Buzz about the viral “Storm Area 51” Facebook event continued through July 2019, including an article on a site called AnonNews.co about a flurry of hotel bookings for the venue nearest the famed military installation:
Despite the warnings from the air force, and from a number of high profile Area 51 researchers, the event continues to grow in popularity, and more people are promising to actually show up on the day of the invasion. Some of these people are actually putting their money where their mouths are too.
Reports have indicated that nearby hotels are already beginning to book up. One of the closest hotels to the base is Little A’Le’Inn, which is pronounced ‘little alien’. The hotel is just 26 miles away from the mysterious base, making it a prime location for curiosity seekers.
Connie West, the hotel’s co-owner, told NPR that the phone has not stopped ringing since the Area 51 event went viral. There are only ten rooms in the hotel, but they are already entirely booked. However, she said that she also has 30 acres of land for people to camp on, and at least 60 people have already taken her up on the offer.
The item linked to a NPR item from July 15 2019, about an uptick in interest in Area 51-adjacent lodging around the time of the event. Although a local hotel owner says her property is “fully booked,” the property can only take ten reservations — and not all bookings are related to the event:
The event has all the makings of a ludicrous Internet joke, right?
“Yes, it sounds like a joke, but there apparently are some people who want to check out the joke,” Connie West, the co-owner of Little A’Le’Inn (pronounced “little alien”), told NPR.
West’s inn in Alamo, Nev., is the closest lodging site to Area 51. “About 26 miles from the runway,” she says.
Since the Facebook event launched, her phone has been ringing incessantly with people looking to book a room. Her 10 rooms are now full for the day of the event, Sept. 20, and she said most of the people who made the reservations asked her about the Area 51 gathering.
The alien-themed small hotel also advertised the event on their site, drumming up business from the publicity. But other area hotels say they have “plenty of vacancies” and have not seen bookings increase since the event went viral:
“Come and sit back and watch the fun”, the website says.
One employee at a non-alien themed motel said there had been inquiries about rates on the night of September 20 , but still have plenty of vacancies, according to Yahoo News.
Many other hotels in the area said they have not had an increase in demand of rooms the night of the raid.
It is possible that future guests asked about the event since it has received such extensive coverage, or that news organizations preemptively booked rooms for September 20 2019 to cover the purported “storming” of Area 51. One person likely to be in the area on the day of the “Storm Area 51” event was its creator, who indicated that their plans were not to “raid” the base:
The person who created the event page is a 20-year-old man from California who would be identified only as Val. He wouldn’t share his last name for fear the publicity around the event would lead to his being harassed.
“I just thought it would be a funny idea for the meme page,” Val said via Facebook Messenger. “And it just took off like wildfire. It’s entirely satirical though, and most people seem to understand that.”
Val told NPR that he’ll “more than likely be there, but not for the intended purpose.”
He has been talking “with some pretty great people” about planning a different kind of shindig, perhaps something educational, though it was unclear what exactly the lesson would be.
Whatever it is, Val said it is unlikely to include “sprinting through the desert at 3am.”
Another important factor in the original website’s article was its disclaimer:
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The information is provided by anonews.co and while we endeavor to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.
In short, an unreliable website took NPR’s “Storm Area 51” coverage out of context to suggest that throngs of people planned to physically attend the event. In actuality, one hotel that was completely booked had only ten rooms in total, and not all guests inquired about the event.