Recession or no, it looks like there were be several more places to rest your head around town in the near future.
According to Smith Travel Research, Houston will open 30 new hotels this year — second to only New York (with 46) among major U.S. cities. Demand for hotel rooms in Houston is driven by the energy companies, and “what compounded the issue was people relocating to Houston after Hurricane Katrina and staying in hotels. It made occupancy rates unusually high and made the hotel market as an investment more attractive than it would be normally,” according to Mark Lomanno, president of Smith Travel Research, in an article in The New York Times.
Why so many new hotels? Most were in the pipeline when the economy was a lot sunnier. Although occupancy rates have fallen, once hoteliers begin the process of construction, even just laying a foundation, it makes more sense financially to finish the project and recoup at least some of the investment, even if the timing is less than ideal.
According to Smith Travel Research, Marriott will open eight new hotels in Houston in 2010 under the Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn and Springhill Suites brands, and InterContinental is set to open 14 hotels under the Candlewood Suites, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Staybridge Suites brands.