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For summer, hotels banking on polish, programs, prices (access required)

By Hannah Mitchell CHARLOTTE — Hoping to lure more guests to fill rooms during the coming tourist season, local hotels are spiffing up their properties and offering discounts and special events. Due to lingering economic woes, hotel vacancies remain high for a metropolitan hub, though occupancy rates have been gradually increasing over the past several months, giving operators hope for an eventual return to prerecession levels. Until that happens, hotel managers are investing in such widely varying attractions as cocktail-mixing classes and children’s characters. They’re also pinning a lot of hope on lodging guests who come to Charlotte to visit the new NASCAR Hall of Fame, which opens May 11, just ahead of the traditional Memorial Day kickoff to the summer season.

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