Recession Not Hurting Tourism — Much

Back in May, UGN’s Mike Stark brought you a series of stories on the effects of the recession on U.P. tourism.

It was the very beginning of the season then, so the best that people could come up with was a rough guess.

The rough guess was that this year’s especially tough times weren’t likely to put a dent in business compared to 2008.

And at least some area motels are seeing it play out.

The Quartz Mountain Inn in Negaunee has noticeably less business now than it had 2 years ago.

Co-owner Nola McConaha knows of many other motels in the area seeing the same thing happen to them.

But the drop didn’t come this year.

It happened last year, when gas prices in the Marquette area reached $4.25 a gallon at one point.

She says reservations are exactly what they were last year.

But that amount is down about 10% from 2007 levels.

The inn recently joined forced with the travel websites Travelocity, Orbitz and Priceline.

The savings customers get by making reservations online are great for the customers.

They’re not so great for the people who own the motel.

Because less money is coming in per rental, they have to cut costs somehow.

She says she’s been asking herself constantly what amenities she can afford to give up, and she hopes the volume of people who make reservations online through those sites makes up for lower prices.

But the alternative to lower prices — and less income on each rental — is to have those rooms go empty.

So, although the idea is difficult to digest, she says it’s much easier to swallow when she thinks about it that way.