HUTCHINSON, Kan. — LeAnn Cox with Visit Hutch acknowledges that the Kansas State Fair is a great event for hotels in Hutchinson.
"During the State Fair, because it's a 10-day run over two weekends, the weekends, obviously are always 100% sold out," Cox said. "There are, occasionally, rooms to be had in Hutchinson, on say, Tuesday, Wednesday nights. That has lessened since we lost our largest hotel a few years back, but it's a heavy lift for the hundreds of thousands of people that are in town over those ten days."
When looking at building more hotel capacity, Cox notes that in order for a hotel to be viable and profitable, it needs to be 70% full all the time. Hutchinson, right now, has a chicken and egg problem in that they have trouble drawing the events to get to that minimum without the hotel and convention space to bring in non-sports related events.
"There are different types of events that just happen year after year after year," Cox said. "Some that come to mind for instance, would be national ag events out at the Fairgrounds. We've done a really good job of hosting those in the past. The problem is, oftentimes, groups don't want to return year after year. They want to rotate it around the country. We'll get back in that rotation, but it's a tough challenge to build up to a 70% threshold in a community our size."
The new hotel and convention center to be built near 23rd and Waldron that is going to be a Hilton Garden Inn will help with some of that issue, but it won't be ready for a State Fair crowd until 2025.