Tulalip hotel aims for top-tier customers, conventions

TULALIP — The Tulalip hotel aims to attract new tourists to Snohomish County, instead of luring away guests from other local inns.

That’s been the message of the hotel’s management, even before they opened the doors this summer.

After all, the hotel is consciously aimed at a high-end crowd willing to pay the highest room rates in the county.

“It’s certainly going to complement what’s already happening here and going to add a new layer to what we have to offer,” said Caldie Rogers, president of the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce.

Amy Spain, executive director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau, said the top-tier property could help the county attract more conventions, which in turn could help other hotels and motels in the area. For example, the hotel will be official host of about 300 Skate America participants and officials when that pre-Olympics event comes to Everett this fall.

The hotel’s debut during the peak summer season was well-timed. In its first month or so, an average of more than 80 percent of the Tulalip hotel’s rooms were occupied, said Brett Magnan, the resort’s vice president.

“We’re got reservations now into ‘09 and beyond,” he added.

The hotel’s guest numbers seems to be better than the countywide hospitality business. During June, 72 percent of the rooms across the county were occupied, according to Smith Travel Research Inc.

Rosy predictions about the new hotel’s effect on the local tourism market contrast with worries that popped up when the Tulalip Tribes first announced plans to open a large hotel. Operators of existing inns wondered how all of the county’s rooms could ever fill, especially after past experiences.

A building boom in the late 1990s, followed by a decline in tourism in the early part of this decade, left many Snohomish County inns scrambling for business.

When the tide turned in 2005, however, local hotels began setting occupancy records even as they raised their room rates.

Last year, nearly three-fourths of the county’s rooms were occupied on average, one of the highest rates in the state of Washington. It also was a huge improvement on the 54 percent occupancy rate recorded countywide in 2003, despite the fact that the county had more hotel rooms to fill up last year.

That trend, and the Tulalip Resort Casino’s goal of attracting guests who previously might have stayed only in downtown Seattle on trips to this region, gives tourism officials hope that the new hotel expands the local tourism market, instead of just dividing up the existing business. And there is some evidence to suggest that’s happening.

Magnan said the hotel is aggressively marketing itself to convention groups and has received generally positive responses. The hotel also is attracting many guests from Canada every weekend.

Marco Baumann, the hotel’s general manager, added that the hotel has gotten more business than it expected from “walk-up” traffic — typically, guests who spot the hotel while driving down I-5.

Assuming the hotel succeeds, the Tulalips are ready. Magnan said preliminary plans exist for expanding the hotel.

“We’ve already done a lot of the infrastructure for a second tower in case we decide to do it,” he said.

Reporter Eric Fetters: 425-339-3453 or fetters@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Herald Business Journal

Members of Gravitics' team and U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen stand in front of a mockup of a space module interior on Thursday, August 17, 2023 at Gravitics' Marysville facility. Left to right: Mark Tiner, government affairs representative; Jiral Shah, business development; U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen; Mike DeRosa, marketing; Scott Macklin, lead engineer. (Gravitics.)
Marysville startup prepares for space — the financial frontier

Gravitics is building space station module prototypes to one day house space travelers and researchers.

Orca Mobility designer Mike Lowell, left, and CEO Bill Messing at their office on Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2023 in Granite Falls, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Could a Granite Falls startup’s three-wheeler revolutionize delivery?

Orca Mobility’s battery-powered, three-wheel truck is built on a motorcycle frame. Now, they aim to make it self-driving.

Catherine Robinweiler leads the class during a lab session at Edmonds College on April 29, 2021. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Grant aids apprenticeship program in Mukilteo and elsewhere

A $5.6 million U.S. Department of Labor grant will boost apprenticeships for special education teachers and nurses.

Peoples Bank is placing piggy banks with $30 around Washington starting Aug. 1.
(Peoples Bank)
Peoples Bank grant program seeks proposals from nonprofits

Peoples Bank offers up to $35,000 in Impact Grants aimed at helping communities. Applications due Sept. 15.

Workers build the first all-electric commuter plane, the Eviation Alice, at Eviation's plant on Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021 in Arlington, Washington.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Arlington’s Eviation selects Seattle firm to configure production plane

TLG Aerospace chosen to configure Eviation Aircraft’s all-electric commuter plane for mass production.

Jim Simpson leans on Blue Ray III, one of his designs, in his shop on Friday, August 25, 2023, in Clinton, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Whidbey Island master mechanic building dream car from “Speed Racer”

Jim Simpson, 68, of Clinton, is using his knowledge of sports cars to assemble his own Mach Five.

Inside the new Boeing 737 simulator at Simulation Flight in Mukilteo, Washington on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
New Boeing 737 simulator takes ‘flight’ in Mukilteo

Pilots can test their flying skills or up their game at Simulation Flight in Mukilteo.

An Amazon worker transfers and organizes items at the new PAE2 Amazon Fulfillment Center on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Arlington, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Amazon cuts ribbon on colossal $355M fulfillment center in Arlington

At 2.8 million square feet, the facility is the largest of its kind in Washington. It can hold 40 million “units” of inventory.

A computer rendering of the North Creek Commerce Center industrial park in development at 18712 Bothell-Everett Highway. (Kidder Mathews)
Developer breaks ground on new Bothell industrial park

The North Creek Commerce Center on Bothell Everett Highway will provide warehouse and office space in three buildings.

Dan Bates / The Herald
Funko president, Brian Mariotti is excited about the growth that has led his company to need a 62,000 square foot facility in Lynnwood.
Photo Taken: 102312
Former Funko CEO resigns from the Everett company

Brian Mariotti resigned Sept. 1, six weeks after announcing he was taking a six-month sabbatical from the company.

Cash is used for a purchase at Molly Moon's Ice Cream in Edmonds, Washington on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Paper or plastic? Snohomish County may require businesses to take cash

County Council member Nate Nehring proposed an ordinance to ban cashless sales under $200. He hopes cities will follow suit.

A crowd begins to form before a large reception for the opening of Fisherman Jack’s at the Port of Everett on Wednesday, August 30, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Seafood with a view: Fisherman Jack’s opens at Port of Everett

“The port is booming!” The new restaurant is the first to open on “restaurant row” at the port’s Waterfront Place.