COEUR d'ALENE - Want a room next weekend?
OK, maybe it's not that bad.
But as an onslaught of competitors and tourists prepare to descend on our region for the biggest events of the year, Hoopfest and Ironman, local hotels are reporting that rooms for next weekend are solidly booked up.
"Obviously it's a large event," Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Christensen said of Ironman.
The triathlon on the 26th should bring in nearly 3,000 athletes to the area, Christensen said. Add to that 9,000 family members and other supporters, and thousands more spectators.
"It's a great opportunity for lodging facilities within the greater Coeur d'Alene and Kootenai County area," Christensen said.
On top of that, Spokane is expecting more than 6,500 athletes from out of town to sweat in the world's largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament on the 25th and 26th.
"It's the biggest sporting event we put on all year," said Dana Haynes, spokesperson for the Spokane Regional Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Hotels are prepared.
The Holiday Inn Express on Seltice Way in Coeur d'Alene starts booking reservations for Ironman 11 months before the event, said general manager Jennifer Peat.
"We immediately see reservations coming in," she said.
On Wednesday, the hotel was nearly sold out for next weekend.
Vacancies always fall to zero by the event's check-in day on the 23rd, Peat said, when some competitors require last-minute lodgings.
Due to the high demand, the hotel has a four-day minimum stay for Ironman weekend, she said.
"Typically Ironman competitors will be here for four days, so it's not really hard to fill the four-night minimum," she said.
Room costs for the weekend are also bumped from the usual $199.99 a night to $299.99, she added.
That includes a nightly dinner, bike washing station, an Ironman gift basket and exclusive use of a local taxi company to travel the town.
"We staff accordingly," Peat said for the weekend. "There are times I can be here from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and turn around and do it again. It's the one time of year everybody is on board."
It's well understood at the Roosevelt Inn Bed and Breakfast that Ironman competitors and their entourage will have booked up the hotel several months before regular tourists start calling, said co-owner John Hough.
"We reserve Ironman only for Ironmen," Hough said.
The hotel has a five-night minimum stay for the weekend, he added, which includes athlete-catered services like two breakfasts, free massages after the race, a pizza feed on event day and free snacks.
The hotel does raise rates for the weekend, Hough added, though he declined to say how much.
"It's fabulous," Hough said of how the event treats the inn. "We love Ironmen guests, they're some of our most enjoyable guests. They're very low key and easy going."
Red Lion Templin's in Post Falls said the hotel's Ironman guests have decreased since the event was rerouted far from their location in 2006, said spokesperson Kelly Gwinn-Duby.
"Everyone wants to be in the center of that," she said.
But the hotel is still booked for the weekend, Gwinn-Duby added, with Ironman participants, other guests and overflow from Hoopfest.
"We get a lot of compression out of Spokane," Gwinn-Duby said of the Hoopfest guests. "They're having record numbers this year with Hoopfest, so our corporate office is referring business to us."
The hotel has a two-night minimum for the weekend, she added.
Waverly Place Bed and Breakfast in Spokane has been booked for Hoopfest for months, said co-owner Marge Arndt.
"I very often have the same people who come every year," she said, adding that she doesn't raise rates because they are so close. "Like this one family, their kids started coming when they were small enough to sleep on a window seat. And now they've graduated from high school."
She usually just sees Hoopfest guests on that weekend, she added, though last year one guest had traveled to watch Ironman.
"Probably because he couldn't find a place to stay in Coeur d'Alene," she said of his lodging choice. "I gave him a to-go bag (for breakfast), because he had to leave real early to watch the start."
The DoubleTree Hotel in Spokane started making reservations for this year's Hoopfest the day after last year's event, said General Manager Mike McLeod.
Rooms were booked up by March.
"It's one of our busiest weekends of the year," he said, adding that rates go up about $75 for the weekend. "Regardless of the economy, this is one weekend that has not seemed to slow down."
Folks are still swapping information on residential rooms for rent next weekend, like on Facebook page Iron Room Coeur d'Alene.
Coeur d'Alene resident Jeff Yates said he hasn't had any response to his Craiglist ad to rent out two bedrooms for $100 to Ironman participants.
He suspects most athletes have their rooms already, he said.
"Most people have their accommodations booked a year ago," Yates said.