Montgomery hotels scoring big during football season

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Reginald Barlow is the manager at the Sleep Inn at East Chase.

His hotel is one of seven others within a 2-mile stretch competing for football fans. But, he says there hasn't really been much competing at all.

"Right now everyone says they're doing well for football season," says Barlow.

Fans from Auburn, Alabama State, and surrounding universities make up the bulk of hotel business right now--contributing to an occupancy rate increase of 11% this year compared to last--helping pump more money into Montgomery.

"Our lodging tax was up 18%," says Mayor Strange in regards to numbers from last year.

City tourism leaders say despite a 200 room increase in 2010, demand is still high.

"Every weekend for Auburn, we have been sold out," adds Barlow.

Just because the hotels in East Montgomery are closer to Auburn doesn't mean the downtown ones aren't benefiting as well. In fact, downtown business may be bringing a little extra boost to their bottom line.

"With all the new bars and restaurants and Biscuits and the riverwalk. All that great stuff has generated so much interest in this area," says Carolyn Dwyer at the Montgomery Renaissance Hotel and Spa.

She says the interest in staying downtown is quickly growing and it helps to have the Auburn Tigers staying there, too.

"People would kinda gather in the lobby hoping to catch a shot of them heading out or heading in," says Dwyer.

And while there is some healthy competition between hotels, Barlow says they all help each other.

"We're all fighting for the same business, but when one hotel sells out, they refer each other to another hotel."

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