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Hospitality in Sandy Springs still thriving
by Bobby Tedder
btedder@neighbornewspapers.com
July 02, 2013 01:28 PM | 1002 views | 0 0 comments | 27 27 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Sandy Springs hotel scene continues to thrive even amidst a crowded landscape.

That is essentially the news coming out of last week’s Sandy Springs Hospitality and Tourism Board meeting at the city’s Welcome Center.

“We’re still competitive with our really close neighbors in the Perimeter [area],” said Kym Hughes, the city’s executive director of hospitality and tourism.

Sandy Springs currently has more than 2,800 hotel rooms within its borders. City officials point to a 72 percent occupancy rate as evidence that commercial lodging entities are doing robust business.

“Our hotels are doing a great job,” Hughes said. “We [do our part] in terms of marketing and they hold the line, so it’s a perfect marriage.

“We’re all on the same page and going in the same direction … moving forward.”

Sandy Springs is even getting booked on online travel aggregators — entities that provide flight, hotel, car and cruise reservations — more than its neighbors, she noted.

The city’s average daily room rate, $80.30, puts it below Atlanta and above other metro areas like Gwinnett County.

In other business, hospitality board members touted a continued turnaround in the department’s finances.

“Things have definitely rebounded from two years ago,” said District 2 City Councilwoman Dianne Fries.

Sandy Springs Hospitality and Tourism collected $107,000 in revenue in May. An estimated $110,000 is set to be collected for June.

Officials later turned their attention to the city’s upcoming sixth annual Chattahoochee River Summer Splash.

The event, scheduled for July 27, has seen an increase in popularity since its inception.

“The city’s been so involved this year, which is awesome,” said Hughes. “We’ve had people come up every year and say, ‘We plan our vacation around this.’”

The event allows attendees to travel by kayak or raft as part of a 6-mile float along the Chattahoochee River. After completing the float, the family friendly event concludes with festivities, including live music and food, at Powers Island.

“Since Day 1, we said, ‘We don’t have a Six Flags [Over Georgia],’ said Fries. “It’s our event … and it’s starting to pull people in.”

Mayor Eva Galambos, also present at last week’s meeting, said another of the city’s attractions, the Anne Frank exhibit on Roswell Road, is currently undergoing a leadership change.

“We’re going to see how we can integrate your leadership to strengthen what’s going on [there],” Galambos told board members.
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