Rates are on the rise, Lovely said. The federal government's per-day allowance for travelers on government business is $77 per night now in Hennessey, set to go to $83 next month, and the current allowance for hotels in Enid, $87 per night, will rise to $103, he said.
Even Jet, OK, is full
In Jet, 35 miles northwest of Enid, the Sand Plains Motel is booked for the foreseeable future, said Donna Keller, who owns and operates the 10-room motel with her husband, Mike, in the community of 214.
She said guests are virtually all oil-and-gas or construction crews, including an electric construction crew from Alabama that has rented a block of rooms for three years as it works in the region for Alfalfa Electric Cooperative in nearby Cherokee. The electric construction company, she said, has even bought houses in the Jet and Nash areas to house crews.
Oklahoma hunters are out of luck for rooms this year, she said, which saddens her. Also left looking are women from across the country who come to Jet annually for the three-day Four Corners Quilting Retreat. Keller said regular attendees can't find rooms anywhere for the event, which is in October.
Keller said the boom started in earnest in 2011. But rather than raise rates to meet the market — as an energy company guest suggested since “the companies are paying” — they remain at $56.25 per night at the Salt Plains Motel, which she said was built “60 or 70” years ago.
No, she said, remembering that “before all this happened, we had the hunters and the quilters,” and it wouldn't seem right to price them out, even though they can't get rooms now because of the rush.
Enid: hotel hub
Back in Enid, Jarrett said demand for rooms is sustained and rooms will be hard to find, especially during the workweek, until new motels and hotels are built. And it's not just because of the energy and energy-related commercial construction boom, she said.
“We've got two major medical facilities that pull people from a couple of hours away. You know, if a family member has a heart attack or needs special treatment, this will be the place you'll bring them, and you'll come with them,” Jarrett said. “And if you're some kind of a sales rep, you'll need a place to stay and do your business in the northwestern part of the state, and so we're available for that.
“And we've got people just traveling through here, heading out to go skiing or heading to go shopping. We're the medical-retail-entertainment hub for not just northwest Oklahoma but on into southwest Kansas.”