REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The population of east Idaho is expected to grow significantly this summer as more tourists visit town for a series of big events.
One of those events, the total solar eclipse, will take place on August 21 and is expected to draw 100,000 to 500,000 people from all over the world.
"It is a tremendous event and it is a great opportunity to showcase our area to a lot of people who come," Ted Austin, CEO and president of the Rexburg Chamber of Commerce, said.
Rexburg and the surrounding communities are in the direct path of the total eclipse. Forecasters expect the weather to be prime for viewing the once-in-a-lifetime event. The perfect view and the perfect weather has thousands from around the globe booking a trip to the area, and local hotels are sold out.
“They're getting good dollars for those, and most of those properties are requiring multiple night stays, so you can't get drive up the day before the eclipse, stay overnight on Sunday and be here Monday for the eclipse and then drive home,” Austin said.
Austin said that some hotels have held back a few rooms just in case, but with so much demand, the price of hotels for the eclipse weekend are surging. A check of Expedia found hotel rooms going for between $405 and $950 a night August 18-22. That's up significantly from the nightly rate of $70 to $169 the weekend before and after the event.
"The viewing area that is prime in Madison County, and in Jefferson County for that matter, we just think that the potential is there for a lot of people to want to see this event,” said Austin.
"For a lot of people, it will be a once-in-a-lifetime event."
The price surge goes beyond just the hotels. Websites like Airbnb are reporting record prices for stays during the eclipse. Just renting a bedroom in a home will cost you between $513 and $770. A full house is going for anywhere between $1,000 and $8,000.
"A lot of people are setting their dollar amounts, expecting there is going to be a big turn out, and that may in fact be reinforced as we get closer to the event,” Austin said. “It may be a case of it is over priced and the prices will go down."
Outside of Rexburg, you won't find a vacancy, either. Pocatello has no rooms available, and the Gate City isn't even in the path of the total eclipse. Idaho Falls doesn't have any rooms available, either.