What's New at Hotel/Convention Center Complexes of North America?
Things are looking up — and hotels are going up. With rising occupancy rates and increased investment opportunities, hotel expansions and new builds are increasing and show organizers now have more options.
The new atmosphere means where there is a hotel need, a case can likely be made, and many convention centers are taking advantage of the swinging pendulum. According to this latest edition of the Trade Show Executive Report on Hotel/Convention Center Complexes of North America, nine exhibition venues currently have convenient headquarters hotels under construction (with completion expected in or before 2016) and at least nine more convenient convention hotels are in development.
Convenient hotels are defined as those that are connected to a venue or located adjacently or across the street. All-in-one complexes incorporate meeting space and guestrooms within one building.
Despite the new optimism, the development process is still fraught with obstacles. This may be most evident in some of the new amenities announced as hotels try to gain a competitive advantage.
“Stay Well” rooms, designed by Delos Loving, LLC, captured media attention when they debuted last Fall at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. With features designed to provide a “wellness” experience, the program is all about the guest.
As more convention centers offer hotels, the amenities in those hotels will become more important from the planner’s perspective. A report produced by PKF Hospitality Research, LLC, and sponsored by ConventionSouth magazine, last year found that planners have found room rates less negotiable (33% of negotiations in 2012 down from 58% in 2011) and nearly three-quarters (72%) expected rates to rise this year. If price cannot be negotiated, value becomes more important.
This may be one reason the “Stay Well” rooms captured such attention when they debuted. Wellness programs, in general, are a new trend and put the focus completely on guests and their experience, particularly from a health perspective.
For instance, the Trump Hotel Collection’s Trump Wellness offers nutritionally tailored room service for meals and “quick bites” as well as in-room exercise equipment. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts created the Fairmont Fit program, rolled out globally this year. It loans guests Reebok workout apparel and footwear, an MP3 player and a yoga mat with stretch band, all of which can be delivered directly to the room upon request.
The Westin Essence incorporates both food and fitness along with other services and amenities geared to help guests sleep, eat, move, work, play and feel well. It also loans workout gear (New Balance sneakers) and offers healthy dining choices; the now iconic Heavenly Bed helps guests sleep well. To help meeting planners “work well,” the hotel offers SuperFoodsRx meeting breaks (which include nutrient-rich, low-calorie, tasty dishes), “clutter-free meetings” and Tangent, spaces for up to four intended to streamline meetings with smart technology and intuitive design.
Delos’ Stay Well room takes the effort a bit further with 18 unique amenities and services designed to help guests “maximize downtime and prepare for their hotel stay.” They operate across the senses and sensibilities with lighting features that include wake-up light therapy, dawn simulator alarm clocks and night lighting; aromatherapy; water filtration and air purification; a vitamin C shower infusion; EMF (electromagnetic field) protection and photo-catalytic coating, which breaks down bacteria, viruses and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) on bacteria-susceptible surfaces; exclusive access to Cleveland Clinic wellness software as well as an in-room education video by Deepak Chopra, MD (a Delos advisory board member); and personalized services, such as VIP check-in and program-tailored menus for the mini-bar, room service and spa.
Stay Well’s Facebook page suggests the rooms would be offered within a new Miami Beach Convention Center hotel if the Portman-CMC team wins the con-tract, but the bidding process continues. The proposed hotel is part of a larger project involving renovation of the center and the construction of restaurants and shops.
Many of the other hotels under consideration are standalone units though some may involve attached walkways. None are yet a confirmed go, but progress does seem to be moving forward in each instance.
The closest may be the Aloft Hotel, planned near the Colorado Convention Center, which is completing designs and preparing for groundbreaking. In Des Moines, the Des Moines Redevelopment Company (DMRC) has collected proposals for a 450-room hotel adjacent to the Iowa Events Center and will need to sort through its options now that the bidding deadline has passed.
On the East Coast, a letter of intent was published by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) stating its goal to build two hotels across from the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center; it is expected that a similar letter will also be signed on the West Coast by an investor/developer indicating his intention to build a hotel connected to the Spokane Convention Center.
Other cities are still working through early steps. Developers in Savannah and Minneapolis are exploring the possibilities for convenient convention hotels — Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Association established a task force after completing a feasibility study — but no shovels are near the ground yet. And the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center is once again trying to garner support for headquarters hotel construction.
How will it all “turn down?” Check our news updates and our next edition of the Trade Show Executive Report on Hotel/Convention Center Complexes of North America. The annual report reviews the status of hotel/convention center complexes and all-in-one complexes in North America. Basic information, such as hotel convenience, number of guestrooms, event space and contact information, is provided.
The venues are broken out by category in a quick reference list. The main listings are organized alphabetically by facility name. Properties under construction are noted with the target completion dates. Trade Show Executive will continue to monitor the progress of these construction projects as well as new properties
in the pre-construction phases.
1550 S. Indiana Avenue
Chicago, IL 60605
Phone: (312) 922-8558
Content may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval
system or transmitted in any form or by any means
without the written permission of the Publisher.