Posted: Apr 06, 2018 5:34 PM EDT
Updated: Apr 06, 2018 9:35 PM EDT
By Jessica Bard

Eight hotels have opened in Louisville in the last 18 months, and another nine are under construction now.

The driving force behind this boom is the expanded Louisville Convention Center, which will open in August.

“The Convention Center expansion and renovation is going to allow us to book 25 percent new business,” said Karen Williams, CEO of Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Larger conventions, so we needed this hotel boom to happen.”

The eight hotels recently opened have added 1,367 rooms to the city, according to the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau:
•Homewood Suites, Home2Suites, Vu Guesthouse and Omni Louisville Hotel in downtown Louisville
•Woodsprings near the Louisville International Airport
•Tru Hotel, aLoft East and Hilton Garden Inn in east Louisville

The nine hotels under construction will add another 1,466 rooms across the city, according to the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau:
•AC Marriott, Hotel Distil and Moxy in downtown Louisville
•Home2suites, Best West Premier and TownePlace Suites near Louisville International Airport
•Fairfield Inn and Suites, TownePlace Suites and Residence Inn by Marriott in east Louisville

However, city leaders say the number of new hotels can be deceiving. The hotels have an average of about 100 rooms each. The Omni is an exception with 612 rooms.

“When you put it in perspective, it’s different than what people think,” Williams said. “Yes, we’ve had our growth, and it’s been welcomed, and it’s timely with what’s going on in our city and our community. But … it’s not a plethora of hotel rooms like many people would think.”

Large conventions could bring in thousands of people to town.

“Normally, a convention, if they’re coming to town and there are 2,000 rooms, they want to be as tight as they can in just a few hotels,” she said. ”They don’t want to be spread out in 10 to 15 hotels.

“We have not opened a 500-plus room hotel since 2005, which was the Louisville Marriott. Prior to that, we had not opened a 500-plus hotel room in 20 years in this city.”

And even with the latest growth, Louisville is still falling short compared to its peer cities. Louisville has a “total active inventory” of 19,623 hotel rooms. Columbus has 28,241 hotel rooms, Indianapolis has 32,184 rooms, and Nashville has 41,773 rooms.

Williams said a year after the renovated Convention Center opens, city leaders will be able to gather new data on the need for more hotels to built in Louisville.

“If we’ve lost business, we can say we’ve lost business due to the lack of convention hotels within a mile or two,” Williams said. “And that’s really how we got the Omni. We could show them statistics over the past 10 years of business we could have booked.”

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