Hotel Prices Down, Vacancies Up in Dickinson

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Even with an uptick in oil prices, hotel  occupancy rates and prices are still on somewhat of  a downward trend.


Many hotels a few years ago in Western North Dakota saw occupancy rates as high 90 percent, now a lot has changed.


The state of North Dakota saw unprecedented growth, as a result of the oil boom.


With large numbers of people flocking to the state, the hotel market began to fill up fast.


“It was too fast,” Terri Thiel, Executive Director at Dickinson’s Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, said. “It was so fast. So, no we had never seen it before.”


For most parts of the state, hotels saw occupancy rates as high as 90 percent, with hotel rooms going for nearly 200 bucks.


That has since changed.


In the Dickinson hotel market, occupancy rates are at about 50 percent and room prices dropped as well.


““We’re going back to the backside of this,” Thiel said. “We’re going back down on rates, we’re going back down on occupancy, and so we’re back to trying to figure out a new norm for now.”


Laquinta Inn and Suites, at the height of the oil boom, a standard room like this one would cost someone more than 150 dollars a night. The price now is half of what it was two years ago.


“A 180 degree change from two years ago,” Darren Bleth, the General Manager for Laquinta Inn and Suites, said. “Where high occupancy, high rates to lower occupancy, lower rates, and overall in a lot lower revenue.”


General Manager for Laquinta Inn and Suites Darren Bleth says hotels are now competing for the same guest, something they didn’t have to worry about years ago.


“Discounts more applicable more willing to negotiate extended stay, group, sports teams. Basically, along with the housing industry, it’s more of a buyers’ market than it is a sellers’ market at this point,” Bleth said. “You are really in the driver’s seat if you are a customer or a guest for that matter.”


Bleth says with an increase in oil prices, there’s optimism within the industry to hopefully see an uptick in rates.


Laquinta Inn and Suites was at 70-80 percent occupancy rates in the summer, as a result of a good number of leisure travelers. He says now winter has arrived that has since fallen about 20 percent.


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