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Baltimore hotels do brisk business Печать E-mail
Новости - Зарубежные новости
Автор: Newsmaster   
10.01.2009 02:18
BALTIMORE (AP) — It's rare good news in the faltering economy: Baltimore's tourism bureau reports it is more than halfway to its goal of booking future hotel nights.

The 475,000 future hotel room nights is the goal for the current fiscal year. The sales team of the tourism bureau has booked 301,800 nights, or 63.5% of its target midway through its fiscal year.

"All things being equal, this is surprising — the economy is that bad," said Anirban Basu, chairman and CEO of Sage Policy Group Inc.

CITY GUIDE: Baltimore hotels, attractions and more

He said a major factor in the booking pace was the opening in August of the Hilton Convention Center Hotel and its 757 rooms.

"Perhaps in this sometimes cynical city, this hotel represents one of those times when the cynics were wrong and the investment made sense," Basu said. He was referring to objections to the city paying for the entire the $301 million project.

Thomas J. Noonan is president of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. He said with the Hilton's opening and with about five more hotels planned to open downtown this year, Baltimore's convention package continues to improve. Last year, BACVA exceeded its bookings goal of 400,000 room nights by about 51,000.

The future economic impact of the 2008 bookings is estimated at $422 million.

Baltimore's convenience in its concentration of downtown hotels and closeness to transportation outlets, as well as its affordability compared to cities such as Washington or New York, have been important factors, Noonan said.

"If you're in the 5,000-rooms-and-under range, we do that very well — that's the advantage we have," he said. "You can have that many rooms, be downtown and probably not even have to run a shuttle bus (between the hotels and convention center). There's a huge cost difference in that, and it's a huge advantage."

"The lodging demand is absolutely falling off the table and there's no visibility," said Rod Petrik, an analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co. "I think with the delivery of the Hilton in town you now have a convention center hotel to better utilize that space. While Baltimore's excess rooms will probably cause it to be one of the softer markets in 2009 ... in the longer term it's going to allow the city to strengthen its convention industry."

Noonan also pointed out that bookings made this year aren't necessarily directly affected by the economic climate now because meeting planners are reserving dates four or five years in the future.

"Are we seeing less short-term leads? Yes, I'd probably say we are," he said. "Some corporate meetings have been scaled down or delayed, so there is an impact from the economy on the meetings industry in the number of attendees and nights in hotel rooms. But in terms of selling city-wides and for the long term, it's not really having an impact."

Information from: The (Baltimore) Daily Record, mddailyrecord.com


Найдено в интернете: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~r/UsatodaycomTravel-TopStories/~3/OYmoGEOqJW4/2009-01-09-baltimore-hotels_N.htm
 

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