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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Local hotels bucking trends

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Many in hotel industry are seeing declines but figures are up in the area

MINER -- While businesses in the hotel industry are seeing declines in occupancy and a nearby inn is about to close its doors, Sikeston-Miner seems to be bucking that trend.

"For the month of December, we were actually up 14 percent over 2007," Lynne Williams, executive director of the Sikeston-Miner Convention and Visitors Bureau said, citing figures from the bed tax. "We tend to keep our rooms pretty full."

There are approximately 800 rooms available in Sikeston-Miner lodging.

In a November report by the Associated Press, Jan Freitag of Smith Travel Research said demand for hotels has dropped by 1 percent or more. That comes on the heels of a 2.5 percent increase in supply, when hotel companies built new properties in the booming economy.

The Pear Tree Inn in Poplar Bluff, owned by Drury Hotels, is set to close its doors on Monday, blaming the economy. A company spokesperson also said that external entrance hotels such as the Pear Tree are less favorable in the market, and that the building was in need of a big rehab, making it more feasible to close the hotel than pay for renovations.

Carla Norman, general manager of the Pear Tree Inn and Drury Inn in Sikeston, said that, as of Wednesday morning, she has not been informed of any such closings planned at the Pear Tree Inn in Sikeston.

"I don't think it will happen, but you never know," she said. Sikeston's Pear Tree Inn also have entries to the rooms from the outside, not inside, of the building.

Norman agreed with Williams that occupancy rates have been steady since the economy began to slump.

"(The downturn) hasn't really hit us yet -- although that's not to say it won't," she said. About 30 people are employed in the two Sikeston hotels. "But we're keeping our fingers crossed it won't affect us quite as hard as it has some of the other hotels."

The location of the Drury hotels in Miner likely contributes to its higher occupancy levels.

"We're right on two major interstates, which really helps us a lot," said Norman. It's also about halfway between St. Louis and Memphis, Tenn. "We have a lot of regulars."

Williams said several events, such as the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, Trike Riders International Rally and Sikeston Youth Soccer Tournament, have helped.

"We were pretty much booked up (during those times)," said Williams.

Norman agreed those events, especially rodeo "really helps every year."

The current construction of Orgill's Mid-America SuperCenter in the Sikeston Industrial Park also keeps occupancy up, since workers are being lodged there, Williams pointed out.

Another indication the situation isn't quite so bleak locally is the current construction of a new 154-room Drury Inn and Suites.

"We're thinking it will open late spring, so perhaps April," said Norman.

Once that happens, there will be some renaming of the two existing Drury hotels. The current Drury Inn will become the Pear Tree Inn, and the Pear Tree Inn will become the Thrifty Inn, according to Norman.