INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – History’s already being made as we gear up for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Visit Indy reports hotels throughout the city are sold out for the race. The sellout came eight weeks ahead of schedule, occurring back in March.
It is a momentous year for the speedway. When coming to the race, you’ll notice so many improvements to the track, $92 million worth of renovations like new club seats, entertainment areas, and more.
“The biggest challenge in this entire project was the balance of new and traditional. What makes us special is our history and tradition, so if you are going to change things, you have to do it in a way that is respectful, which makes it special,” said Doug Boles, IMS President.
Last week, IMS officials announced reserved seats for this year’s Indianapolis 500 are sold out; however, general admission tickets are still available.
Since March 15th, the 33,000 hotel rooms around the city have been sold out, too.
“That is a healthy sign that this will be a record breaking month of May in terms of visitor spending and the number of visitors here in the city,” said Chris Gahl, with Visit Indy, “We’re receiving calls from international visitors, domestic visitors, wanting to come, and we’re placing them as far as Muncie, Bloomington, South Bend,” he said.
Gahl said room rates are about 20% higher this year, and the city’s 7,100 downtown hotel rooms have rates 30% to 40% higher. All hotels have three to four night minimum stay requirements.
We did some checking online and found rooms in Indianapolis the Saturday night before the race going for $340 nightly and $899 nightly, likely availabilities because of cancellations. The search engine we used said more than 200 hotels did not have availability on the date we requested.
Gahl expexts more international visitors to this year’s race than usual, along with many who aim to cross the experience off their bucket list.
The hope is that they’ll be back for running number 101.
“All of these visitors coming in, selling out our hotels, and the race, will have such a positive experience and the hospitality,” he said, “We’ll be able to build this momentum and carry it into the future. That’s really paramount when you look at building upon this year’s event.”