How would two new hotels fit into the downtown Peoria-East Peoria hospitality environment?
Two new hotels are planned for prominent Peoria-area locations in the near future, just three years after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the hospitality industry particularly hard.
East Peoria is pursuing development of a nationally recognized, high-quality hotel along the riverfront near the Bob Michel Bridge. Meanwhile, a $57 million mixed-use project approved for downtown Peoria will be anchored by a hotel with 140 guest rooms.
Taylor Holmstrom is the director of sales and marketing with Embassy Suites East Peoria and a board member with the Illinois Hotel And Lodging Association.
“Having more hotel rooms here in the area, it gives us the opportunity to go after larger pieces of business that we haven't been able to in the past,” said Holmstrom, referring to conventions and other large-scale events. “Just being able to provide more room nights allows us to go after some of those larger groups.”
Holmstrom says business at the region’s hotels is trending in a positive direction.
“Just speaking from what we've seen in the area and the tourism that we've partnered kind of with the CVB (Peoria Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, also called Discover Peoria) with, I would say we are on the up and up,” Holmstrom said. “It's coming back strong, and I can only imagine that it's going to come back even stronger within the next couple of years.”
Discover Peoria reports a year-to-date hotel occupancy of 54% across its region, which includes approximately 80 hotels totaling more than 5,100 guest rooms around Peoria, East Peoria, Morton, Washington and Pekin.
Comparatively, the occupancy dropped to a low of 17% at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic after reaching 65% for the month of June 2019. Historically, the annual occupancy rate has fallen in the 58-60% range.
That current 54% year-to-date occupancy rate is up more than 3% from last year, while the average regional daily rate of $111 represents an increase of 9.1% from 2022.
“That just shows that we're growing,” Holmstrom said. “We want to see positive numbers, and we like to see that growth. So I'm confident that we'll just continue to see these numbers grow as we kind of get out of the pandemic and put that behind us.”
The two planned hotels would bring the number of properties in East Peoria and downtown Peoria to 18. So how can that many businesses coexist in a single centralized area?
“I'm confident that we can sustain it. This is kind of when all of us hotels work together closely with the CVB to kind of collaborate and put our brains together to really consider what business we can get,” Holmstrom said.
“It's all about playing together, playing in the same sandbox and working together. Having those great relationships with the other individuals at the hotels that maybe if our hotel can't take a group, we want to keep it in the area. So we reach out to another hotel that that we have a good connection with and pass their business along to them.”