Hotel owners report brisk business in June |

Hotel owners report brisk business in June

Amy Hamilton

“No vacancy” signs may be no good for tourists but they’re a welcome sign of summer for area motel owners.

June’s flurry of conventions and various gatherings in town sent occupancy rates soaring at area lodgings.

Roughly 1,200 to 1,500 visitors stayed in Craig during the first month of summer, said Cathy Vanatta, the executive director at Craig’s Chamber of Commerce.

“Actually, as far I know we haven’t had this many people visit in one month,” Vanatta said, recalling estimates spanning the four years she’s been with the chamber.

At Affordable Inns, a 91 percent average occupancy rate for June was a boon for business, said owner

Jody Holland.

Compared to an 82 percent occupancy rate the previous June, the boost in visitors, she said, is a welcome economic indicator.

“As long as we play our cards right, the motel economy here could be set for a long time,” Holland said.

Craig’s increasingly diverse combination of festivals, conferences and outdoor activities spanning the year are helping to consistently bring in more visitors, she noted. In fact, since the beginning of the year, Holland’s occupancy rates have increased about 10 percent each month, a favorable shift from the normally sluggish winter months.

“There’s been a combination of events that have been bringing people in,” she said. “At times, I’ve been completely booked. As far as I’m concerned that’s a lot of traffic.”

In June, conventions for sheriffs, firefighters, VFW members and miners shared the town with the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous.

Fourth of July guests, outdoor enthusiasts, county fair goers, vacationers and “others who just want to see what Craig is about,” complement the summertime mix, Holland said, while hunters and snow seekers, help fill rooms in autumn and winter.

The influx of visitors aids more than just the local lodging industry, Vanatta said.

For each family of four that stays in town the chamber estimates each member spends the equivalent

of $70 per day.

“When you figure that in, it’s quite a revenue gain for the town,” Vanatta said.

Along with the summertime spike in guests at Affordable Inns, Super 8 Hotel and Taylor St. Bed and Breakfast enjoyed last month’s throng of visitors. Super 8 reported a 75 percent full occupancy rate for June, which is up 15 percent from last year.

Gary Cook, owner of the eight-room B&B estimated a 40 percent increase in guests last month compared to June 2002.

“The difference was it was busy in the middle of the week and not just on the weekends,” Cook said.

Predictions for room occupancies this Fourth of July weekend are varied.

Some area lodgings are already 50 percent full and others are pining for a host of walk-in guests. Most lodging owners agree June’s sales will be hard to top.

“With everything happening at once, it makes a big difference in our sales,” added Trena Everding-VanGrantt, general manager at

Super 8.

Though some motels were booked, the earnest efforts to redirect visitors to the competition’s housing were commendable, she added.

“We shop for people and they remember that,” Everding-VanGrantt said. “That’s one of my favorite things about the motel business here. We communicate, and that can pretty hard to find in a small town.”

Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or by email at

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