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The Great North Dakota Hotel Rush

NASA satellite photo of sparsely populated North Dakota at night. Before the oil rush, it was black.
NASA 2012 photo of North Dakota lit up at night. Before fracking, ND was dark.

North Dakota is experiencing a hotel boom, along with its great oil rush that started in 2009. As oil workers gather to drill and frack "oil patch," the state will provide for the country's energy needs for decades as well as be now listed as having the country's lowest unemployment rate.

Journalist Alexandra Cooper of Hotel Interactive reports:

The sharp spike in oil production throughout western North Dakota (now producing 600,000 barrels daily, just shy of Texas oil-production) forced hotel developers to move fast to accommodate North Dakota’s sharp population spike. “The first demand was for workers, people who needed to man the rigs,” Ford [Bruce Ford, Senior VP of Sales for Lodging Econometrics] says. “But that was a problem in that North Dakota didn’t have hotels to house short-term people.”

Franchise owners and the brands that license them say they are stepping up their efforts.

Choice Hotel International’s brand, Sleep Inn has also seen great success throughout western North Dakota, says Mike Varner, senior director of brand strategy for the Sleep Inn, MainStay Suites, and Suburban Extended Stay hotel brands. “[Sleep Inn] works equally well when some of the light executives come in town all the way through the oil workers that are here for short to medium periods of time.”

For those staying for an extended period of time, Choice Hotels offers their MainStay property. “For oil workers staying for six-week shifts and longer, there is a great need to prepare their own meals,” Varner says. “It’s important to make it feel like their home away from home.”

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