2 new WRV hotels worry existing lodging

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HAILEY, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) A new potential hotel in Hailey is worrying some in the area.

Hotels in the Wood River Valley report around a 9 percent decrease in guests compared to this time last year, and with a new hotel on its way in Bellevue, and another proposed in Hailey, hotel owners wonder how much more that number can go down.

"We're having steady growth right now,” said Ryan Allison, the owner of the Wood River Inn, “but we're not seeing a booming growth in Hailey that would say, ‘Hey, it's time to double the size of the hospitality in Hailey.’"

According to Allison, that's exactly what two new hotels will do.

We would see 100 percent room growth in a matter of 12 months, he said.

“That’s a lot for a small town.”

The Wood River Inn isn’t even a full block away from the proposed site for a new Marriott.

“I can see it out the window,” he said. “It’s really close to us.”

He said it's not the competition that bothers him.

"Competition is good, and it will be great for consumers when prices are lower,” Allison said. “But for the city of Hailey, it could be a problem with less tax dollars."

Beyond that, he worries of the change in culture a hotel chain would bring to a small town.

"The potential new hotel that's coming in here, it's a big box,” he said, “and I know there's been a lot of concern from locals that the Home Depots of the world come in here and take out the mom and pops."
That doesn't go unnoticed by others.

"Sun Valley prides itself on being an authentic, down-to-earth, not too chain-heavy valley," said Aly Swindley with Visit Sun Valley.

Swindley said it’s been a while since a new hotel came to the region. Before the Limelight Hotel in Ketchum, she said, it had been decades.
Since it's been so long, she said she’s not sure how two new hotels will impact the others.

For Allison, he can't help but remember what happened the last time there was a new kid on the block.

"When the new hotel came to town, I saw between a 20 and 25 percent reduction in my guests that stayed here,” he said, “and so now we're anticipating if a new property comes to town that all of us will probably see that kind of reduction again."

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