GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM) -- The city and Kent County experienced a banner year in 2011 with continued growth in hotel performance, occupancy, and room revenue and record attendance at area attractions.
Experience Grand Rapids says Nashville, Tenn.-based Smith Travel Research, a leading provider of hotel performance data, reports that Kent County hotels earned $114.4 million in room revenue in 2011. Kent County hotels increased occupancy by nearly 7% and revenue per available hotel room by nearly 11%. Occupancy outpaced national and state growth in all of these categories.
"In an industry that has experienced its share of challenges throughout the past three years Kent County has maintained its momentum in the tourism market both nationally and statewide," said Doug Small, president of Experience Grand Rapids. "For the second consecutive year, Kent County reported double digit growth in hotel revenue and outpaced national and state growth averages in occupancy."
Small added, "This is also the third year in a row that our staff has booked more than 125,000 future convention, sports and group tour room nights throughout Kent County. The cooperative spirit from our hotel partners, other industry partners and a refreshed brand image played a major role in these positive, encouraging outcomes."
Richard McKeigan, of the Convention and Arena Authority, said the DeVos Place convention center had a very strong year, even though overall attendance at arena events was down.
McKeigan told WZZM 13, "We've had a number of great things happen, things like Artprize - things like Laughfest things like the wine and food festival have got people aware of West Michigan when they otherwise would not have been."