Equestrian Games signs up more hotels

Twelve hotels that can provide 3,000 nights of lodging for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in 2010 have joined the housing bureau set up for the games.

Organizers say at least 15,000 nights of lodging are needed for large groups, competitors and games officials, and they urged hotel operators to sign up during a hospitality update meeting yesterday.

"I have one group that needs 85 rooms for the entire 16 nights," said bureau manager Krista Greathouse of Short's Sports and Event Logistics. Other groups are also in need of rooms.

The bureau acts as a clearinghouse for lodging requests, including many from Europe where the games have been held every four years since 1990.

Guests of member hotels can buy special ticket and lodging packages that include shuttle bus service and other amenities.

In return, Greathouse said, member hotels pay a 15 percent commission on receipts from rooms rented for the games that will be split by Short's and the World Games 2010 Foundation that is organizing the event.

The commission, which helps pay for shuttle buses and other services, is higher than the 12 percent charged to hotels in Aachen, Germany, where the 2006 World Equestrian Games were held, Greathouse said.

Games organizers say every available bus in Central and Eastern Kentucky and in nearby states will be needed to shuttle participants, officials and spectators to the games.

Private vehicles will not be allowed into the Kentucky Horse Park during the games to prevent congestion and security problems. Motorists will be directed to parking lots and shuttled to the park.

Buses used by hotels that are not members of the housing bureau also will be barred from the park. Passengers can be let out in the parking lots where they can catch shuttle buses, Greathouse said.

Interest in the games is building, she said. The bureau has received requests for 38,721 nights of lodging and "more are coming in every day."

Only about five inquiries have come from people who want to rent houses for the games, Greathouse said.

There is "a great demand for tickets," especially from "the hard-core equestrian audience" that attends the games every four years, said Terry Johnson, spokesman for the foundation.

Organizers will begin accepting deposits and reserving tickets later this year, but the actual tickets won't be issued until a year or less before the games, he said. One reason is that some of the facilities haven't been built so seating plans are incomplete.

Reach Jim Jordan at (859) 231-3242 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3242.