City's "Staycation" proves profitable for downtown hotels

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - A crowded pool, a line at the check in desk, and hardly a room in the house.

It's not necessarily something Ray Ezelle thought he'd see at the Montgomery Renaissance hotel this weekend.

"It was a tremendous surprise to all of us," says Ezelle.

Ezelle says he expected about 100 of the hotel's nearly 350 rooms to be filled.

But after managers decided to lower room rates to $89 dollars a night during the 4th of July weekend, reservations sky-rocketed.

"When there wasn't a lot of demand, that's when we felt it was appropriate to offer something back to Montgomery."

It's an offer many didn't want to pass up, especially when a night might normally run as much as $250 dollars.

Managers lowered rates to help the city's Staycation succeed.  But the move ended up benefitting the city, hotels, and locals as well.

"I thought it was a really good deal, and I've wanted to stay in the Renaissance since it's come here," says Millbrook resident Heather Griffin.

Not only are hotel representatives surprised at the response to the lowered room rates, but also at who booked the reservations.   They say people from the river region make up the majority of their guest list.   And they like it that way.

"It's introducing ourselves to the local, Montgomery, river region residents but at the same time this additional revenue was great!" says Ezelle.

Managers at the Montgomery Embassy Suites also say they had a full house.

It's a win-win for everybody during a starving economy.

"It's a really good deal and it's a holiday weekend," says one Renaissance guest.

And a city getting a taste of its own renaissance.

"It's a relaxed atmosphere, and we're not even an hour and a half from home, so it's great," says Parecia Taylor.

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