Hotel prices skyrocket as Morgan Wallen, NCHC quarterfinals approach this weekend

As of Thursday, prices for two guests in one room Saturday night in Grand Forks start at no less than $600, save for one listing for $350. On Sunday, the prices fall back down to a minimum of $50 per night.

Smiley and sun grand forks logo tower sign .jpg
The sun rises behind a water tower in Grand Forks. (Grand Forks Herald photo)

GRAND FORKS — Country music star Morgan Wallen is performing Saturday at the Grand Forks Alerus Center. For those still seeking accommodations, it's probably too late to get a hotel room.

As of Thursday afternoon, prices for two guests in one room Saturday night in Grand Forks start at $600, save for one listing at Econo Lodge Grand Forks for $350. On Sunday, the prices fall back down to a minimum of $50 per night.

The UND hockey team's conference tournament series Friday and Saturday — and possibly Sunday — likely helped concoct the perfect storm of demand, leading to the higher prices.

Joe Cozart, the former general manager of the Grand Forks Ramada Inn who now runs the OpXGroup consulting firm, said prices for Saturday night were even higher on

“They had it at $750,” Cozart said. “So, that means they still have rooms available.”


The UND Alumni Association will host parties before the Fighting Hawks' games against the University of Denver on Feb. 10-11.

Cozart contends the hotel industry operates similar to the airline industry — when seats are not filled on flights, airlines will reduce prices in order to sell the seats before takeoff. Whether someone wants to gamble by waiting until Friday to see whether prices go down — or all the rooms get sold out — is up to them. And it comes with risk.

“They're just trying to go for a sellout now,” Cozart said. “They're trying to maximize their money, of course, but they're also trying to go for a sellout. If they don't sell out (by Thursday night), they'll drop (prices) possibly lower just to make sure they sell out.”

The only other nearby alternative is to find a hotel somewhere down the road. But it makes drinking more complicated, if having a few cocktails is something people wish to do while in town.

“That's just a long drive after a concert, particularly if there's any drinking,” Cozart said.” If somebody does (use) a designated driver, that's nice, but otherwise they just need to stay here and it's definitely going to cost them.”

So, what should the would-be overnight guest do?

“I’m not saying that it’s the thing to wait, because the rooms could get sucked up. But if you want to chance it, it is like the stock market,” Cozart said. “If there’s a room available ... you need to book it, or you need to plan on not going if you don't get the room. Or drive home.”

Jacob Holley joined the Grand Forks Herald as its business reporter in June 2021.

Holley's beat at the Grand Forks Herald is broad and includes a variety of topics, including small business, national trends and more.

Readers can reach Holley at him on Twitter @JakeHolleyMedia.
What To Read Next
Originally founded in Memphis, Buff City Soap is bringing two locations to North Dakota. The store carries plant-based soaps which are made in-house at each store.
While traffic has roughly doubled since 2020 — the heart of the pandemic, when there were 14.9 million passengers — it’s still not at pre-pandemic levels: In 2019, there were 39.6 million passengers.
The facility has 35,000 square feet nestled between Dollar Tree and Aldi in south Grand Forks.
It’s not the first time DEDCO has stepped in to try to save a local necessity in Drayton. In 2012, DEDCO completed a similar project to draw a restaurant back to the town.