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Bend hotels find ways to bring in locals during the slower tourist seasons

(Update: adding video, comments from Bend hotels)

BEND, Ore. . (KTVZ) -- Presidents Day weekend often brings many tourists to Bend. According to Visit Bend, hotel occupancy rates are usually 10-15 percent higher than the rest of the month.

"For the first half of the weekend, hotel occupancy hovered around 64%, which is 13% off from last year," Visit Bend Vice President for Marketing & Communications Nath Wyeth said Thursday.

They believe the decline was due to snowy weather and road conditions.

"The weather definitely made an impact, whether it was icy or no snow on the mountain. So nothing to bring guests to Bend for the tourism." said Debra Jolma, Waypoint Hotel's director of sales & marketing.

The weather issue was similar back in January, during Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday weekend.

"That ice storm definitely took its toll on occupancy, because people weren’t able to get over the mountains." said Campfire Hotel Sales and Event Coordinator Wendy Smith. "It just slowed down tremendously then, but we have just had an uptick ever since.”

Even with the recent downturn, Campfire Hotel says their partnership with Mt. Bachelor for employee housing has kept them busy. Employees at the resort are able to rent a room at a reduced rate.

"We're up probably 23% year over year for this, coming this far in the year." Smith said.

Weekly events at the hotel are also bringing in tourists and locals.

"We've got our day on Thursday nights, where people can come down to the pool and a big blowup screenm and they just come down and chill in the 100-degree pool." Smith said. "The canteen also keeps very busy with the DJs that they have Friday, Saturday nights as well as karaoke on Sundays."

Campfire Hotel says anyone can get a pool pass for $20.

Down the street, Waypoint Hotel is also focusing on bringing in more local guests and visitors.

"Different things that we do to keep business moving is in our parking lot right now. We have the big monster truck, so we want people to come to the hotel and check us out," Jolma said.

It's a promotion for the Monster Truck Nitro Tour coming to the Deschutes County Fairgrounds this weekend.

You can also find the Mid City Smashburger food truck in Waypoint's parking lot.

"People are been coming into the hotel. They're sitting (near) the fire, have their burgers. They can sit outside of the fire pits out there, grab a beer that we have behind the front desk," Jolma said.

Spring break traditionally provides local hotels with another boost in business, but managers say weather will again play a role in hotel occupancy.

Article Topic Follows: Business

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Jillian Fortner

Jillian Fortner is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Jillian here.


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