Hampton Inn will help fill need in area First new hotel since 1991 under construction; 'A strong market'; Parole project, with 117 units, to be completed by June


A new Hampton Inn & Suites on Womack Drive in Parole -- the first increase in Annapolis-area guest rooms in six years -- will help satisfy visitors' growing demand and bring more tourist dollars to the area, say happy city and county officials.

Construction is under way and should be completed by June. The 117-unit hotel, which will include standard guest rooms and apartment-style suites, will be the area's first new hotel since the Marriott Courtyard and Residence Inn was built in 1991.

"This is a positive sign that we have a strong market and can support this niche kind of hotel property with suites and rooms," said Peggy Wall, president of the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau.

"We knew that a break in the hotel market would come first in suites, because we're blessed with a lot of strong small companies that generate a need for extended stays."

The hotel can accommodate travelers who stay one or two nights, said County Councilman William C. Mulford II, an Annapolis Republican. "At certain times of the year, like Commissioning Week or Fourth of July weekend, people are booking hotel rooms in Bowie. Annapolis has needed more good hotel space," Mulford said.

Frank McCabe, president of High Hotels, a franchisee of Hampton Inns & Suites, said his company expects half of the hotel's business -- about $1.3 million in 1998 -- to come from tourists. He said that not all of that will be "new" business because some could come from regular visitors to the city who switch hotels.

When a new hotel enters a market, a drop in overall occupancy rates results from what Wall calls tourist "shopping."

But she thinks tourists aren't going to "shop" too much in Annapolis. "There's less of a problem here because it's been so long since we've had a new hotel and it's only 117 units," she said.

The American Automobile Association TourBook for the region lists 15 hotels, motels and inns in Annapolis.

Terri Ryan, general manager of the Loews Annapolis Hotel in downtown Annapolis, said her hotel looks forward to other hotels. She said area hotels "draw from a similar market" but that it might be "hard to tell at this point how the competition will evolve."

Tourists who stay overnight in Annapolis spend an average of $180 per person per day, Wall said. Tourism is up since 1993, and the tourists have increased their spending slightly, she said. On Good Friday, for example, 700 visitors stopped by the Visitors Center. "That's a good summer day. To have it occur on the first day of the visitor season is an indicator of what kind of a season this is going to be," Wall said.

"And in our high-demand area for lodging, any opportunity to increase the lodging supply is going to increase visitor spending, which will benefit the entire economy," she said. "Not only will the hotel benefit, but so will the county, which levies a 7 percent room tax."

Pub Date: 4/07/97

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