A loss of meeting space at a Dublin hotel could affect the city’s bed-tax revenue, according to Scott Dring, executive director of the Dublin Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The Crowne Plaza Columbus-Dublin, 600 Metro Place North, will close Friday, Nov. 15, for 12 to 16 months for renovations, including decreasing the number of rooms from 215 to 175, said Chris Knapton, regional director of operations with the Witness Group, which purchased the hotel in September 2018. The Lewis Center-based Witness Group has been involved with other local hotel projects, including one in Worthington.
The Crowne Plaza hotel opened in 1981 as a Stouffer Hotel Co. property and went through several ownership and branding changes over the years, according to Dring.
“We do not know the exact impact of the Crowne closing (for renovations) but our board and staff have been preparing for any scenario and will be tracking the impact once it officially closes,” Dring said. “We were on record to Dublin City Council saying we believe the worst-case scenario was a 2% to 4% decrease in Dublin’s total bed-tax revenue for 2020.”
Dublin’s 6% hotel/motel tax is assessed on the room rate charged for each overnight stay in the city. The revenue generated is invested into the community through designated projects and events that enhance visitor appeal and encourage overnight stays, according to city documents.
The bureau is projecting $3.6 million in total bed-tax revenue for the city this year, Dring said. It represents about a 6% increase over the revenue collected last year, he said.
For a comparison, a 2% to 4% reduction in revenue using this year’s expected revenue figure would be $72,000 to $144,000.
Dring said the bureau does not receive information about a specific hotel’s occupancy rate or the amount of tax revenue generated. The only information released is the total bed-tax revenue generated.
Knapton said the Crowne property would be updated to be competitive in the Dublin market and central Ohio. He declined to disclose the project cost of the renovations.
Meeting space at the hotel would be reduced, he said, because the Crowne cannot compete with other nearby venues, such as the Exchange at Bridge Park, that offer larger meeting spaces.
Knapton said he doesn’t know how much square footage will be cut from the Crowne’s overall meeting space because the final design plan has not been completed.
Renovations would include moving the hotel’s restaurant, bar and meeting space to the front of the hotel to make them more easily accessible to guests.
Knapton said the Crowne’s primary customer is a person who visits Dublin for business, and that type of customer is also common at other hotels in the city.
Dring said a large portion of Dublin’s travel tourism industry includes meetings and tradeshows.
After the Crowne closes for renovations, 17 hotels will be operating in the city, he said. Hotels with meeting spaces are Embassy Suites by Hilton Columbus-Dublin, 5100 Upper Metro Place, and the Marriott Columbus Northwest, 5605 Blazer Parkway.
Springhill Suites, a 145-unit, 6-floor hotel on Bridge Park Avenue in the Bridge Park District, and TownePlace Suites by Marriott, a 105-unit, 5-story hotel at 5155 Upper Metro Place, are scheduled to open in 2020, Dring said, but neither include substantial meeting spaces.
He said he doesn’t know how the reduced meeting space at the Crowne would impact tourism revenue for the city. The bureau is conducting research, which could be completed in the next few months, he said.
Business potentially lost at the Crowne could be absorbed by the Dublin hotels with significant meeting-space capacity and revenue from the 6% bed tax could stay in the city, Dring said.
However, those customers also could go outside Dublin, resulting in a loss of revenue generated by the bed tax, he said.
Dublin is beginning to attract out-of-state visitors, he said. And although some communities business travel has faltered, Dublin’s remains level, he said.
Meanwhile, the Witness Group’s project in Worthington is a $32 million redevelopment of a former Holiday Inn site on High Street just south of Interstate 270.
The Witness Group’s plans for the Worthington Gateway mixed-use development include a Hampton Inn & Suites with 111 rooms, up to 19,000 square feet of office space and more than 20,000 square feet for restaurants or “personal-care” businesses, such as fitness studios or beauty salons.