Hotel industry booming in Alabama - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Hotel industry booming in Alabama

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OXFORD - AL -

Angela Smith, general manager for the Hilton Garden Inn in Oxford says the city is in a prime location for hotels and hospitality.

"Anybody that comes in from Atlanta wants to stay in Oxford, and we're also trying to direct the travelers coming in from Birmingham this way also," says Smith. "We have a niche here, we have national chain restaurants, which are missing in a lot of places, so this is the place to be."

While tourism and the Talladega Superspeedway are factors in the demand for more hotel rooms, 
Smith says the hospitality industry benefits from local industries.

"Auto suppliers, the local companies here, the government, all the training facilities is definitely the driver in this area," Smith explains.

Businesses and travelers have plenty of hotels to choose from.

Five hotels, with a combined total of 450 rooms are within a few blocks of each other.

Home 2 Suites, in the Hilton Hotel family is set to open in 2013. Bringing in an additional 81 rooms.

"It targets the savvy, sophisticated traveler," Smith says of the new hotel.

A saturated hotel market is a positive sign for the hospitality industry.

In Hoover, hotels along Highway 150 sprang up more than a decade ago. The city focused on becoming a sports and business destination.

"The growth has been phenomenal. You have eight hotels in a row here," says Kathleen Spencer. Spencer is president of the Hoover Chamber of Commerce and also serves as general manager of the Holiday Inn on Highway 150.

Spencer says it's no surprise the hospitality industry is booming in Alabama.

"It's the south. You've got that genuine southern hospitality, the service is really good here, that's what it comes down to. It's really one of the most important parts of the business if not the most important part," say Spencer.

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