Local Hotels Furious Over New Savannah Convention Center Hotel – Could Lose Millions!

New Hotel Proposed in Savannah, Existing Hotels Concerned About Loss of Business

A new 500-room convention center hotel has been proposed for Hutchinson Island in Savannah, Georgia. If built, the hotel would aim to attract large conventions and meetings to the city. However, existing hotels in the area are worried about the impact on their business.

Mark Spadoni, general manager of the nearby 400-room Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa, estimates that area hotels could lose $11 million in revenue the first year the new hotel opens. He calls this a conservative estimate and says the losses would be “significant” for local hotels.

Spadoni, who has managed the Westin for 10 years, spoke at a recent meeting of the authority that oversees the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. It was the first time he publicly addressed the proposed hotel.

“We’re in a very fragile industry now that’s reeling from one of the most difficult times in the last 40 years,” Spadoni said, referring to the pandemic’s impact on travel and hospitality. He argues that increasing meeting space by over one-third with government-backed financing would hurt existing hotels that were built without such support.

Currently, Savannah has around 1,400 group and meeting rooms. The new hotel would add 500 more.

Spadoni describes the Westin as a “group and convention hotel in a resort location.” He says over 70% of their 100,000 annual room nights are occupied by group and convention attendees. The Westin’s main competitors are other Savannah hotels catering to this market like the Hyatt, Marriott, and Hilton.

While new convention space may attract new larger events, Spadoni argues the Westin and other area hotels will likely see declines, at least initially. He hopes local officials will consider the potential impact on existing businesses that have served Savannah’s hospitality industry for many years.