By Angela Greenwood

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — It’s getting tougher to find a vacancy in some Placer County hotels.

Last year, there were 25,000 more room nights booked, and now they’re looking for more beds.

So, what’s causing the tourism boom in Placer County?

CBS13 found out a multi-million dollar effort to attract more tourism has been so successful, that hotels are running out of rooms. Hotels in Roseville and other parts of South Placer County are seeing a big boost in business.

Ron Berger, Best Western regional general manager said, “The growth has just been phenomenal. We’ve seen year after year more tourism coming in.”

Since last year, there’s been a six percent increase in customers.

“A lot of times we can’t accommodate all the groups. A lot of times in May or June, you can’t get a hotel in Placer County.”

To keep up, construction is underway on a new four-story hotel along Highway 65, with two more expected in the next year. Placer Valley Tourism CEO David Attaway says the increase is no accident.

Attaway said, “We’ve gotten very good at sports tourism.”

And they’re trying to recruit more diverse events. The list is long – everything from cup stacking to a Rubik’s Cube tournament, with each guest helping boost the local economy.

“The guest spends on food or shopping, so it’s really dispersed throughout the entire community,” said Attaway.

To accommodate the increase, they’ve spent $9 million renovating the 80-year-old Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville, now been re-branded as “The Grounds.”

“The basics are here to do virtually anything you want to do.”

Work is now underway to design a new 130,000 square foot event center that can accommodate much larger tournaments.

“Ultimately the buildout will have 15 basketball courts or 30 volleyball courts,” said Attaway.

Hotel operators say the new events will help boost business during the slower winter months and they hope all these new customers will keep coming back to Placer.

Berger said, “It’s become the new hidden gem of Northern California.”

The majority of the money for marketing and renovations comes from a $6.50 per night fee added to each hotel bill, which generates nearly $4 million a year.

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