That’s according to Bill Duncan, president of the new extended stay Home2Suites Hilton Hotel brand. He was in Layton last week for groundbreaking on the new chain’s second hotel in the nation – the first west of the Mississippi River.
“There has been a very sharp turn upward,” including in the “pace of deals” to build new properties, the Memphis, Tenn.,-based official said.
“It’s beginning to start to open up to lending. The summer is turning out to be real strong. Travel is more value-focused” but people are doing more of it, now, Duncan said.
Those comments echo those of local travel business-related officials.
“It’s safe to say that was one of the most positive increases we’ve seen in a couple of years in any given month,” said Utah Hotels & Lodging Association CEO Michael Johnson of June occupancy rates across the state.
“I think there’s some pent up demand,” Johnson said, referring to people wanting to get out and travel. “People have been wanting to travel, but have been putting it on the back burner. They weren't sure of their job security and if they were able to afford it.
“They saved for a period of time, now they’ve got some money and are really excited to do some traveling,” he said of many consumers, both in state and nationally.
“Certainly we’re not to the levels of 2007, but people have been traveling more than they did in 2008 and 2009,” Johnson said.
Average daily room rates at Davis County hotels were up slightly, said Davis Area Convention & Visitor’s Bureau CEO Barbara Riddle. She added that overall number of rooms filled in the county rose by 1,200 year over year.
“One of the reasons we’re seeing so much travel is that people know they can get a deal,” Johnson said. “People are saying they’ve always wanted to go to this or that resort and have never been able to afford it.”
The new Hotel2Suites is an example of a strong demand for hotel rooms in Davis County, said Alan Blood, one of the partners in the Summit Lodging group which is building the new 100-room facility.
“It will bring about 60 new jobs, as well as new visitors. Larger conventions” can then be fielded by the nearby Davis Conference Center and elsewhere, he said.
“Some groups just couldn’t come before,” the Farmington resident said. That was prior to the Conference Center’s expansion just over a year ago and now with the addition of more hotel rooms.
Blood praised the efforts of the CVB, conference center, county businesses, government officials and others for helping create a positive climate where the expansion could happen.