The Perimeter hotel business is improving dramatically this year, hoteliers told business leaders recently.
“We’re thrilled with what we’ve seen,” Peter J. Dunn, general manager, Le Meridien Atlanta Perimeter told about 50 people attending a Perimeter Business Alliance luncheon on April 25. “This year has been great. We’ve been able to raise our rates, which for the last couple of years we have unable to do.”
To make it even better, they said, Perimeter communities should join together to promote the area to turn it into a bigger weekend draw with family-oriented events.
Three hotel managers – Dunn; Shelly Faraj, general manager of the Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center; and Tracy Kaltman-Ahmed of The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North — who took part in the panel discussion said their hotels recently have completed or nearly have completed extensive, multi-million-dollar renovations of their facilities in order to attract more travelers.
Faraj said the Perimeter hotel market is the second fastest-growing market in the Atlanta region, behind Buckhead. “It is a great time to be in the Perimeter market,” she said. “There’s no place I would rather be. It’s going to be an exciting couple of years.”
She predicted “this year will probably be a record year for our property.”
Business for Perimeter hotels is rooted in business travel, the hotel managers said. As office development continues, that market continues to improve, the hotel managers said. “We’ve seen the development going on in this area,” Dunn said. “I think we’ve done a great job of nipping at the business that goes to Buckhead.”
But Kaltman-Ahmed joked that local businesses could make more use of the hotels for meetings and other gatherings. “Bring back the food!” she said. “Stop those webinars!”
For Perimeter hotels to attract new customers, the hotel managers said, the area needs to lure more weekend visitors. “It’s a tough thing,” Kaltman-Ahmed said. “We don’t have an [Atlanta] Aquarium in the Perimeter.”
The hotel managers suggested that Perimeter communities join together to promote or develop events, such as sporting events or tax-free shopping weekends, to attract families from outside the area.
“Yes, we’re Brookhaven, Dunwoody and Sandy Springs, but we have to sell ‘Perimeter,’” Kaltman-Ahmed said. “It’s for all of us to work together to make this a destination — that’s what our clients need.”
“We’re not expecting miracles,” Dunn said. “If there were a magic wand, we would have discovered it 25 years ago.”