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Local hotel bookings fell in 2010, projected to rise in 2011

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The Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association on Monday reported a 5-percent decline in hotel room nights booked in 2010 compared with 2009.

Still, said ICVA spokesman Chris Gahl, local hospitality officials reached 99 percent of their goal to book 650,000 hotel rooms in 2010.

“Considering the economy and what we’ve seen in some other cities, we’re pretty pleased,” Gahl said.

The 649,686 hotel rooms booked in central Indiana were down from 687,686 in 2009, according to ICVA figures.

“We had an incredible year in 2009, with two sizable conventions booked,” Gahl said. “What we saw in 2010 was a little bit of the downturned economy come into play.”

The number of hotel rooms booked in central Indiana had been on the rise since 2007, when about 500,000 hotel rooms were booked.

“We’ve added staff and we’ve increased marketing, all with the goal of increasing that number,” Gahl said.

With the Indiana Convention Center addition set to open later this month and the 1,005-room JW Marriott hotel set to open on the west side of downtown in February, local hospitality officials expect the number of bookings to escalate in 2011 and again in 2012, when the Super Bowl is hosted at Lucas Oil Stadium.

“Now that the Convention Center expansion project is finished, we can walk them through a finished product, and we’re confident that will translate into new business,” Gahl said. “We’re going to need to book 750,000 to 800,000 room nights annually to meet the demand of the Convention Center expansion. We know we can’t do that overnight. So we’re ramping up.”

The $275 million expansion project will add nearly 350,000 square feet of exhibit space to the Indiana Convention Center, pushing the facility from the 32nd largest U.S. convention center to 16th. With the expansion, the Indiana Convention Center has 749,000 square feet of exhibit space.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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