Summer helps Dickinson hotels fill up, but rates still lagging

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DICKINSON, N.D. - Tourists visiting Medora or the Theodore Roosevelt National Park have helped Dickinson hotels fill up.

"In June, we saw a wonderful upturn.We went from about 40 percent to 70 percent in one month which was amazing," says Katie Culver, Hampton Inn and Suites General Manager.

But hotels are still falling behind.

The year-to-date occupancy rate is 12 percent lower than last year's.

And empty rooms mean cheaper prices.

'We were starting at $169, $179 a night, where as now we're starting closer to $124, $129," says Culver.

And with winter quickly approaching, hotels around Dickinson are figuring out ways to fill rooms.

La Quinta General Manager Darren Bleth says they rely more on third party travel agencies and websites.

"We're still using those channels that we always have been since day one. I think we're relying upon them a little bit more than we did in the past just because we are being more competitive as far as prices. Willing to be more flexible as far as negotiations, as far as group rates," says Bleth.

The Dickinson Convention and Visitors Bureau is trying to attract different kinds of visitors during the off season.

"Shoulder seasons, we rely more on the meetings, a lot of the sporting events that come in too. So we work hard at that, trying to people in for those type of things. So it's just not the leisure. We're not going to count just on the leisure season," says Terri Thiel, Dickinson CVB Executive Director.

Thiel says they've also been using social media to promote deals and packages year-round.