Officials in the District of Columbia are expecting only between 600,000 to 800,000 attendees to Barack Obama’s second presidential inauguration, down from an estimated 1.8 million people at his first inauguration in January 2009.
One clue to attendance expectations is hotel room bookings. Four years ago, hotels were sold out quite early across the city. This year, however, rooms are still plentiful.
Elliot Ferguson, the head of Destination D.C., Washington’s tourism agency, claimed, “Very few hotels are actually sold out at this point, so there’s a lot of availability.” He suggested that demand was expected to increase after Christmas.
In 2009, hotel bookings were at 98% capacity, and, due to supply and demand, prices remained high. For inauguration number two, however, most hotels are only half filled, so prices are dropping and while stay times are increasing to entice guests.
Posh spots like the Willard Hotel still have pricey packages to offer inauguration goers, but many deals abound throughout the city due to lower demand.