Homewood Suites accommodates graduation overflow
Some students, parents were not aware the hotel at 41st, Walnut was an option
May 10, 2012, 4:29 pm·
Justin Cohen | DP
Despite the large amount of parents staying near campus this weekend for Commencement, Homewood Suites at 41st and Walnut streets is not fully booked.
The hotel, which had a soft opening on May 1, is providing a special rate for the busiest weekend of the year, according to Assistant Director of Sales Jonathan Esten.
The project had been scheduled to finish later in the year, but construction was completed ahead of schedule, said President and CEO of Campus Apartments David Adelman. “As a result, we thought it would be beneficial to the Penn community to open ahead of our original schedule and help with the overflow of graduation,” he said.
The hotel has put advertisements in The Daily Pennsylvanian, on the Hilton Hotels website and other travel websites.
According to Jonathan Chopp, Campus Apartments senior director of investments, the hotel did not start booking reservations until the end of April, when they were certain the hotel would be open in time for Commencement.
Some students, like College senior Erica Yoon, didn’t know Homewood was an option when she was booking hotels with her parents over winter break. “I had no idea it existed,” she said. Her parents will stay in the Hyatt in Center City this weekend.
College senior Elisa Baek had heard about Homewood recently through word of mouth, but her parents had already booked another place last July because they predicted the hotels near campus would be in high demand.
“[My parents] probably would have booked their stay at Homewood Suites instead if they had known about it,” she said. “If I remember correctly, Homewood Suites hadn’t even come up on hotel search sites [such as] Priceline.”
Wharton and College senior Bryce Frost’s parents are staying near the airport. They had originally tried to book Homewood Suites, but decided it was overpriced. “We have a car, so we could’ve just driven from a hotel that was farther away and it wouldn’t have been a big issue,” Frost said.
Chopp said since the hotel has been open to reservations, “the phone has been ringing off the hook.”
The parents of Engineering senior Jeff Lee are staying at Homewood this Sunday. His parents booked it about a month ago when they heard about the hotel through Lee.
“I know about the hotel since I live down the block and saw them building it,” Lee said. “And my parents chose to book Homewood because it’s new and close to where I live.”
College sophomore Tyler Baldor’s parents are staying on campus to help him move. They booked their room in Homewood five days in advance. They had only heard about the hotel through Tyler, and chose Homewood instead of the Sheraton at 36th and Chestnut streets because it was brand new, close to Tyler’s dorm. In addition, Baldor’s father is part of the Hilton Honors program.
“We’ve very happy with the reception,” Chopp said. “You’d be surprised how many last minute folks are coming in and making reservations.”