INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis tourism and hotel officials have said they're not overly concerned about a drop in the number of advance hotel room bookings.
The number of rooms booked by Visit Indy decreased in 2016 to the lowest level since 2013, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported. The organization books hotel rooms for conventions.
As of Dec. 19, Visit Indy booked 838,000 hotel rooms to be used in 2017 and later years. That number dropped from a record of more than 904,700 rooms booked during 2015 for future years, and nearly 880,600 booked during 2014.
But it's still significantly ahead of the nearly 700,400 rooms booked in 2013.
A key factor for declining bookings is the uncertainty caused by the presidential election, said Mark Eble, a managing director of the research firm CBRE Hotels.
"There's still some uncertainty with how (the election) will impact the economy, and it's been seven years since our last recession," Eble said. "Everyone knows the next dip is out there, and that creates more uncertainty, which can slow spending."
Visit Indy Vice President Chris Gahl said he's not worried because his group beat its goal by booking more than 800,000 rooms for the third year in a row. Gahl also noted that due to hotel rooms booked into future years in 2014 and 2015, less inventory was available for the group to sell during 2016.
Patrick Tamm, president of the Indiana Restaurant & Lodging Association, said that in addition to the future bookings, the hotels' teams had strong group sales the last two years, which further occupied inventory for Visit Indy to sell.
"There's bound to be a dip here and there," Tamm said. "But this industry is pointed in the right direction."