Temp workers helped fill hotels in 2005

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An influx of pipeline and power plant workers helped produce a banner year in 2005 for local hotels and the Moffat County Tourism Association.

The 1.9 percent lodging tax on local hotel and motel rooms in 2005 added as much as $90,662 in revenue for the association.

The $90,000 brought in last year was more than the association has ever collected from the tax.

In 2004, the association brought in $88,255.

Tammie Thompson-Boo--ker, a tourism association board member, said last year's success was the result of pipeline and power plant workers filling local hotel rooms.

Two pipeline projects brought about 1,000 workers to Craig last fall and another 300 were here repairing the Craig Station Power Plant.

"In September, October and November, it was virtually impossible to get a room in Craig," said Thompson-Booker, who also is the director of sales at the Holiday Inn of Craig.

Although 2005 was a record year for local hotels and the tourism association, hotels weren't as busy in 2005 as some people expected, Thompson-Booker said.

The year started off slow, and sales didn't pick up until workers started coming to town later in the year, she said.

At the Trav-O-Tel Motel, 224 E. Victory Way, owner Judy Samer said revenues hinged heavily on temporary workers in 2005.

The first half of the year was the worst six-month stretch in the motel's history, Samer said.

"We were pretty nervous," she said.

But the second half of 2005 was the busiest stretch ever for the motel.

Thompson-Booker said 2005 was a better year in some ways than the lodging-tax numbers indicate.

Guests aren't charged a lodging tax after their 30th night at a hotel, she said. Plus, government employees and employees of nonprofits are tax-exempt.

Although there aren't any major projects such as the pipeline and power plant repairs planned for 2006, Thompson-Booker said she expects this year to be a good one as well.

The year is starting off better than 2005, and Thompson-Booker said she expects the completed pipelines to bring more workers to town for oil and gas exploration work.

At the Super 8 Motel of Craig, 200 Colorado Highway 13, manager Trena Everding-VanGrandt said she expects 2006 to be a good year, too.

There are still a few pipeline workers at the hotel, she said, and she expects more to come later in the year.

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