Local hotel owner Vijay Patel could move forward with hotel projects in Eastern Oregon within the next year or two.
Patel is the president of A-1 Hospitality and owns hotels in Pendleton, Hermiston and the Tri-Cities in Washington. He addressed a full crowd Monday afternoon at the Pendleton Rotary Club. While Patel focused most of his presentation on a Rotary-sponsored trip of Africa he took in 1981, he also took a few moments to discuss hotel projects he has in the works.
Patel said has five projects in development, including a 72-room Best Western in Boardman and a 85-room Holiday Inn for Hermiston. Each also would have two-person suites.
While he has designs for the hotels, Patel said right he's waiting on financing. He said that should come through in the next year or two as the economy strengthens.
Patel also addressed concerns that local hotels raise their rates - sometimes to more than double the usual - during the Pendleton Round-Up. He said it's supply and demand, and when demand is high, rates go up.
Further, he said, this is typical of the hotel business when it comes to big events. For example, he said, room rates in Las Vegas skyrocket for New Year's Eve, when a small room there will go for hundreds of dollars a night for that time of the year. Compared to other significant events, Pendleton's rates are still competitive, he said.
He also said local hotels face a struggle with a year-round occupancy rate around 50 percent. Round-Up, then, helps hotels make enough money to survive the rest of the year, he said.