How are local hotels handling higher numbers of visitors for the Illini football season?
Terri Reifsteck, vice president of marketing and community engagement for Experience Champaign-Urbana, said hotel occupancy rates are surpassing pre-pandemic numbers.
While official numbers for hotel occupancy for the first Illini game of the season aren’t yet available — it usually takes over a week to finalize numbers — Reifsteck said that hotels were “pretty full.”
Night games like last weekend’s nonconference matchup against Toledo bring in a lot of overnight guests, she said, though people will sometimes come in the night before for 11 a.m. kickoffs.
It didn’t seem like any hotels ran out of space, though: Reifsteck said Experience Champaign-Urbana usually gets calls if people are searching for rooms, and they didn’t hear anything last weekend.
She anticipates a decent number of visitors next weekend, since she said Penn State fans often travel in for games against Illinois.
This time of year, athletic events account for most hotel occupancy in C-U, though Reifsteck said that local festivals bring in a few people while meetings or conferences help to fill in weekdays.