A Closer Look
Two Boutique Hotels Proposals
With much conversation around the two boutique hotel proposals, the Visit Roswell team is providing a closer look at each of the two flags proposed. Both fall under the Marriott International hotel brand and both are classified as upper-upscale. Additionally, both fall under Marriott International’s category “Premium Collection.” But first, let’s take a look at the type of business we miss out on by not currently offering a hotel of upper-upscale quality within our current profile of hotels. It’s also important to understand the current tourism business that is driven into Roswell, without an upper-upscale hotel.
Currently, our destination predominantly drives leisure-based business. These are individuals, couples and families, whether from near or far, who come into town to visit friends and family, enjoy our amazing restaurants, shop with our small businesses, attend our events and take in our history and our nature-based, outdoor offerings. Our profile of hotels currently supports this, as 12 of the 13 are limited-service. Limited-service hotels are primarily focused on providing guests overnight stays, whereas a true full-service hotel offers a food & beverage component, including catering, meeting space and audio-visual services. If you’ve ever attended a conference, trade show, sales kickoff or product launch within a hotel, chances are it was full-service. Our one full-service hotel in Roswell is the DoubleTree by Hilton Atlanta/Roswell. Of the hotels, the DoubleTree gets the lion’s share of our corporate meeting business, as well as our wedding room block business. The other hotels (Home2 Suites by Hilton, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Comfort Inn, Holiday Inn, Best Western Plus, to name a few) see a blend of guests – from those seeking an overnight getaway, to project-based business, to construction, to individuals simply passing through on their way north, south, east or west. They also provide accommodations for the “business transient” segment – those coming into town for meetings and appointments, whether at a coffee shop with a client or at a company office or branch. Like the DoubleTree, those hotels also see business from the wedding segment. It’s also important to note that short term rentals are growing in popularity and, we feel, have certainly captured business away from our hotels.
Now, let’s take a look at something we live by in the hospitality world: The data. Our office meticulously tracks the type of business that comes into Roswell’s hotels and venues. We do this through our own lead tracking of leads we engage and work, direct communication weekly with our hotel managers, as well as our subscription to Smith Travel Research, also referred to as “the STR report.” This report shows us monthly occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), revenue per available room (RevPAR), supply, demand, and revenue for each hotel. With the STR report, we’re able to track how business is performing during specific months and compare that with what we’re seeing directly in our community. For example, we know that mid-week business primarily brings corporate business transient, corporate group and project-based business. Consider mid-week Monday through Wednesday and a bit of Thursday. Our weekend business, beginning as early as Thursday evening and running through Sunday, shifts quickly to the leisure and social markets. During weekends, our hotels primarily accommodate guests who have come into town for weekend getaways, to visit friends and family, or to attend celebrations, such as weddings, bat/bar mitzvahs, anniversary parties, engagement parties, and more. Want to hear something concerning? Our wedding venues estimate 50% of their attendees seeking overnight accommodations leave the city of Roswell to stay in other communities. Why? Because they offer more upscale product – product that we do not have.
Think of a wedding with 250 attendees, in which a room block of 100 rooms is needed. At a $119 nightly rate, if that wedding contracts their block outside of Roswell, that’s missed gross revenue of $11,900 for the hotel, and there’s a good chance they’re filling up their gas tanks, visiting local retailers and enjoying meals outside of Roswell also. Now, just imagine how many weddings of all shapes and sizes occur in Roswell during peak season of March to June and September to November. Our venues can do multiple weddings per weekend, from 20 to 300 attendees. That missed opportunity to capture those overnight stays presents a very concerning number to us. We also know firsthand throughout our contacts with organizations such as the Georgia Chapter of Meeting Professionals International and the Georgia Society of Association Executives that many corporate meeting planners would love to source their groups to Roswell, but they simply can’t because we don’t offer the inventory and hotel meeting space that they require. This is that mid-week business we referred to earlier. So, with all that said, we undoubtedly recognize a need for a boutique hotel with meeting space and are extremely confident in knowing that one would perform very well and command a strong rate in our community.
Now, let’s talk flags. Both of the proposed hotels fall under the Marriott International brand. One hotel would be a part of the Marriott Autograph Collection, while the other would be a Marriott Tribute Portfolio. Both of these are categorized within Marriott’s “Premium Collections” category. This category, defined by Marriott as “uniquely designed, each offering distinctive to luxurious experiences,” is of high- quality. Make no mistake, we’re talking two fantastic hotels here. In fact, the only category above it is Marriott’s “Luxury” category, which includes the Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and JW Marriott. When looking at both Tribute and Autograph, Marriott describes Autograph as “a distinctive collection of hand-selected hotels, ranging from boutique to luxury, each offering unique perspectives on design, craft and hospitality” and “a product of vision, handpicked for its mark of craft, heartfelt design, and authentic sense of place. These principles guide the curation of our portfolio, ensuring each hotel experience is remarkably unlike anything else.” Marriott defines Tribute as “an exceptional collection of independent hotels and resorts with unique personalities and spirit” and “a family of independent boutique hotels bound by their indie spirit and heart for connecting people and places.” We encourage everyone to visit https://www.marriott.com/marriott-brands.mi to see this information firsthand, watch videos, view galleries and read descriptions to get a feel for what’s being presented. Additionally, quality of product goes well beyond the hotel itself – beyond aesthetics, room design, space layout, and public space. Either of these hotels would offer exceptional customer service to their guests and to the community. In short, we are totally confident in the quality of the proposed hotel brands and the hotel experiences that would come with either.
We’ll end with a bit of information that is certainly relevant. Our team spent a considerable amount of time shopping rates at various Autograph Collection hotels and Tribute Portfolio hotels throughout the country. We looked at a number of different markets – from urban to coastal. We also looked at mid-week rates versus weekend rates. What we quickly learned is that either of these hotel brands commands a very strong rate. We found rates in the high-100s mid-week, all the way up to the mid-500s on weekends in some instances. Sometimes, in a given market, the Autograph commanded the higher rate compared to the Tribute. Other times, in a different market, the Tribute commanded the higher rate. Consistently, we seemed to see an average daily rate in the ballpark of $225 to $250 per night (mind you, still in a pandemic). By the time construction completes, we fully expect our industry to be at pre-COVID levels.