Hotel Industry Booming In Fresno

February 16, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
The Fresno Convention and Visitors Bureau say 17 new hotels are in various stages of planning or construction. That will add 2,500 new rooms.Work is already underway to make sure they will be filled with guests.

Just this week, hotel rooms in Fresno were all booked, because of the World Ag Expo in the south valley. It seems the current 7,500 hotel rooms just aren't enough.

But tonight, there are already more than a hundred more than there were yesterday and even more, on the way.

Offering wireless internet and HDTV, Fresno's newest hotel caters to generation x and y professionals.

Jason Quigley, Springhill Suites, says "They usually come in a day before or a day after? These are the people that really like to see what Fresno has to offer, Yosemite, and explore around."

And just across the parking lot the same development company is opening another hotel; this one catering to guests who will be in town for longer periods of time.

Jay Koury, Homewood Suites, says "There's a lot out here, medical industry. For example, we have one of the top plastic surgeons coming by to stay for nearly 4 months."

At a time when home construction is down, the hotel industry is booming.

Construction is underway near Shaw and Willow in Clovis for a new Holiday Inn Express. And in downtown Fresno, the former Hilton will re-open in April as a Holiday Inn.

In all, the Convention and Visitor's Bureau says 17 new hotels are either on the drawing board or under construction throughout Fresno County.

Layla Forstedt, Convention and Visitors Bureau, says "They know that Fresno is still very affordable for people to bring their sporting groups. We're affordable, we're friendly."

Forstedt says increasing hotel occupancy rates is part of the bureau's new 3 year strategic plan. It also hopes to aggressively market Fresno as a destination for tourism and conventions.

"Not just large conventions but groups from 40 to 10 to 15 thousand that we can hold at the Savemart Center," says Forstedt.

Forstedt says larger conventions require 500 to 1,000 hotel rooms. Right now, there just aren't enough; but that's not likely to be a problem for much longer as more and more hotels open for business.

Another goal of the bureau is to increase the length of visitor's stays by half a day so they can spend more of their money here.

Of course, it's all tied together because they say they need the hotels to bring visitors in.


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