PARKERSBURG - Local tourism officials feel a recent ranking on a financial website will benefit local tourism destinations.
Parkersburg was named among the "10 Most Affordable Places to Book Hotels in the U.S." on Yahoo! Finance recently.
Yahoo! Finance noted that consumer confidence appears to be on the rise and hotel stays are increasing. They indicated that while some areas of the country are experiencing increases in hotel lodging rates, travelers can still find affordable destinations when traveling, including Parkersburg, officials with the Greater Parkersburg Convention and Visitors Bureau said.
Photo by Brett Dunlap
The Blennerhassett Hotel on Market Street in downtown Parkersburg.
"As someone who oversees two area lodging properties this is great news for the region," said Alan Hardway, vice president for MPH Hotels (Wingate by Wyndham and Holiday Inn Express & Suites) and Greater Parkersburg CVB board chairman. "While we've always known this region's hotel rates are competitive it's nice to know others have taken notice."
Greater Parkersburg CVB President Steve Nicely indicated that Wood County's hotel occupancy rate has been on a steady incline over the past two years. The number of room nights sold in Wood County was up 6.3 percent and the hotel occupancy rate was up 4.8 percent in 2011 over 2010.
"Our occupancy numbers and room night sold are strong indicators of several things," Nicely said. "One, it demonstrates that area hotels, attractions and the CVB are aggressively working together to attract visitors to the region. It also shows that the CVB's strategic marketing efforts are having an effect through the partnerships and advertising we've invested in."
Nicely said it was still early, but indications for the upcoming summer season appear to be strong with inquiries coming in at a good rate and the number of room nights being booked appears to be strong.
''The only unknowns right now are going to be gas prices,'' he said.
Many people are looking for affordable places to go that are reasonably priced, Nicely said.
''Our room rates are below the national average,'' he said. ''Meals are reasonably priced. Overall, this area is a reasonable priced destination.''
The area is close to metropolitan areas throughout the region. Many local attractions are either free or are reasonably priced and appeal to people looking to spend a few days away from home.
Parkersburg ranked 10th on the list put together by Yahoo! Finance. The other cities listed are Columbia, S.C.; Macon, Ga.; Albany, Ga.; Dothan, Ala.; Lima, Ohio; Bakersfield, Calif.; Ottumwa-Kirksville, Mo.; Glendrive, Mont., and Montgomery (Selma), Ala.
''Those are many factors in our favor,'' Nicely said.
Nicely expects more interest to be shown in the area with Parkersburg's ranking on the list. "This is just another thing we can use in our marketing efforts and hopefully it will encourage more people to visit our area, because in terms of attractions and events, we have a lot to offer and the fact that we have been recognized as an affordable destination will only add to the attractiveness of our area in the minds of potential visitors," said Mark Lewis, Greater Parkersburg CVB president-elect.