Ohio has a new largest hotel after the Hilton Columbus unveiled its 463-room expansion, taking the room count to over 1,000 rooms. H&LA’s David Sangree weighed in for this Cleveland.com article about the Hilton Columbus, indicating the hotel may struggle in its first year due to adding so many rooms in a market that is still recovering fully from the pandemic.
Published by: Cleveland.com/Susan Glaser
Published: October 2022
Move over, Kalahari. Ohio has a new largest hotel and it’s open for business just north of downtown Columbus.
The newly expanded Hilton Columbus Hotel now has 1,000 rooms on either side of High Street, connected to the Greater Columbus Convention Center in the city’s Short North neighborhood.
The hotel’s new 463-room, 28-story tower opened last week on the east side of High Street, attached by skybridge to the original Hilton Columbus, built in 2012 with 537 rooms.
They’re also both publicly owned and financed, although their funding mechanisms are different. The Cleveland Hilton, open in 2016, is owned by Cuyahoga County and was financed primarily from revenue generated from a quarter-cent sales tax increase. The Columbus Hilton is owned by the Franklin County Convention Facilities Authority, which also owns the convention center and Nationwide Arena, and was financed primarily through bonds, to be paid off via hotel profits, bed-tax revenue and other sources.
Room rates vary, but start at about $175 per night.
Brown said it will take a couple of years before the new Hilton ramps up to its occupancy goals of approximately 70%.
He noted that while the number of events hosted at the convention center has picked up substantially in 2022, attendance is still below 2019 levels.
Hotel consultant David Sangree said the new hotel tower’s timing is remarkably good — it secured financing before the pandemic hit and opened as the group travel business started gearing up again.
“In the first year, it will struggle a bit because it’s adding so many rooms,” said Sangree, president of Cleveland’s Hotel and Leisure Advisors. “The market is definitely improving, although it’s not where it was yet in 2019.”
In addition, the new Hilton tower isn’t the only new hotel in Columbus. Prior to the pandemic, the city was experiencing a mini-hotel building boom, adding numerous new properties in the Short North and Arena District neighborhoods, including the Graduate Columbus, Moxy Columbus Short North, Canopy by Hilton and AC by Marriott.