Reporter: Mark Kelly l Photojournalist: Sally Delta Goin
Lynchburg, VA - Liberty University is hosting an indoor high school track meet this weekend. The event draws 2,000 athletes from all over the state, some even from North Carolina. And all of those people need a place to stay, which has been a real win for Lynchburg hotels.
Rodney Osborne drove his athlete up from Charlotte. His kid competes Saturday, but he came up a day early and made it a weekend getaway.
"My wife wanted to get out of town so we actually could have come up tomorrow morning," said Osborne.
But he's staying the night, and that's just what Wingate by Wyndham wants to hear. Sales Director Brian Knopp says many athletes are spending money at a Lynchburg hotel for at least a night.
"We are supporting wherever we have to go. Spending a little money," said Osborne.
Brian Knopp's spending time ensuring his customers are cared for.
"We have to do a little extra preparation with the front desk just to make sure that the check-ins go smoothly, having their keys pre-made and, of course, having additional staff helps," said Knopp.
The extra staff's needed. Knopp says the hotel on an average January weekend is half empty. This weekend's very different - just 9 rooms left. Knopp says this track meet really boosts his business because it all happens indoors.
"The best thing about it is that they can't cancel because of weather," said Knopp.
"They already got a bit of a spike this weekend with all the Liberty students coming back to campus, then you add all the athletes here, and there parents and friends and family and that'll be a lot of extra people in tow," said Paul Carmany, Liberty assistant athletics communications director.
Liberty's already pretty busy this weekend. This is the same weekend the college students come back to town. Dorms opened at 1 Friday afternoon to start letting students back.