The San Fernando Valley region’s largest hotels experienced some changes through new price-point marketing and renovations in 2010, while the beginning of 2011 marked even larger changes for others.
The largest hotel this year is the Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport hotel with 488 rooms, followed by the Holiday Inn Burbank Media Center with 484 rooms. The Hilton Los Angeles/ Universal City hotel is in third place with 483 rooms.
The Los Angeles Marriott Burbank Airport hotel changed the way it advertised its rates in an effort to reach a wider audience over the past year. Instead of just advertising and listing the hotel’s average or highest rates, it is now including rates that reflect weekend deals and rates available during slow periods on Web sites such as Expedia.com, said Reginald McDowell, the hotel’s general manager.
“We feel that we might have cut ourselves out of a segment of people that wouldn’t even look at us if our rates were always published very high,” McDowell said.
The Holiday Inn Burbank Media Center, on the other hand, made physical changes. As part of a larger renovation project that started a year and a half ago, the hotel spent time in 2010 giving its room complete makeovers with new carpeting, furniture, wallpaper, bathroom tiles and other fixtures, said Ani Yadgaryan, the hotel’s sales manager.
The work has continued into 2011, with renovations of the lobby, ballroom and restaurant to follow.
“We have maybe one year at least we need to go with remodeling,” Yadgaryan said.
Along with the changes, the Holiday Inn Burbank Media Center has seen business improve, having been sold out for the past four to six weeks, Yadgaryan said.
Other hotels have also seen the industry turn.
“We’re seeing a huge recovery, especially this first quarter alone compared to last year,” said Ron Silva, general manager of Sportsmen’s Lodge Hotel. “Mostly our transient guest (business) had picked up. … Our local residents are actually coming back now.”
Vincent Singletary, general manager of the Hampton Inn in Santa Clarita said his hotel is expected to have year-over-year growth of 5 percent in 2011.
The beginning of this year has been a major game changer for the local hotel scene, with a hotel having been acquired by a Chinese company, the opening of new boutique hotel and another hotel being bought out by a mall developer.
On Jan. 5, Shenzhen New World Co. purchased the Sheraton Universal Hotel for $90 million. The new owner plans to continue renovations and attract more Chinese travelers.
February marked the opening of the 58-room BLVD Hotel & Spa in Studio City, making it the third boutique hotel in the San Fernando Valley. Mohammad Yousuf, the hotel’s general manager, said business has been even better than expected since the opening.
“The word is spreading,” he said. “We currently have over 75 percent occupancy, which I was thinking (we would) have by June or July. So, it looks like we will have close to 100 percent occupancy by July or August.”
Another major hotel change occurred in March. The owner of the Golden Key Hotel in Glendale has agreed to sell the hotel property to Caruso Affiliated, the developer of The Americana at Brand. The property will eventually be used to expand the shopping center.