G-8 Rooms Reserved, Not Yet Paid For

The federal government has reserved more than $15 million worth of hotel rooms for the G-8 summit in June. The problem is the hotel owners have not received a deposit or any kind of confirmation that all of the rooms will be used or paid for. Several members of the hospitality industry are on pins and needles, wondering if the G-8 summit planning organization will use all of the rooms it has asked for.

The Westin Resort, for example, has 400 rooms. If they are all reserved for four nights, that adds up to 1,600 room-nights they have to hold for the federal government. The biggest concern that we have right now is how many rooms will the G-8 summit organizing group need a week in advance, two weeks in advance, three weeks in advance," said the resort's Mark Spadoni. "Because a lot of hotels within the local community have committed a lot of rooms starting in the middle of May."

G-8 officials say there is no need to worry, because they will need all of the rooms they have reserved and more. "Every room, 102,000 room-nights here in Savannah and down in Glynn County will be used," said G-8 communications director Barry Bennett. "And we could use a thousand more."

G-8 officials say although they will control who can book rooms in the reserved block, they will only guarantee payment for the rooms used by government employees. But, they say there is little doubt that hotels will have any trouble selling rooms the government does not use.

Most of the large, upscale rooms have been reserved by foreign countries. Those rooms have to be guaranteed by that country.

Reported by: Ron Wallace, rwallace@wtoc.com