Hotels in Tallahassee quickly fill up with FSU fans and evacuees from Hurricane Dorian

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By: Monica Casey | WCTV Eyewitness News
August 30, 2019

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- With Hurricane Dorian imminent and Florida State's home opener scheduled for Saturday, the Capital City will be bustling this weekend.

"A lot of change, but you know we've kind of gotten used to that over the last few years," said Mark Xenophon, the General Manager for the Four Points by Sheraton.

He said it was already a busy weekend for his hotel, with conferences and events scheduled, leaving many rooms unavailable.

"Everyone seems to plan their events around football season as it comes up," said Xenophon.

The Four Points by Sheraton is booked through Saturday night, but is now getting calls for reservations early next week from people planning ahead for Hurricane Dorian.

Xenophon said that's nothing new.

"We typically do whenever the state of emergencies happen, that kind of thing," said Xenophon.

He has seen other major storms during his time as general manager, and is currently implementing internal preparations, involving keeping sandbags on standby.

"Making sure we have the supplies we need to take care of our guests or anyone else who comes for refuge from the storm," he said.

The hotel is also ready for its employees to stay over if needed.

The home opener FSU game will also be an economic windfall for local businesses.

"Across the board from restaurants, hotels, retail, entertainment, everything will see a lift. We would view this kind of as, again because it's the home opener, so there is some excitement, so it is a bigger game," said Visit Tallahassee and Leon County Director of Tourism Kerri Post. "We would anticipate probably an economic impact over the weekend of somewhere in the range of 3 to 5 million, again which we were not anticipating!"

Post said the football game fans would likely be leaving Seminole Country by Sunday, heading home to beat Dorian.

"The big feeder markets for us in a football game are Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Tampa, Orlando, and they're all under some threats of their own so that will impact attendance of this event, and certainly the duration of how long fans will stay. They'll want to get back home."

She does not expect the evacuees and fans to overlap, believing that evacuees would be arriving early next week.

Visit Tallahassee's website has a "Book Your Stay" button, updating hotel room availability and prices in real time.

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