When occupancy rates drop, hotels try new ways to be able to attract guests. One option for hotels is to change their advertising strategies to attract customers from new markets. Some hotels turn to renovations when it is financially practical. Adding a pool bar to the hotel amenities will allow guests to enjoy their favourite beverages while soaking in a pool.
Fewer Canadians are now crossing the border to North Dakota that is why hotel revenue rates and lodging tax revenues in Grand Forks are suffering. The hospitality industry is making the effort to attract guests but it seems that nothing will attract them.
There is no actual count on the number of Canadian visitors that book hotel rooms in Grand Forks but over the last five years, occupancy rates have fallen down drastically from an average of 71.1% in 2012 to 51.7% last year. According to the Grand Forks’ Convention and Visitors Bureau, occupancy rate in March was only 47.7% up by about 3% from the same period last year but it still down from the 61.3% in March 2013.
Hotels strive to keep their occupancy rates at more than 60% but it is challenging times for the hospitality industry in Grand Forks in spite of promotions and additional offerings to attract guests. Authorities in the hospitality industry claim that the decline can be attributed to the weakening Canadian dollar. The last time that the Canadian dollar was stronger than the US dollar was in September 2012. Last Friday, the Canadian dollar was only worth 73 cents.
Nobody can predict when the Canadian dollar will regain its strength but Grand Forks has to keep on promoting. Another contributing factor is the downturn in oil production in western North Dakota. During the oil production boom, hotel rooms were in short supply and builders saw the need to construct more hotels.
On the other side of the world, hotel occupancy rates have never been better. In Thailand, pool bar in Patong is attracting a lot of tourists because they want to experience relaxing by the poolside while drinking their choice of beverage. The beer festival allows guests to buy 1 beer and get one more for free.