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Conventions buoy Hyatt, Holiday Inn
Two downtown Columbus hotels near the new convention center are taking a hard look at adding rooms.
The Hyatt Regency Columbus is looking at adding several hundred rooms and the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza also has begun an expansion feasibility study, but neither has set a timetable or deadline.
Howard C. Nusbaum, executive vice president of the Ohio Hotel & Motel Association, recommended that the hotels be cautious. He uses a church analogy to say he doesn't want to see the hotels expand to accommodate a few large events while having low occupancy for the rest of the year: "I want to make sure they don't create more parking for Easter Sunday."
At least one analyst is skeptical about possible expansion in Columbus. Randy A. Smith, president of the Gallatin, Tenn.-based Smith Travel Research Inc., contends occupancy is too low in the market to warrant additional rooms, even if the Hyatt Regency and the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza believe they are in a unique position because of their proximity to the convention center.
The Hyatt Regency, which is the …