New Year's business boom - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

New Year's business boom


MADISON (WKOW) -- Hotel and restaurant managers say there's something about sipping champaign and partying like it's 2009 that draws people downtown -- and creates optimists out of all of us -- at least in the way we spend money.

Hotel managers say they wish business was this good 365 days a year. The Madison Concourse Hotel is booked solid for New Year's. They're expecting 500 people to party all night long.

"We have a great crowd for New Year's," said Stephen Zanoni, general manager. "We have three different parties and a steak and lobster dinner for everybody."

Travelers say not even tough economic times can keep them away from family and friends.

"It was a factor in figuring our what flights we selected, but it was pretty important to get here so we sucked it up and made it happen," said Jeff Davidson, who's visiting from Boston.

Across town, owners of The Brink Lounge hope a live band and wine specials will draw more than 150 people.

"Today's been very busy," said Matt Brink, general manager. "People are finding out now what they want to do. We've gotten 20 - 25 calls already."

In an industry dependent on how much people are willing to splurge, restaurant managers say they're counting on 2009 to be a rebound year.

"The restaurant industry is a precarious one," said Finn Berge, manager of Restaurant Magnus. "I know there will be fall-out over the next year. Hopefully, the independents can work strong together."

Said Brink "It's kind of a chance to start over, make resolutions. I think it's a time to do your best to put the year behind you."

All the establishments we visited mentioned that people are really procrastinating when it comes to making reservations -- but as managers were quick to say -- better late than never.

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