Students begin planning for graduation in April, but their parents must book hotel reservations by January. For those parents who did not – may their car seat cushions be comfy.
Over 4,000 students will participate in UCSB’s commencement ceremonies this June. Traditionally, the weekend is highly successful for local hotels due to the large influx of people who come to Santa Barbara for the event.
“For graduation weekend, we were sold out in January,” said Michael Ensign, the general manager of Carpinteria’s Comfort Suites. “Rooms tended to fill up as soon as they were put on sale.”
Even hotels outside the immediate Santa Barbara area sold out earlier in the year. Some families turned to outlying areas as far as Carpinteria, Buellton and Ventura for hotel reservations, Ensign said.
Most hotels in the outlying Santa Barbara area are completely booked for the weekend, although a few still have vacancies for June 14 or16.
The high demand enables the hotels to raise their room rates for the weekend, said Angela Debruyn, a front desk representative for the Santa Barbara/Goleta Holiday Inn. Graduation weekend – along with Memorial Day and Labor Day – is one of the busiest weekends of the year.
While the Doubletree Resort normally allows a 72-hour cancellation period and permits guests to pay at check-in, full payment is required in advance and guests cannot cancel after June 1 for graduation weekend.
Hotels also profit from increased food service sales and banquet hall rentals, Bacara sales manager Sheri Vroedlow said.
“They are renting function space for private dinners. We have reservations in our restaurants that were booked up to two months in advance,” she said. “[Graduation] definitely helps us because we are the closest resort to the university.”