(Memphis) – Memphis Mayor A C Wharton declared Friday Grizzlies’ Day.
“They reflect the character and personality of this city,” Mayor Wharton said. “It is bringing just so much to our city.”
That includes people.
Memphis is hosting the Grizz games, plus Memphis in May and Paul McCartney this Memorial Day weekend.
“We didn’t even know it was going to be busy here,” Dorris Hand said.
Dorris and her husband Chuck are from California. They found out this weekend hotel rooms are scarce, but they managed to find one across the river in Arkansas.
“They had some opening there so we stayed over there,” Hand said.
Others gave up.
“We called around we tried to get a room. We got on the internet we got on all those different sights and we could not get a room anywhere,” Wally Ried said who is visiting from Australia. “So, we are getting on a train and going to Chicago.”
Even people with a room found out reservations aren’t always guaranteed, like Regena Barker who got bumped from the Westin because they have to make room for the San Antonio Spurs.
“We are extremely, extremely upset that hotel would only notify us two two days before we were supposed to arrive,” she said.
She like so many others found what we found when we tried to find a room, sold out signs on nearly every hotel site.
Even Tunica was booked solid.
The Memphis Convention Visitors Bureau says the city has 8,000 hotel rooms downtown.
In Shelby County there are 23,000 rooms.
They say Memorial Day weekend is traditionally sold out and that’s a good thing.
But tourists like Ried say it’s time for Memphis to build more rooms.
“You’ve got bars, but you need hotels,” he said.