With the addition of two new hotels in north Hastings, city leaders hope to keep more visitors in Hastings to spend money on shopping and dining.
Jeff Hassenstab, superintendent of the Hastings Parks and Recreation Department, said a previous lack of available hotel and motel rooms prevented some visitors for tournaments or larger events from staying in Hastings.
“We were having teams go up to Grand Island because there were no hotels available here,” he said. “If you’re staying in Grand Island, you’re going to spend money in Grand Island. We want people to spend money here.”
Now, city officials hope to keep more people in Hastings with help from the pair of new hotels.
In March 2019, My Place Hotel opened and added 46 rooms in north Hastings. Once the Hampton Inn opens in the spring, it will add another 84 hotel rooms to be available for visitors.
Anjanette Bonham, executive director of the Adams County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said that’s 130 new rooms to keep more visitors in the city, shopping and dining at local stores.
That brings the total number of available hotel and motel rooms to 659. Before that, Hastings had 529 rooms for visitors.
Bonham said she is hoping the increase will benefit the community by making it easier for visitors, whether they are in town for sporting events, bus tours or leisure travel.
“It will allow us to host larger events,” she said. “Slowly adding more hotel rooms to our total will benefit us in the long run.”
The added rooms from My Place Hotel already are being put to good use.
Marina Grass, general manager at the hotel, said My Place has been staying busy since opening last year. They have rooms set up for extended stays with a kitchen in every room, and she said the recent construction in the area has been a boon.
Sporting tournaments during the spring and summer also helped the bottom line, she said.
“We were actually having to turn people away in the summer,” Grass said. “We’re excited about the Hampton coming in because it will give us a place to send people when we’re full.”
Michael Krings, executive director of Hastings Economic Development Corp., said it’s important for a community to have access to adequate hotel space, but business owners have to see the potential for an investment to pay off before deciding where to build.
While the city helped with infrastructure on the new development now sporting two new hotels, he said, the developers made the decision to add hotels to the area, having done their homework as to the benefit of the investment. If there are too many open rooms, the business model may not work.
“The best thing we can do as a community is create the opportunity,” he said. “Our whole job is to create the opportunity for whoever wants to make an investment in the community.”
Krings said more hotel space helps boost the overall economy in Hastings.
“We’re excited about it,” he said. “If there’s one family last year that wanted to stay in Hastings but couldn’t, that’s a missed opportunity.”
And now that developers have decided to bet on Hastings, Krings said it will be up to city leaders to host new events to keep the rooms full.
Hassenstab said that one of the questions he is asked when making bids for state tournaments is about the number of hotel rooms and other amenities the city has to offer. While the city has been successful in previous bids, he said more hotel space will only help in the future.
Looking forward, he said the new hotels should provide adequate space that is convenient for teams, as well as benefit the community.
“I think it will be a couple-year process to see if it will be enough,” he said. “We don’t know how many people we lost to Grand Island. At this point, I think those two new hotels should meet the need.”