Des Moines Area Hotels Begin Caucus Preparations but Some Remain Cautious
Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau are moving forward with the Jan. 3 date.
With Monday's declaration by Republican Party of Iowa Chairman Matt Strawn that Iowa's Jan. 3 caucus date is final, political campaigns and county party chairs can start booking their caucus locations.
Not everyone is ready to reserve a ballroom just yet for a presidential victory rally on caucus night.
The Embassy Suites in Des Moines is sold out for caucus night, but other Des Moines hotel representatives said Tuesday that rooms for the expected influx of national media, campaign staffers and supporters is still fluid.
Terry McClane, the Des Moines Marriot Hotel general manager, said they have contracts in place for the presidential campaigns, but most of their clients are taking a wait-and-see approach.
McClane said he watched Strawn say on a television newscast that the date is final.
“In his very last sentence he said, 'Of course this depends on New Hampshire' and that's a definite maybe,” McClane said.
Over at the Renaissance Des Moines Savery Hotel Barbara Eslick, director of sales and marketing, said her staff has begun moving reservations to the new date, but they don't know if it will be for the last time.
“I'm still not confident that it's the final date. I will not feel comfortable until New Hampshire sets their date,” she said.
Cory Adams, Story County Republican chairman, said in an email to Ames Patch that he remembers New Hampshire officials waiting until mid-November to give their date four years ago and Iowa ultimately moved its caucus to Jan. 3, 2008.
Tiffany Tauscheck, Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau vice president for marketing, can't remember which state gave up its date first in 2008. But, the early caucus significantly affected Des Moines businesses, as well as the surrounding area four years ago, she said.
The Visitors Bureau estimated that the January 2008 caucus had a $25 million economic impact on greater Des Moines. The bureau assisted 2,500 members of the media.
This go-around the Democrats don't have a field of candidates running, so there may not be as many people in town, but Tauscheck expects the number of media to be similar to 2008. Some have already began applying for credentials to cover events, but Tauscheck said more requests will come in once the Jan. 3 date approaches.