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Winter storm heats up hotel business

Travelers stuck in Charlotte gave hotels sales boost

While the winter storm that blew into Charlotte Monday morning shut down much of the city for the past few days, many local hotels saw a boost in business.

As Charlotte/Douglas International Airport cancelled hundreds of flights, many travelers were stuck in Charlotte and had to get rooms or extend their stay, said Mohammad Jenatian, president of the Greater Charlotte Hospitality and Tourism Alliance.

“It’s been absolutely crazy over the past few days for many of our local hotels,” he said.

While the winter storm prevented many travelers from arriving in Charlotte, and the local restaurant industry certainly took a hit, Jenatian said many hotels were booked.

“Normally, the first couple of days of the week are slow for hotels as far as business travel, so this has been a nice little bonus,” he said.

Bill Moore, general manager at the 193-room Crowne Plaza Hotel in uptown Charlotte, said he was booked up Monday and Tuesday night.

“We definitely had a lot of extra business because of the storm,” he said.

A group of international travelers checked into the hotel Friday night and were scheduled to depart on Monday, Moore said today, “and they’re still here.”

“On the other side, we had some guests cancel because of the storm, but it’s definitely been a net gain,” he said.

Moore said he also booked many “distressed passengers” who couldn’t get a flight out of Charlotte. And with all these extra guests, the hotel’s restaurant and bar also got a boost in sales, he said. To handle the extra business, Moore said he brought in about 20 extra employees who stayed at the hotel overnight Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to help out.

Leon Cox, general manager at the Charlotte Marriot Executive Park in south Charlotte, said he also got a windfall because of the storm. Cox said he had groups of business travelers who checked in Sunday extend their stay for several days because of the storm. About 95 percent of the hotel’s 297 rooms were occupied Monday and Tuesday, he said.

“And our bar and restaurant got a nice little boost because people didn’t want to venture out into the weather,” he said. “We had a good couple of days of revenue. So far, January is off to a good start.”

Sam Boykin can be reached at sam.boykin@mecktimes.com.

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