Before last year’s Unite the Right rally, commercial interests and activists banded together to keep as many white nationalists as possible out of town. Airbnb corporate canceled rallygoers’ bookings, some Airbnb hosts blocked off the dates on their calendars and local activists started a phone campaign, urging hotels to deny lodging to protesters — and to boycott any hotel that didn’t acquiesce to the pressure.
“It was very, very ugly,” said one front desk clerk, who asked to remain anonymous because she was not authorized to speak for the chain. “We’re a public hotel — we can’t ban anyone. Besides that, we get a first and last name, and that’s it — we don’t know who these people are.”
This year, it appears, no boycott may be necessary. At every hotel surveyed for this story, bookings are either at or below the normal occupancy rate for this time of year.