CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As thousands of Boy Scouts pack their bags for the National Scout Jamboree next week, Beckley and Fayetteville hotels are preparing for a flood of visitors. Although several still appeared to have rooms available on Tuesday, many plan to raise prices and hire extra staff to handle the influx.Most hotels are booked at about the same level as previous years, hotel managers said. Most hotels expect occupancies that range from about 50 percent to 85 percent.Holiday Lodge Hotel and Conference Center rooms are currently 85 percent booked, said Brandon Cook, general manager of Holiday Lodge. Those figures are particularly high for the middle of the week, Cook said. He has come to expect equally high occupancy only on the weekends. Hotel managers noted that occupancy would only increase as more visitors arrive next week.Rooms at the Quality Inn in Beckley are already 50 percent booked during the Jamboree, but Stephanie Pettrey, the hotel's general manager, expects that figure to rise to 75 percent as people arrive next week.They have already noticed a sizeable increase in the number of rooms reserved early."We usually are busy through the summer, but we're not usually booked up so far in advance," said Debbie Leggett, manager of the Super 8 motel in Beckley.Leggett still thinks the Super 8 will have available rooms throughout the Jamboree. Cook said most hotels still have plenty of open rooms.
Shelia Warren, general manager of the Howard Johnson Express Inn in Beckley, was not so optimistic."I predict everyone will be sold out," Warren said. She expects her hotel to be completely booked through next week and suspects that visitors will have to travel as far as three hours away to find an available room.Travelers without reservations may have a particularly hard time finding a room, Warren said.She encouraged people to book rooms immediately. "If they don't book now, there won't be room for them," Warren said.Prices may also rise should visitors wait to book a room.
The nightly rates at the Super 8 have been raised by almost $40, and a room there now costs about $139, Leggett said.But she said those increased rates are not unusual. "If there's a holiday or special event, the rates do go up," Leggett said.
The average rate has also increased at the Quality Inn. The cost for one night has risen $10 dollars to $129, but Pettrey attributes that increase to the improved state of the economy as compared to last year.All the hotel managers noted that prices fluctuate on a day-to-day basis. By next week, they could be even higher.Should her hotel have only a few rooms left, Warren said, prices could very well skyrocket. "It's supply and demand," she said.Cook said that the Holiday Lodge team has worked hard to plan for increased occupancy."There's been a lot of planning that's gone into this July," he said. "We've had a lot of meetings with the supervisors."Hotels across the area have stocked more food, towels, linens, and arranged special events for the visitors.
Holiday Lodge has hired more staff. Quality Inn has already stocked up on cases of food. Pettrey said that the hotel might struggle to get shipments of food as the roads around Beckley may become clogged from Jamboree traffic. Leggett has arranged special shuttles back and forth from the Jamboree site.Otherwise, Warren said that she would simply carry on her usual tasks and cater to the needs of the visitors."It's business as usual," she said.Reach Laura Reston at firstname.lastname@example.org