People are anticipating an inauguration in Washington D.C. on January 20th, at least if you look at hotel and airline bookings. According to USA Today, fewer than 10 downtown hotels showed availability on Expedia for a January 19 to 21st stay. For those still selling rooms, the rates range from $899 to $1500 a night. Airfares are also costing double what they’d usually be to fly to the nation’s capital for a random weekend in the middle of winter.
Take what you will from the data but it seems like many people want to be there in person to see Joe Biden become the 46th President of the United States, even if that means having to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.
In January 2009, we flew into Washington D.C. on Barack Obama’s inauguration day. We booked a hotel near Dulles because we were flying from there to Japan the next morning. I didn’t even think about the election when I made the reservations 9 months prior.
The Courtyard by Marriott had shuttle buses to take people into the city. We had to cut our visit to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center short because the location would be hosting an inauguration party later in the evening and the Secret Service had to clear the building.
The economic impact of the inauguration of a new president is measured in the millions of dollars. How much the event will bring to the city is unknown in this COVID-19 environment but it’s clear the demand to see an historical event is still there.
Lest I forget to mention that having a stash of miles and points can make attending an event like this much more affordable. While rooms at the Grand Hyatt Washington D.C. were going for over $600 a night, reward nights were still bookable for 15,000 World of Hyatt points right up until Kamala Harris and Joe Biden gave their speeches on Saturday night. Not that I was checking.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary