CASPER, Wyoming — Fans of former President Donald Trump arriving in Casper at the Ford Wyoming Center this weekend will likely struggle to find nearby lodging.
“Our busy season definitely kicked off last week with the state track,” Visit Casper spokeswoman Tia Troy said, “and I would say going forward we’re going to continue to see a lot of visitors come to Casper and Natrona County.”
Karin East, who is regional sales manager for Regency Hotel Management, said the Casper hotel market was showing signs of strength long before Team Trump announced the rally. His group operates the Ramkota in Casper and other regional markets.
East said the corporate and convention sectors that were basically wiped out during the pandemic in 2020 have rebounded strongly.
“The convention group is coming back, the numbers are really strong and business travel is starting to pick up but is lagging,” she said.
She said passing trips, however, are very strong. “That’s been pretty much true for a while, maybe since January,” she said.
“We have a football tournament this week in Casper and we’re sold out,” she said. “Not with the attendees or Trump’s graduation, but with the football teams.”
Ford Wyoming Center staff expect more than 10,000 people to attend the rally, which is taking place over the busy Memorial Day weekend. The Trump team says 20,000. The number of those from out of town is unknown.
“We’re pretty full this weekend,” Taylor Crnich told Casper’s Residence Inn by Marriott, adding that reservations were piling up weeks before the rally was announced. They currently have no room availability for Saturday, she said.
“We’ve been fully booked since the beginning of the month,” said a Hampton Inn receptionist who declined to be named. In their case, a wedding party was the main driver.
“We’ve heard that our hotels are approaching capacity, that’s for sure,” Troy said. She added that Visit Casper has been coordinating with hotels in the county and nearby towns to help people come to town this weekend.
Troy also suggested travelers struggling to find rooms look to nearby vacation rentals or even campgrounds.
“It’s going to stay busy,” she said. “Casper will stay busy for the rest of the summer.
“Tourism plays such a vital role in the local economy,” she added, “so it will be a fantastic boost for these Casper businesses to have such a busy kick-off to the summer season. .”