Why so few Hotels at parks

Let me start with my point of reference. Every year I go to kings Dominion and I usually get a room right near by. There is a Best Western that's literally at the edge of the parking lot and a number of hotels have popped up right across the street (a long walk but definitely doable!)

There is something completely wonderful at midday, when the sun gets to be too much or you need to regroup to head to the privacy of your room, relax in the AC, pop into the pool, then head back into the park. If I had to drive to any of these hotels I likely just wouldn't do it. The upside to KD is I usually stay an extra day (or at least morning) and I have a better overall experience.

Now we all know the Disney's and Universals have jumped on this, the point has their's but it seem to me that the more seasonal parks seem adverse to hotels and I can't figure out why. You really get the sense that KD would like the best western to go away, you have to hop barriers and there is no pathway to the hotel.

In the case of KD, since there are hotels popping up as close as possible to the park the economics must be there. But anyone have some ideas why the parks would seemingly discourage hotels in walking distance (or heck, build one themselves and market the heck out of it)

Last edited by robsvacation,

My guess is that KD is right off I-95 so it can support hotels year round. Parks not near anything else like Great Adventure for example doesn't really have anything else near by so they could only be open when the park is open so may not be able to make enough money versus a year round hotel.

Also, few parks probably have the resources to construct and manage hotels themselves. They have enough things to worry about without adding lodging to the plate.

Agreed with RGB. But wow, SFGAm has a ton of hotels within walking distance. You would think they would build one of there own, but they also have alot of deals between them. I know that SFGAm has deals with at least a few of them.

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Chitown said:
Agreed with RGB. But wow, SFGAm has a ton of hotels within walking distance. You would think they would build one of there own, but they also have alot of deals between them. I know that SFGAm has deals with at least a few of them.

Heck they even have a marketing partnership with Key Lime Cove. I know we're talking indoor waterpark vs. outdoor (Hurricane Harbor) but I guess they figured it was an advantage to work with them (Key Lime Cove) rather than against them. The hotel rooms that are walking distance aren't cheap but it's sure convenient.

Last edited by Brad G,

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Its an interesting scenario. PKD and PKI had hotels built (with camping) when they opened. Conneaut Lake Park and Cedar Point sort of focused on filling the hotel (and camping), and the rides kind of grew on their own, and all complimented each other.

Hotel Hershey was built after Hersheypark opened, but before HP got 'big'. Knott's, under CF, bought the neighboring hotel, and Morey's Piers started with 1 hotel, then built/bought piers, then 4 more properties.

Geauga Lake never bought anything until Six Flags rolled in, and Darien Lake only had camping, then rides, then SF rolled in, and a hotel was born. So the moral of the story, of the roughly 400 parks in the US, there is no set pattern, rhyme or reason.

However, only WDW has the capacity and space to formulate if you fill the rooms, you can break even with those people all visiting the parks. WDW also figured out that people need 3 squares a day, they shop, fish, drink, rent bike, etc. Which is odd since Disney didn't actually own the Disneyland Hotel unitl about 10 years ago or so. Of course thats why you always had to walk to catch the monorail, but no one ever questioned that.

Vater's avatar

I believe KD's motel didn't open until two years after the park opened. Not sure about the camping. I also don't recall whether Best Western bought it during the KECO or Paramount timeline.

It comes down to do you want a park to build a hotel and be in competition
with the other hotels in the area .Without one of their own they can help each other with advertising (cross links on websites,brochures in lobby,etc)
If the park builds one they become the competition for the rest of the hotels in town Most parks are not year round so do you want to build a hotel and only use when park is open.

There is a story I heard years ago that when a McDonalds and a Burger King are next to each other both make more money than if they have the area to themselves.

Most parks are day trips for most of their customers (present company excluded)


WildStangAlex's avatar

Yes, there are a lot of hotels in Gurnee. However, I don't feel that they are all there just because of SFGAm. Sure, it's nice for out of towners, but I feel a good majority of all guests of the park live within 2 hours of it, and don't use the facilities of hotels and resorts in the area. However, the hotels probably do help out with the mall and general Northern Illinois tourism, as there are plenty of small lakes, and Lake Michigan to visit in the summer. Just my 2 cents. King's Island does have Great Wolf and King's Island Lodge, both of which seem to be very successful because of the park (and the Beach water park).

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