There is still time to book a hotel room for President Barack Obama's second inauguration on Jan. 21, the Associated Press reports.
With second inaugurations tending to draw fewer onlookers, it won't be quite as taxing to find a place to stay as in 2009, when people flocked to the nation's capital to witness the inauguration of America's first black president. Because of the shortage of hotel rooms, some spectators rented rooms in private homes.
City officials are expecting 600,000 to 800,000 visitors for the Jan. 21 inauguration, far less than the 1.8 million people who flooded the National Mall four years ago to witness the inauguration of America's first black president. Back then, some hotels sold out months in advance and city residents rented out their homes for hundreds of dollars a night. This time, hotels say they're filling up more slowly, with rooms still available and prices at or slightly below where they were four years ago.
"Very few hotels are actually sold out at this point, so there's a lot of availability," said Elliott Ferguson, CEO of the tourism bureau Destination DC, who added that he expected demand to pick up after Christmas.
In 2009, hotel occupancy in the city for the night before the inauguration was 98 percent, and visitors paid an average daily rate of more than $600 that night, according to STR, a company that tracks hotel data. This time, some hotels still have half their rooms available.
As a result, some establishments have relaxed minimum stays from four nights to three and could drop prices closer to the inauguration if demand does not increase.
Read more at the Associated Press.