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Parents search hopelessly for hotels

Sept. 20, 1996

By Denise Crozier

Lariat Reporter

Trying to find a place for parents to stay during Parents' Weekend can be as frustrating as trying to find a parking spot right before class.

As sales and tourism escalate during Parents' Weekend, the chance of getting a room is slim to none. Motels surrounding the Baylor campus have one thing in common: a blinking neon 'no vacancy' sign.

According to front desk operators, Best Western, La Quinta and Lexington Inn reserve rooms one year in advance while Days Inn begins making reservations only on the first working day of June.

Rita Smotherman, a front desk operator at Best Western, said Parents' Weekend 'stands out among other weekends.'

'Parents like staying here because it is conveniently next to the Baylor campus,' Smotherman said.

Best Western is on Interstate Highway 35 and Fourth Street across from North Russell Residence Hall.

La Quinta Inn hires extra help in order to relieve traffic congestion in the motel during Parents' Weekend. The temporary employees assist in taking care of guests, including helping with luggage and directing traffic.

'This is a very important weekend, especially with it being a season opener,' said Steve Smith, a front desk operator at La Quinta.

Smith said the motel fills up with reservations for the following Parents' Weekend within 30 minutes after parents arrive.

La Quinta is at 1110 S. Ninth St. next to Pizza Hut and within walking distance of the campus.

Donna Holdbrook, director of sales for Lexington Inn, said parents grasp the opportunity to make a deposit one year in advance.

'Depositing one year in advance gives parents an advantage over others by already claiming a room,' Holdbrook said.

Lexington Inn is off I-35 at University Parks across from Baylor.

Serina Warner, front desk operator at Days Inn, at 1504 I-35 North, just three miles from Baylor, said reservations fill up within 30 to 45 minutes once June 1 arrives.

Waco motels and hotels are not the only resorts experiencing the multitude of sales during Parents' Weekend. Steve Smith, director of the Big 12 Task Force, said parents travel to surrounding cities such as Hillsboro, Temple and Gatesville in a desperate attempt to find a room. Holiday Inn, open for only a month, was booked solid a week into its opening.

Some parents eliminate the hassle of finding a motel or hotel room, as well as expenses, by staying with local-area residents.

Kristen Stockdale, a Denton freshman, said her parents avoided the stress of trying to find a room by staying at a friend's house.

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