Have Olympic tickets, will have lodgings It's official: The Travel Network offers one-stop service for the estimated 2 million visitors to the Games.

October 22, 1995|By Syd Kearney | Syd Kearney,HOUSTON CHRONICLE

You hurdled the paperwork, pummeled your piggy bank, and now you are a winner. You've got tickets to the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Now comes Round 2 in the quest for a golden vacation: securing lodging.

Nearly 90 percent of the 326,000 people who submitted ticket requests before the initial June 30 deadline learned last week that they have confirmed seats, according to the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

If your tickets were confirmed, you soon will receive a package from the Olympic Games Travel Network managed by WorldTravel Partners, the official travel services of the Atlanta Games, scheduled July 19 through Aug. 4, 1996.

The Travel Network is offering one-stop service for the estimated 2 million Olympics visitors. It will book flights, find lodging, arrange car rental or secure seating on a shuttle between lodgings and competition sites. Parking is even available on a Travel Network lot.

Travel Network has secured its accommodations through the ACOG and Private Housing 1996, the Games' only sanctioned housing coordinator. About 43,000 rooms, including private houses, apartments, condominiums, hotels and inns, are available.

But the Olympics-sanctioned Travel Network isn't the only option. Several other companies are offering their services.

The most ambitious is Creative Travel Services, which is targeting the upscale visitor or group.

The Atlanta-based company even offers an Internet site, so potential guests may "tour" its accommodations, many of which have amenities such as swimming pools and golf-course access.

You don't need a map if you go with Housing the World -- Atlanta 1996. This Atlanta company is matching Olympics visitors with homeowners for bed-and-breakfast accommodations that come with a personal guide. Hosts act as drivers between 9 a.m. and midnight. After eating a complimentary breakfast, just hand your host your itinerary, and you're off. Maid and laundry services are included.

Housing the World also will rent an entire house to families. Transportation isn't provided, but a survey by WorldTravel Partners indicates that 73 percent of Olympics visitors will travel to Atlanta by car. The survey also finds that the average length of stay will be 6.1 nights.

That brings up lodging rules. Some individuals are complaining that they can't secure just one or two nights' lodging. The Olympics, like other big-spectator events including the Super Bowl and New Orleans' Mardi Gras, requires minimum stays.

The Travel Network is renting hotel rooms in blocks of three, six and nine nights. A house, apartment or condominium is leased for six, 12 or 18 nights.

Creative Travel Services currently is booking lodging for a minimum of seven days, but a representative says shorter stays may become available in the future. Ninety percent of Housing the World customers are asking for a minimum seven-day stay.

What is all this going to cost? The Georgia Legislature passed a law in 1994 to stem hotel price gouging, creating formulas for determining room rates. But no such ceilings exist for private residences, which account for 60 percent of available Olympics housing. Expect a home stay to cost about the same as (or slightly more than) a stay in a hotel suite.

The most important factor affecting cost will be location. The closer to downtown Atlanta (and the main Olympic Village), the higher the price.

The Travel Network is using zones, as well as type of accommodations, to determine its price structure. Zone 1 is the priciest and includes lodging up to 45 miles from downtown Atlanta. Zone 2 extends 80 miles from downtown. Zone 3 extends for 140 miles. And Zone 4, the most economical zone, includes lodging as far away as 250 miles.

Travel Network packages that include lodging in Zone 1, round-trip airline tickets and a rental car for six nights range from $3,430 to $6,440 for two people.

If only accommodations are needed, Travel Network can put you in a Zone 1 hotel with rates ranging from $81 to $148 per night.

Creative Travel Services' packages are priced according to home value and services provided. Its top package includes a live-in housekeeper, personal chef and butler. You and a companion can have all that and a "superior" home for $970 per day.

If you go . . .

Here are some companies and agencies to call about lodging for the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Private Housing 1996 is the sanctioned coordinator of private housing for the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Call (404) 455-0081.

The Travel Network, managed by WorldTravel Partners and sanctioned by the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, is coordinating lodging and other travel services. Currently it is offering its services exclusively to confirmed Olympics ticket holders. After Nov. 10, anyone can make plans through the network. Call (404) 257-2712.

Creative Travel Services is offering lodging, transportation and more. Call (404) 603-9333. It also offers "tours" of its Olympic accommodations on the World Wide Web at http://www.com-stock.com/cts.

Housing the World -- Atlanta 1996 is offering bed-and-breakfast accommodations with personal drivers, as well as private houses. Call (770) 495-9696.

Other B&B coordinators:

Bed & Breakfast Atlanta -- (800) 967-3224.

RSVP G.R.I.T.S. -- (800) 823-7787.

B6 Georgia Bed & Breakfast Council -- (404) 873-4482.

Other sources:

Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau -- (800) 285-8687.

Georgia Department of Tourism -- (800) 847-4842.

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