Convention hotels

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The Baltimore Sun asks some pretty good questions about the issue of publicly funded convention hotels. Citing the success of Austin, Texas’ eight-month-old 800-room Hilton that was built across the street from the convention center which is close to meeting the projections on new convention business, Baltimore city officials are getting ready to build one of their own.

But the idea has its detractors:

    "I can't find a case where a hotel has saved a convention center," said Heywood T. Sanders, professor of public administration at the University of Texas, San Antonio, and a nationally recognized expert on convention center development.

    "If the convention center is underperforming, the answer is, 'let's build an expansion.' Then it's, 'Let's build a convention center hotel.' What has tended to happen in other places is the hotel can work if there is sufficient need, but there is no evidence that it will boost the convention center business."

But Baltimore believes its strong group business market will make the hotel a success, and help it to recover the 41,000 hotel nights it lost this year due to its lack of a headquarters hotel.

All I can say is, good luck guys.

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