Central Oregon Hotels Cash in On Tourism Growth. Positive Occupancy, Busy Seasonal Outlook


(Photo above: The Riverside Hotel. Provided by The Riverhouse Hotel)

Hotels across Central Oregon report a strong 2014 and are excited for a continued trend in 2015. Early indicators suggest that Bend’s tourism industry is on pace to make 2015 the fourth consecutive record year, as Visit Bend estimates over 2.2 million tourists are coming to Bend. While that translates into an economic impact of over $600 million and almost 8,500 tourism-based jobs, it also means hotel rooms and conference centers are booked as well.

“While Oregon’s statewide tourism industry is experiencing success, Bend’s tourism growth is outpacing the statewide average,” says Doug LaPlaca, President/CEO of Visit Bend.

Summer months claim the most bookings, with weddings and vacations bringing visitors to town. Therefore, Visit Bend, as well as many hotels and destination resorts in the area, have targeted winter and the shoulder seasons as an area for growth. In doing so, Visit Bend looks to court group travelers including social, athletic and business groups to fill empty rooms in the spring and fall.

Changes to the hospitality landscape have taken on many forms in the last few years. At the end of 2010, NV Oregon Resorts assumed control of Powell Butte’s Brasada Ranch and has seen an uptick in bookings ever since. Last year alone, they experienced a twenty percent increase in group sales. With their continued growth, they are still on track to build additional meeting space to accommodate businesses booking the ranch for strategy development sessions and as client perks.

Late 2013, the Downtown Bend’s Phoenix Inn converted into a DoubleTree by Hilton. 2014 saw the hotel renovate all of their meeting areas in an effort to retain their local business networking groups. Also in 2014, the new Hampton Inn & Suites in the Old Mill opened its doors.

Closer to Mount Bachelor, the Tetherow Lodges opened over Easter weekend last year. As a lodging partner with Mount Bachelor, their fifty rooms have recorded steady bookings, which, in itself, is impressive considering the lack of snow this winter. Last year’s wedding season was booked out and they are planning the same for 2015. They have scheduled many larger corporate events.

Looking to the future, Tetherow is planning on adding a conference center, pool and vacation four-plex suites (four separate rooms with a shared kitchen) to their campus in 2016 or 2017.

Another change to Bend’s local hotel scene comes from the news that the Purcell family has entered into negotiation to sell The Riverhouse to Vesta Hospitality of Vancouver, Washington. Vesta Hospitality develops and manages hotels throughout the Pacific Northwest. They own seven of them including the Comfort Suites in Redmond. The Purcell family opened The Riverhouse in 1974 and has grown it to 76,700 square feet including a 53,300-square-foot convention center. Vesta Hospitality has no immediate plans to make any changes to staff or services upon receipt of the hotel.


About Author

Bend-based freelance writer Gregg Morris honed his wit in suburban Michigan and his gift for the written word at Michigan State University. When not writing, Gregg can be found riding his bike, earning his turns, or playing guitar alongside his wife and daughter.

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