Booked and busy: Hotel sees influx of guests with winter weather

 On top of accommodating guest, the safety of their employees was a top priority. 

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – While the winter weather is keeping some people homebound and off from their jobs, others are finding temporary accommodations.

With ice on the roads, hotels in the area have seen an increase in bookings to keep people out of the cold weather and icy conditions.

Sales Manager Kennedi Sanders said many guests chose to extend their stay with the mix of wintery precipitation on the ground.

“Mostly with stayovers. So, we will have guests who were staying here before the weather got bad and then they will have to extend several nights just depending on the weather. We have had people who were just passing through and had to stop,” Sanders said.

Sanders is the Sales Manager for the Courtyard Marriot in Columbus. She said that, on top of accommodating guests, they ensured the safety of their employees.

“We had a lot of employees that our general said not to come in. So, we were able to handle it with just a few staff. People who live close by and didn’t have a 30-minute drive to work just to make sure those employees were staying safe. Also, they offered people a room to stay in complimentary so they didn’t have to go home. So, they wouldn’t have to drive in the dangerous weather,” Sanders said.

Several essential workers chose to lodge to be closer to their jobs.

“We have a lot of nurses from Baptist that have been staying with us the last few days. I know a lot of the nurses live not in Columbus and surrounding areas and just with the weather it is not safe to drive, especially at night. So, we have a lot of essential workers that are staying with us here,” Sanders said.

The manager said they look to accommodate guests’ needs year-round but have taken measures to ensure people can keep warm.

“We want to make sure everybody is very comfortable while they are here. So, again, if they need anything additional, we keep their rooms very warm. But we know that the heat for everybody is going to be bumped up. So, we are trying to do what we can to make sure we are staying energy efficient so that everybody stays warm and has enough blankets to be comfortable while they are here,” Sanders said.

Sanders said one of their hotels ended up being at full capacity with the amount of people needing to stay in the area.

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