June 11, 2007

Opryland Looms As DC Hotels Go Luxe

The Story
--- Gaylord has booked nearly a million room-nights at its National Harbor hotel in PG county.
--- Many bookings are with groups that have met at Gaylord's other hotels. Nearly 80 percent of its business will be with convention groups that look for all-inclusive meeting and resort facilities.
--- At the same time, many DC hotels are going upscale with renovations. Magic Johnson and a group of Los Angeles investors just bought the Hinckley Hilton Washington for $290 million and plan to spend $100 million more on renovations.

View from the Bubble:
--- Perhaps DC is becoming more and more the destination for the affluent and sophisticated. Nonetheless more hotel space over near the convention center would not hurt.
--- Is Gaylord siphoning business as the WaPo suggests? Two ways to look at this. Gaylord will bring more conventions to the DC area that would have otherwise never have come here in the first place. That's good for DC because more conventioneers will wander downtown to see the sites and spend some dough. On the other hand, Gaylord will siphon off conventions that otherwise would have come downtown. The Air Force Assn. will move its convention to Gaylord, as will the AICPA.
--- Much depends on how much shopping and dining these groups do -- the more sophisticated the group, the less likely they will be satisfied by Gaylord. Also it will be hard to get DC speakers, such as members of Congress, to travel down to Gaylord.
--- Some conventioneers could even end up at Gaylord for the conference, and then spend the weekend in DC as a getaway. That's what I did when I went to Opryland in Nashville.

Link: WaPo on Gaylord, WaPo on hotel upgrades

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