San Angelo Hoteliers Provide Holiday Booking Tips During Oil Boom
As the temperatures cool and the stores fill with pumpkins, cornucopia and Christmas décor, thoughts can’t help but turn to the holidays.
Familiar scents, warm colors and falling leaves bring in the holiday bustle, and people are starting to make plans for the coming season.
For many, the late November and December months are time traditionally spent with family, and as the relatives start to travel to be with their loved ones, finding adequate space could prove to be a problem if put off.
The San Angelo surroundings are seeing a boom. And whether we want to admit it or not, finding a place to stay within the city limits is not as easy as it used to be. Several local hotels are extended-stay, and many have been running at full capacity for months due to oil company bookings.
The San Angelo Chamber of Commerce expects a measure of the occupancy to dissipate as workers travel home to visit their families, but hoteliers are sending mixed signals to those who might be planning to come home for the holidays.
So, should you book now or wait it out? Here's what some local hotels have to say.
“It’s usually a slow time of the year. People stay at home on Christmas and Thanksgiving; they don’t travel too much,” says Velma Anthony at Econolodge, adding that online bookings come in often and unpredictably. “No matter what, I would book in advance,” she said.
Another local hotel suggests that the oil boom might be a bit bigger cause of concern for those seeking space than anticipated.
“Right now, we have been booking some for the holidays, and I will say that with the oil field the way it is, I would suggest that if people know that they are going to be coming, to book immediately,” said Lisa Carlisle of Comfort Suites. “Some book up to three months in advance. Right now, we’re at 100 percent [occupancy].”
Carlisle added that Comfort Suites has been at 100 percent occupancy for the past three months, and since then the trend hasn’t shown any signs of slowing.
Similarly, Sean, whose last name was not provided, says that he advises people to book well in advance at the San Angelo Microtel location as well. Currently, the hotel has plenty of space for the holidays, but they too book oil companies, and those often show up unannounced.
“I would [book in advance],” Sean said. “Especially with the oil boom that’s going on. These companies just show up and book…My suggestion is, if you think that you’re going to be here, to go ahead and book it and just make the cancellation if that changes.”
Microtel is one of the few hotels that have an extremely generous cancellation policy, allowing travelers to book as far in advance as they wish and cancel free of charge.
Front desk clerks at Super 8, Staybridge and Best Western all stated much the same: While there are currently not many bookings for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s tend to be a bit busier and most hotels have been running at full or near-full occupancy.
The vast majority of hotels in San Angelo book to the oil companies, and some of those extended-stay. The general consensus seems to be that the oil boom should not be underestimated and that advance booking is advised.
As to how far in advance, it depends on the particular hotel. Some stay busier than others, and at a minimum, desk clerks suggest booking one month to six weeks before arrival.
And as Sean at Microtel suggested, it may be advisable to go ahead and book a room to be on the safe side, and cancel if plans change as the holidays near. No one wants to be stuck on Aunt Wilma’s couch next to the cat box.