Weddings fill Chippewa Valley hotel rooms

EAU CLAIRE, Wisconsin (WEAU) – With more and more people being vaccinated, couples are more comfortable getting married.

More weddings mean more people are coming to the Chippewa Valley and staying in its hotels.

“We have already booked our weekends with these kinds of events,” said Erin Lorberter, General Manager of Chippewa Falls Country Inn & Suites.

She said we were in a “post-COVID hangover,” adding that weddings and other gatherings, like reunions, filled calendars and hotel room blocks.

“When groups create room blocks, they block 20 to 30 rooms at a time,” Loberter said. “So if we get two of these blocks of rooms here, that’s most of our rooms. We are a small hotel here so. And then we just fill in the rest with transients.

The Country Inn & Suites is not alone in seeing a slight increase in business.

Matthew Rashid, general manager of Johnny’s Steakhouse at L’Eau Claire Holiday Inn South, said his restaurant was almost back to pre-pandemic activity levels.

“We are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So the guests that come from out of town for the wedding, you know, let’s say they arrive on Friday night, usually use the restaurant on Friday night, Saturday morning for breakfast. Then they’re there all day for the wedding reception and then they usually hang out at the bar afterwards, ”he said.

While Lorberter and Rashid both said they didn’t know what to expect months ago as the pandemic raged, they noticed people wanted to go out and celebrate special occasions whenever possible.

“What we found out in the last month or so of the start of summer is that people are ready, they want to go, they want to go out and do whatever they can,” Lorberter said. “They’re coming, so we’ve really filled most of those blocks now.”

She also said that with so many weddings, people get married on Friday and Sunday in addition to Saturday. This means that the rooms remain occupied throughout the weekend.

Lorberter added that hotels are still struggling to fill rooms during the week as business travel has yet to resume.

Visit Eau Claire executive director Benny Anderson said he did not yet have hard numbers for the summer, but has heard anecdotally that hotels fill up every weekend.

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