For folks who book a rafting tour at the last minute, Tusayan may just be the saving grace for finding lodging.
Tusayan (too-say-yawn) is a town just 7 miles outside of the National Park Boundary to the South Rim. This is where you will find the Grand Canyon airport (flights from Las Vegas only), the IMAX theater and supplemental lodging, if the South Rim lodges are full. (Check lodging availability at the South Rim of Grand Canyon by going to www.grandcanyonlodges.com.) There are plenty of hotels/motels in Tusayan including The Red Feather Lodge, The Best Western Grand Squire Inn, The Grand Hotel, and the Holiday Inn Express.
There is a free shuttle that runs between the South Rim and Tusayan from mid-May to mid-September. The shuttle busses run every 15 minutes from several points in Tusayan for a 20 minute ride into Grand Canyon Village. They run from about 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.. If you need to make it into the South Rim early in the morning for a hike into a raft trip when the shuttles are not running, you will need to call the Xanterra South Rim taxi service at 928-638-2822. This taxi service does not schedule pick-ups; you must call about 15-30 minutes before you are ready to leave.