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Detroit’s Hotel Business Is Thriving

By Expert Author: Steve Robinson

Detroit, which in July became the largest U.S. city to file for bankruptcy protection is also a travel destination that offers plenty of cheap travel deals, including cheap airplane tickets, discount hotel rooms, and cheap vacation packages.

In July, Detroit became the largest American city to file for bankruptcy protection. Ironically while Detroit is struggling mightily with its debt, its hotel industry is improving. Three casino hotels have opened recently.

A new Starwood Aloft boutique hotel is scheduled to open in 2014 in a landmark building in Grand Circus Park downtown. Developers are trying to turn a historic firehouse across from the Cobo Convention Center into another boutique hotel.

The Cobo Center hosts the annual North American International Auto Show and is undergoing a $290 million facelift which is hoped will attract more conferences and business travelers after its completion in 2014.

Downtown and midtown private investments in Detroit are expected to help revitalize those areas. Dan Gilbert (Quicken Loans owner) has purchased over 7 million square feet of property downtown, with the intention of developing cafes and other attractions. A new 18,000 seat arena for the Detroit Red Wings has been approved for midtown and will be surrounded by a new entertainment district.

Over the past 10 years Detroit has been home to one of the worst hotel markets in the country.

Hotel occupancy rates in Detroit have gone from a low of under 48 percent in 2009 when General Motors and Chrysler filed for bankruptcy protection to over 61 percent in 2013 which is comparable to the national average. In June Detroit hotel occupancy slightly exceeded 70 percent.

Today the city’s average hotel daily rate is lower than the national average, but experts believe that this fact will encourage budget minded visitors and companies to visit.

Currently there are over 41,000 rooms in Detroit with another 824 under construction. These rooms include downtown developments as well as in the suburbs, where hotels such as the Hyatt Place Detroit Novi will open soon.

InterContinental Hotels Group (parent of Crowne Plaza) has commented that it is at ease in entering the downtown Detroit hotel market because of the thriving technology, medical research, and auto industries.

Unfortunately there appear to be two parts of Detroit; namely the thriving downtown area and just about everywhere else. The hope is that downtown development will eventually spread outward.

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