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JPW brings business for local hotels, inns

Eva Binda | Friday, February 16, 2007

Despite the feet of snow covering the South Bend community, parents still have their eyes on the Golden Dome as they arrive for Junior Parents Weekend (JPW) today – and those traveling from a distance made sure they reserved a warm hotel room far in advance.Although the amount of people arriving for the event is not quite as large as the masses that arrive for a typical football weekend or for graduation, there was still a need to make arrangements in advance. “We started receiving calls from parents the Monday after last year’s [Junior Parents Weekend],” said Pat Walsh, vice president of business services at Anthony Travel. “A lot of parents, especially those who have had older children attend Notre Dame know the drill and call early.”Walsh said his office deals with a “couple hundred” parents each year for JPW arrangements, many of whom are “repeat customers.””They know calling [Anthony Travel] is a one-stop phone call – hotel reservations, rental cars and airline tickets,” he said.Walsh said he expects parents looking to reserve rooms for next year’s JPW to begin Monday. This year’s most popular hotel destinations include the Inn at Saint Mary’s, the Varsity Club located near Grape Road and downtown the Marriott Hotel.Although rates can triple during football weekends, Walsh said he isn’t aware of any raises in rates this year for JPW. The Morris Inn, located on Notre Dame’s campus, is a popular option that does not allot rooms through Anthony Travel, but rather gives a certain number of rooms to the JPW Committee who then holds a lottery drawing in late November. Though the number of people arriving this weekend is relatively low, Bill Beirne, the director of the Morris Inn, said he “feels probably the same pressure.” Beirne said that the Morris Inn does not raise rates for JPW despite the high demand for hotel rooms. Rooms not allocated to the junior class for JPW are available for the University to use for guests and speakers visiting the University for other events.While hotels around campus fill up with junior parents, many non-junior students plan to leave campus for the weekend. “I don’t think there’s going to be much happening on campus this weekend,” said freshman Casey O’Halloran, who plans to spend the weekend in Chicago with friends from her dorm.