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Savannah, GA Authority Issues RFP’s for
Convention Center Hotel Development

Savannah, GA;  April 2, 2010   The Georgia International and Maritime Trade Center Authority (“GIMTCA”) is evaluating the  potential for a convention center headquarters hotel to be developed adjacent and connected to the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center on Hutchinson Island.  RFP’s for the development and management of the hotel can be accessed by following the link below.

Meeting planners considering Savannah as a convention and large scale meeting destination consistently cite the lack of a sufficient number of “convention quality” hotel rooms in immediate proximity to the convention center as a major factor in their site selection decision to not stay in Savannah.  As a result, Savannah misses out on a significant number of convention and trade shows which otherwise would strongly favor the venue.  

A convention center hotel next to the Center would have two main objectives: first would be to satisfy current demand from convention customers who want to book Savannah but can’t get enough rooms close enough to the convention center itself.  Second, the hotel’s objective must also be to increase lodging demand in Savannah as a whole.  “This hotel will broaden lodging demand in general and support Savannah’s strong existing leisure demand.  It must complement, not compete with, other Savannah hotels”, says Mark Smith, Chairman of GIMTCA.  “If this hotel brings new group business to Savannah, which will generate incremental tourism dollars into our community, then it makes sense.  Our studies show it would do just that.”

Joseph Marinelli, President of the Savannah Convention and Visitors Bureau states, “Savannah has developed a number of mid-size, select service hotels downtown that are perfect for our strong leisure market.  But the group segment of lodging demand that wants to come to Savannah needs not just rooms and meeting facilities, but adjacency to our convention center in order to allow Savannah to move to the top of meeting planner’s site selection lists”.

Bob Coffey, General Manager of the SMG managed convention center, echoes the prevailing sentiment:  “Savannah has great convention center facilities, many attractions in a really beautiful city, but meeting planners have told us that they need closer proximity to the convention center itself.  They have told us that they have a need to house convention attendees as close to if not right next to the convention center.”

The RFP’s for the development and hotel management of the proposed convention center hotel can be accessed at:


Gail Terrell

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