As Family Weekend gets underway, workers at New Haven’s shops, restaurants and hotels are preparing for an influx of customers from out of town.
But while New Haven’s more expensive hotels and restaurants are fully booked for the three-day event, moderate to low-priced establishments are not.
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Employees interviewed from four moderately to expensively priced New Haven hotels said they will likely be as busy during this Family Weekend as in years past. However, those at two less expensive hotels acknowledged that while they have large numbers of reservations, they are not entirely booked.
At the Econo Lodge Conference Center on Pond Lily Avenue, 20 of the establishment’s 120 rooms are still available, said manager James Spears. Each room at the Econo Lodge with a king-sized bed goes for $55.
The front desk supervisor at the Super 8 motel in West Haven said a large number of the motel’s 80 rooms have been reserved for the weekend but that some of the $62.99 per night rooms are still available.
Teresa Goldsmith, the Sales Director at the Omni Hotel on Temple Street, said all 306 of the hotel’s rooms are booked and that the hotel is in fact overbooked for the three-day event. But Goldsmith added that she expects some guests to cancel. The average price of a room with a king-sized bed at the Omni is $399. In keeping with what the hotel has done in previous years, the Omni will be holding a few small receptions for people in town for Family Weekend.
“We have most of the Yale parents staying with us actually,” Goldsmith said, adding that the hotel likes for Yale parents to meet one another and enjoy the weekend.
Also completely booked is a relatively new addition to New Haven, The Study at Yale on Chapel Street, where a room with a king-size bed goes for $309 on average.
Family Weekend is also a prime time for the sale of Yale merchandise. Retailers Campus Customs and the Yale Bookstore are getting ready for a shopping ‘black Friday’ as parents snap up Yale memorabilia to bring home, employees at both stores said.
The Yale Bookstore has even scheduled best-selling author Jodi Picoult for a book signing Saturday afternoon to draw large crowds into the store, said Renee Pascarelli, a Yale Bookstore supervisor. Pascarelli added that for Picoult to agree to do an event at Yale was a big deal.
In addition to the book signing, the bookstore is opening one hour earlier Saturday and is increasing the number of employees working this weekend by 15 percent. The bookstore is also running a booth at the Yale-Dartmouth football game this coming Saturday to sell Yale paraphernalia.
While all but one of 12 students interviewed said they did not have set plans for this weekend, those whose family members were coming to visit said they were looking forward to dining off-campus on their parents’ dime. Many, in fact, said they had already made reservations.
Alex Steiner ’13 said he is looking forward to spending time with his parents and added that he might end up eating with his family both at restaurants in the area and in the dining halls.
“Maybe both, I’m not sure — there are multiple nights [to eat out],” he said.
Employees at Ibiza, Zinc, Scoozi and Union League Café, said their respective establishments had no more reservations available for the weekend.
For newcomer Mandala Bistro, which opened on Temple Street just three months ago, the weekend is also an opportunity to win over new customers, the restaurant’s manager, Bik Banset, said. Banset added that the restaurant hopes to use discounts to attract families staying at nearby hotels.
“We are new in town, and we just want to give a message,” Banset said. “So hopefully this weekend is going to be busy.”