Eugene-area hotel rates skyrocket for global track event | Company

Jhe world championships in athletics this summer in Oregon22 and the expected 55,000 visitors they will bring to Eugene have already proved to be a goldmine for area hotels. Most are booked at capacity for the July event, although some owners have doubled and tripled the normal rate.

Take, for example, the Best Western New Oregon, popular with track-goers in large part because of its proximity to Hayward Field.

This week, a basic room will set you back around $110 a night, according to hotel officials and its booking site.

During the championships, which run July 15-24, New Oregon is charging $594 per night.

If that’s a bit rich for your blood, you can try the Super 8 in North Springfield, which this week costs between $96 and $116 per night. Hotel officials said there are still vacancies during the July Championships.

At this point, a room will cost you around $395 a night.

The tight hosting market supports what boosters have supported all along – an event of this magnitude is a surefire economic slam dunk. According to economists and consultants, 55,000 visitors are expected to converge on Eugene spending $52 million.

More broadly, Oregon will have 10 days and approximately 2,500 hours of television time to show itself to international audiences.

Travel industry research indicates that every dollar invested in promoting a region in international markets brings in $24.94 in visitor spending. Based on this, Travel Oregon predicts that broadcasting the world championships could result in spending $224 million or more for visitors.

Economic impact studies in pink, usually commissioned by event organizers, are often met with skepticism. The fact that this report is seven years old does not help its credibility.

ECONorthwest, a respected economic consulting firm in Portland, authored the paper in 2015, before the pandemic, before wildfires, heat domes, social unrest, inflation and fears of a recession.

John Tapogna, senior policy director at ECONorthwest, admits that a lot has changed since the report was written. But there’s no denying the impact of the event, as evidenced by rising room rates.

At just eight weeks, the world championships seem on track and on schedule. A contingent of 30 staff and technical experts from World Athletics, the sport’s international governing body, traveled to Oregon two weeks ago for the final visit to the preparation site.

“There’s still a lot to do, but it’s going very well,” World Athletics CEO Jon Ridgeon said.

Other economists argue that for any big numbers, signs of spending and no vacancy will be short-lived. Snapshots of snow-capped mountains and rugged ocean beaches are fleeting.

The championships will “spill a lot of money in the short term into the economy,” said Tim Duy, a University of Oregon professor and state economist. “It’s transitory. In the long run, this will not move the needle.

But there is at least one tangible new asset that will benefit Eugene and Oregon for decades, Duy added. The new Hayward Field, built with private funds from Nike co-founder Phil Knight and others, locked in Eugene’s reputation as one of the world’s sports hotbeds for decades.

“Obviously it’s a feather in the hat for the city,” Duy said.

Governor Kate Brown totally agrees. She was one of the event’s earliest allies and managed to provide the $40 million in state support the organizers needed.

It is common practice for hotels to increase their rates during the busy summer season. But the overpriced price tags have made some local tourism officials uneasy.

“When you get to three to four five times the normal rate, it tends to leave a bad taste in people’s mouths,” said Andy Vobora, vice president of stakeholder relations at Travel Lane County. “We understand that hotels have been through tough times. But you can’t invent everything all at once.

Neither the manager nor the owner of the Best Western New Oregon responded to phone calls. Neither did Super 8 or its parent company officials.

Vorbora pointed out that it’s impossible to know whether either hotel is getting $594 and $394, the prices listed on their booking website. Some hotels were selling blocks of rooms during the world championships months ago, sometimes at discounted prices.

Oregon’s hospitality industry badly needs a big win. Few other industries have suffered from the pandemic like hotels, restaurants and bars.

Organizers expect ticket holders to meet at hotels from Roseburg south all the way north to Portland.

The owners of Mount Tom House, a new 6-bedroom boutique hotel 23 miles north of Eugene, leased the entire building to a corporate group more than a year ago.

“We are booked for the duration,” said Julie Accurso, manager and co-owner of the establishment.

She declined to identify her client except to say it is one of the “brands” involved in the sport.

Accurso said she received frequent calls from others looking for a place to stay during the event. “You can hear a sense of urgency,” she said.

The busy summer activity is a delightful change for Accurso and her husband, Craig Leon. They opened the hostel, located in the scenic Coburg Hills near Harrisburg, in September 2020 as the pandemic raged and the hospitality industry came to a standstill.

Beyond Harrisburg, the impact of the world championships is uncertain.

A year ago, Lisa and Tim Hamor left Los Angeles and bought the Ranch Motel, a modest place located at a truck stop in Rice Hill, about 45 minutes south of Eugene.

Each of the hotel’s 25 units has its own unique A-shaped design. “It’s very vintage,” Lisa Hamor said.

The couple are still waiting for the wave of the world championships to reach the Ranch.

“We don’t know of a giant bump so far,” Lisa Hamor said. “But we are hopeful. We are a way out.

Roseburg, 70 miles south of Eugene, “has availability” during the event, said Dani Raines, media specialist at Experience Roseburg.

The 40-room Riverside Inn in Roseburg has many openings July 15-24, said Jon Bowen, president of Vintage Hotels at Grants Pass, owner of the Riverside Inn. “We haven’t heard from any of our guests that they are here for the world championships.”

The Best Western Corvallis also has abundant availability during championships. Devin Burris, who works at the 50-room hotel, said he expects them all to be booked as the championships approach.

“We’re pretty open right now,” he said. “But that will change.”

The lure of big paydays has convinced some newbies to try their hand at the landlord business. Residents place their homes, guest rooms and outbuildings on short-term vacation rental sites. Some even offer their RVs. Sleep in a 31ft RV in the owners driveway for $275 a night.

Vacasa, the Portland-based short-term rental and property management company, said searches on its website for homes in Eugene July 14-24 are up 209% this year compared to 2021.

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