Holiday InnDoug Lambert discusses new Holiday Inn
Statesboro's hotel industry is undergoing a major change as construction of two large hotels begins in earnest. A full service Holiday Inn is being built on the Statesboro Bypass at the corner of Brannen Street and the Bypass, and a Spring Hill Suites is going in on the southwest corner of Highway 67 and the Bypass.
According to Jaime Riggs, director of the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, these two hotels have given her the ability to market Statesboro to groups looking for on-premise meeting facilities.
"Not only are these hotels representative of the latest trends in lodging, but they will both have meeting facilities," Riggs said. "That is something that we desperately need here. Groups want to come to Statesboro, but they want to be able to meet where they are staying. Once these two come on line, they will be able to do that."
Doug Lambert is the owner of Southeastern Hospitality Services and a member of the ownership group building the Holiday Inn.
"We just felt like Statesboro was in desperate need of a full service hotel," Lambert said. "Our Holiday Inn will have a small restaurant and lounge as well as meeting and banquet facilities. We just haven't had anything like that here in a number of years."
Lambert said the trend of building full service hotels changed in the early 1970's.
"Hotel owners felt the least profitable part of the hotel business was the restaurant and room service part," he said. "That is when the building trend changed to just providing a nice place for people to spend the night. Now people want safer hotels that can provide all of the things that they need.
"There are more female business travelers now and they like room service and a place to work out without having to leave the facility," he said. "Full service hotels are making a very strong comeback."
Lambert said this Holiday Inn will have 93 hotel rooms and stand four stories tall.
"We will have the same number of rooms as the current Holiday Inn Express on South Main Street," he said. "The difference is our ground floor will have the restaurant, lounge, and meeting facilities."
Lambert said there will not be two Holiday Inns in Statesboro when the new one opens.
"I am not sure what the Holiday Inn Express will become, but it will not be a Holiday Inn," he said.
Lambert said the Holiday Inn should be completed at the beginning of next summer. According to Murray Kite, a member of the Spring Hill Suites ownership group, the Springhill Suites should also be completed next summer.
Spring Hill Suites is a Marriott concept hotel in which every room is a suite. Kite said his group is sold on the quality of the Marriott product and felt their Springhill Suites concept was a great fit for Statesboro.
"With the number of parents and students that come to Statesboro to visit, we felt rooms that function as suites would be very practical," Kite said. "In addition, we felt that the location we were able to secure is a prime location near the university as well as the mall area."
The Spring Hill Suites will have 113 hotel rooms as well as a 7,700 square foot conference center located next to main facility. However, it is not considered a full service hotel as it will not have a restaurant and room service. Lambert feels the full service aspect is what sets the new Holiday Inn apart from the rest.
"If you want to have a meeting or gathering here, we can cater the food aspect of it," he said. "It is a complete package. You come and we have the facilities and the food. You don't have to worry about a thing. We even have an area outside of the meeting rooms which is designed as a "meet and greet" type of a space."
Riggs said she is thrilled with the construction of both hotels, but is surprised to have two like facilities being built here at the same time.
"We needed facilities like these in Statesboro so as to be able to compete with other small cities vying for convention trade," she said. "To have two being built in a town of our size at the same time seems pretty unusual to me. I am very glad, and it really rounds out the compliment of what we have to offer the visitor that comes here."
To learn more about the new Spring Hill Suites, go to www.springhillsuites.com. The Holiday Inn Web site is www.holidayinn.com.