Few rooms for oil boom: More hotels booked in area than rest of stateThink it’s difficult to get a room in Dickinson? Well, it is.
Think it’s difficult to get a room in Dickinson? Well, it is.
People looking for a place to stay overnight have had a hard time finding one because Dickinson has the highest reported occupancy rate in North Dakota, officials said Friday.
“I would suggest whoever is (making reservations), make them as soon as they know what’s going on,” said Nodak Motel manager and owner Scott Martin.
City Administrator Shawn Kessel said a star report, which is a voluntary survey for hotels, revealed that Dickinson had a 90 percent occupancy rate as of November. Minot was second at 89 percent and Bismarck stood at nearly 78 percent.
Grand Forks, Fargo, Jamestown, Rapid City, S.D., Aberdeen, S.D., Pierre, S.D., and Billings, Mont., also submitted reports.
Kessel said Williston did not report numbers in November. Mayor E. Ward Koeser said he thought occupancy rates in Williston were around 95 percent.
“About the only time you can ever get in is once in a while on a weekend night,” Koeser said. “We have people who come here all the time, and even my wife and I end up taking people in because there is just no place to go.”
An oil boom in western North Dakota has made it difficult and expensive when searching for a place to stay, Koeser said.
Koeser said Williston opened three hotels last year and plans to open six more this year. He is doubtful it will help relieve the pressure.
“What happens here — and I assume the same thing will happen if it hasn’t already in Dickinson — is before the hotel has opened, oil companies come in and lease maybe 30 rooms for the next year.”
Kessel said there are plans to open three hotels in Dickinson.
Martin said he has an occupancy rate of 98 percent. Though he is not booked solid, he said he has bookings through October.
Kessel said hotel rates in Dickinson run between $130 to $200 per night when rooms are available. He said it appears to be up $20 from last year at this time.
The Nodak Motel has a starting rate of $55 per night plus tax. While Martin said companies and oil field workers have made offers to rent rooms at high prices, he said he wouldn’t take them.
“There is no room in town worth $150 or $200,” he said.
With hotels being built to meet the demand, Kessel had concerns when enough would be enough.
“The fear that you have in any of these construction projects is that how do you determine when we have hit capacity or have hit the upper limit?” he said. “Can you maintain 17 hotels in town maybe in 15 years or whenever this boom slows down?”
Koeser said when the oil boom is over, Williston will be a prime spot to accommodate tourists. Until that happens, visitors should make their plans well ahead of schedule.