DETROIT-Many September hotel occupancy rates are falling in Michigan to a rate of 25 percent, and no one knows when people are going to feel like taking vacations again after the vicious Sept. 11 attacks.

However, business must go on, and a local hotel lobbyist is trying to encourage the hotel market to jump back on its feet and do what it does best – relaxing weary American travelers.

Steve Yencich, president of Michigan Hotel, Motel and Resort Association, is telling the companies that it’s a good idea to try to get people renting rooms again to stimulate the economy and save the state hotel market.

Hotels and motels along the highways seem to be doing okay, according to Yencich, but others that rely on air travel for sustenance are seeing business fall significantly. “They are very dependent on airline travel, and we won’t see a rise in business until we see people back in the air,” Yencich tells

“Members across the state are reporting significant to drastically lower reservations. Hotels dependent on out-of-state travel appear to be the hardest hit, but even smaller independent resort properties are reporting cancellations and lower occupancy rates.” Convention hotels were the hardest hit, Yencich says, since many planned programs and events have been canceled because of safety concerns.

Hospitality companies must change short-term advertising and marketing, including creating special “weekend getaway” packages that can be linked to local restaurants and vacation spots, Yencich says. Also, properties must reorganize their working plans to try to attract the walk–in over the person from out-of-state.

Planned hotel projects in metropolitan Detroit have stalled because of the economy, such as a 10-story, 200-room Hilton Garden Suites Hotel planned in Detroit by the Ferchill Group of Chicago, and the 150-room hotel project planned for Royal Oak by the Schostak Bros. of Southfield. “We’re not there yet where projects that are started are stopping, but those on the drawing board, well, it’s not a surprise to hear plans have been shelved temporarily.”

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