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Sporting Events Continue to Help Hotels Through Tough Times in Kentucky

By Robyn L. Minor, The Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Aug. 11, 2009--Sporting events continue to provide business for area hoteliers when other aspects of their businesses are down.

And while Bowling Green motels' occupancy rate is down about 7 percent for the year, according to Smith Travel Research figures, it still is doing much better than comparable markets, Vicki Fitch said Monday during a board meeting of the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Other markets are down through June ranging from 7.2 percent to 18 percent.

"So we are doing well in a bad market," board member and hotelier Leon Volkert said.

Member Imran Hussain echoed Volkert's comments, saying that all markets were down by significant percentages. Hussain is the general manager of the Holiday Inn University Plaza Hotel and is constantly studying other Holiday Inn markets.

"We are very lucky here," Hussain said.

"I want to thank you very much for whatever you are doing," he said to CVB staff members.

What they are doing includes landing new or getting recommitments for large sporting events.

In September the city will host the USTA Mixed Doubles state tennis championship in a variety of venues.

"They are expecting 500 to 650 players and that doesn't include their family members," said Amy Cardwell, sports marketing director.

Cardwell said the tournament, which was previously in western Kentucky, will be here for two years.

Bowling Green also garnered an event that's been held in Louisville for decades, the state high school football championships.

Cardwell said she is focusing on making it a unique, welcoming experience from teams who will want to come back to Bowling Green for the event again and perhaps to visit.

A Web site is under construction for the Dec. 4-5 event, Cardwell said.

Part of making that event special will be the responsibility of the newly formed Sports Master group. The organization that will provide hosts and volunteers for sporting events has had its second meeting.

"I really think this is going to turn out to be the prestigious group that I want it to be," Cardwell said.

Successful large sporting and other events require teams of volunteers, which Cardwell said she hopes this group can amass.

Bowling Green also was successful in getting an extended contract for the Daisy BB gun competition, for a minimum of two years and possibly five years. About 1,000 competitors and families come for the annual July event.

And Leachman Buick, Pontiac, GMC agreed to a one-year extension on its sponsorship for the KHSAA State Golf Championships.

Duncan Hines, CVB sales manager, said the bureau continues to work to secure more car-related events and he will focus on bringing in military- and religious-related conventions to the city.

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To see more of the Bowling Green Daily News, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.bgdailynews.com.

Copyright (c) 2009, The Daily News, Bowling Green, Ky.

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