Philly mayor leads hotel rally to fight 30 percent papal weekend vacancy

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 Mayor Michael Nutter held a rally with hotel workers Friday (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Mayor Michael Nutter held a rally with hotel workers Friday (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

“Will you be there, I’ll be there”

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter held a rally with hotel workers and says now that people know everything about security and other restrictions, it’s time to finish selling out the city’s hotels for the papal weekend.

“I think the marketplace has absorbed all of that, every piece of information we have virtually is out and we are helping people to make better decisions about their experience with this event.”

Ed Grose of the hotel association says 30 percent of rooms are unoccupied for Sept. 26 and 27.

“We really didn’t know where we would be because this is a different event,” Grose said.  “It’s not like people bought tickets, it’s not like people made reservations, people are just going to show up.”

While room prices have not come crashing down, Grose says rates are constantly changing and some hotels are offering incentives. 

Some are resorting to try to lure workers worried about commuting that weekend to stay over.

This is a very different tune from the spring, when even hotels in the outer suburbs were reporting being booked solid.  Some Center City hotels report repeated cancelations from people scared away by travel restrictions.  

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