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Rochester hotel industry making a comeback despite opposite national trends

Despite the national drop of people staying in hotels, the Rochester hotels are seeing a steady number of travelers.
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 6:28 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – A new study is out projecting business travel to be 23 percent below its pre-pandemic levels in 2022. Along with that, the American Hotel and Lodging Association says its industry has lost $108 billion over 2020 and 2021.

Despite the national drop, the Rochester hotels are seeing a steady number of travelers.

But it has been a long journey for the entertainment and hospitality industry for the past two years.

“With the pandemic itself, the uncertainty, what it means to our employees, what it means to our guests. When went from being very, very slow, as slow as you can never imagine trying to figure out how you’re going to stay open,” Kahler Hospitality Group area general manager Daniel Krahn said.

“We were in the heart of the early days of the pandemic, obviously closed down by state order,” Experience Rochester president Joe Ward said.

For hotels in Rochester, business has stayed steady thanks to our medical giant that sees more than a million patients a year.

“I would say probably 75 percent of it is Mayo Clinic or hospital related,” Krahn said.

But there are other reasons folks travel to Rochester, including sports tournaments and conventions.

“As the vaccine kicked in, and people had more confidence to go out, and all of a sudden we’ve got people traveling more than we probably anticipated,” Krahn said.

The Mayo Civic Center expects to see more than 27,000 people at its event in May.

“It’s going to be a terrific May. Really want to support those businesses that have been so impacted by the pandemic,” Ward said.

The Civic Center and hotels work closely together to not only help each other, but also other downtown businesses.

“During that down time is when people are trying to get out, walk through the subways, check out the cool shops. experiment around Rochester,” Krahn said.

“We can be sort of that first foot forward for the community and be engaging with those groups, and then try to seek out the right hospitality for them in the community,” Ward said.

While we learn to live with COVID, entertainment experts say people are excited to safely reconnect in the Rochester area.

“Obviously the pandemic’s not quite over yet, and so we want to deliver a safe experience, but it’s just so fun to see enjoying themselves again getting a chance to build new relationships that we know are going to last forever and are going to great things in the future,” Ward said.

Two of the larger events the Mayo Civic Center is hosting next month are both the Republican and Democratic State Conventions. Here’s a full list of the Civic Center’s public events.

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