January 21st, 2016
Marla Matzer Rose, The Columbus Dispatch
Downtown hotels were a particular bright spot, driven in part by very successful publicly-financed Hilton Columbus Downtown that opened in fall 2012 across from the Greater Columbus Convention Center. Downtown occupancy was 70.3 percent, up 6.3 percent over 2014; average daily rate was $136.17, a 5.6 percent increase; and revenue per room was $95.72, a 12.3 percent increase.
Since the year the Hilton opened, during which time several other Downtown hotels also have undergone renovations, Downtown properties have seen a huge surge in revenue while also increasing occupancy from about 66 percent in 2012 to the current 70.3 percent. That’s significant because there was some fear that adding a big publicly financed hotel might drain business from others Downtown and not contribute to an overall increase in business.
The possibility of adding more full-service hotels near the convention center is being studied by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, which oversees the convention center, the downtown Hilton and Nationwide Arena.
Chris Coffin, general manager of the Hilton Columbus Downtown, cautioned that it may be hard to have another record year of growth in 2016 given the ongoing renovation of the convention center. Construction is being done to accommodate longstanding groups such as the Arnold Sports Festival in March but may preclude being able to take in some new business this year. But Coffin stressed that the $125 million renovation is a good investment for the future.