the site in downtown Indianapolis are charging thousands for a night's stay.
Day said there are a little more than 1,000 rooms in Madison County, and he suspects most will be sold out for at least three to four nights in the $200-to-$300 price range.
Becky Rogers, director of sales for Holiday Inn Express, 6720 S. Scatterfield Road, said the hotel set a special-event rate. Like all hotels, Holiday Inn's rates fluctuate based on supply and demand.
Some hotels, such as the Fairfield Inn, sold their rooms to the NFL Fan Experience, which then sets the prices. The advantage to that was a guarantee that the rooms would be booked -- but the rate was set, in most cases, lower than what many of the other hotels are charging.
Day said that three or four hotels signed on for that but that most chose not to be locked in with a particular rate.
Rogers said Holiday Inn plans to make the experience for its guests fun. Employees have gone through the NFL-sponsored Super Service Training, and she said the hotel will have special decorations and activities too.
"We want our guests to feel they are part of the Super Bowl experience," Rogers said. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to showcase our state and our community. We want to show our guests a great time hoping they will come back here the next time their team plays the Colts."
She pointed out that the impact will be felt by the entire community. With thousands expected to come into the area for the game, not only will Indianapolis hotels not be able to accommodate the huge influx but restaurants and retailers will be over capacity.
Day said guests are being encouraged to turn to the Super Celebration Sites for those needs.
With events scheduled at Hoosier Park and the entertainment provided by the casino, he expects Anderson will see a large number of overflow guests.
With more than 150,000 expected to come in for the Super Bowl, Grant Scharton, Hoosier Park's director of public relations, expects all of Indy's surrounding communities to see an uptick in business from visitors.
The casino will offer free live entertainment, tailgate-inspired dining, specials and giveaways in the days leading up to and including the Super Bowl.
"This is a huge opportunity for this area," Scharton said. "This is a chance for us to invite and cater to thousands of visitors from around the country. We are all working hard to put our best foot forward making this a positive Super Bowl experience."
Mike Hammack, general manager for Montana Mike's, said the restaurant is preparing for a huge impact. It's stocked a large surplus of food and alcohol in anticipation of big crowds and have special promotions and events planned.
"There will be a lot of people visiting the heartland of the USA, and I'm excited to show them what we are all about," Hammack said.
Greg Winkler, the city's interim economic development director, said the city expects there to be a significant impact.
"We anticipate that our hotels are going to be full over that five day period," he said. "I'm not sure what the economic impact will be, but it will definitely make for the kind of weekend we would like to be able to give them every weekend."
The city and county plans to dedicate resources to ensure visitors are safe, he said. Public safety entities and city services from the area have coordinated to ensure there are plans in place for situations like snow. "The exposure for Anderson is great," Winkler said. "The city flag will be flying in downtown Indianapolis. We are part of the super celebration. This is an opportunity for the city of Anderson and its people to gain a degree of national exposure and that's always a good thing."
Contact Abbey Doyle: 640-4805, firstname.lastname@example.org
(c)2012 The Herald Bulletin (Anderson, Ind.)
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