Commercial Real Estate

New hotel: Fayetteville lodging industry is Army strong

By Scott Nunn, posted 4 months ago

From tanks to self-propelled rocket launchers, Fort Bragg soldiers drive a lot of big vehicles. Soldiers and their families also drive the local economy. Now, with two decades of major deployments over, Bragg is back to its full complement of more than 50,000 soldiers working on base. According to base leaders and local officials, the addition of 15,000 troops back home will be felt in the local economy. 

It’s a number not lost on area businesses, including Newport Hospitality Group, a Virginia-based hotel management group that’s building a Home2 Suites by Hilton at 6309 Ramsey St., near the intersection of Interstate 295 and U.S. Highway 401. 
Carey is bullish on Bragg as well as the local market in general. 

“Fayetteville continues to be a strong lodging market, driven by Fort Bragg and a vibrant local business economy,” Carey told the Greater Fayetteville Business Journal. “We chose this site as it sits in a high-growth corridor with excellent access to downtown Fayetteville and Fort Bragg.” 

NHG operates 57 hotels nationwide and six in North Carolina, including the 114-room Candlewood Suites Fort Bragg and 115-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott in Fayetteville. 

“We are thrilled to be starting construction of our third hotel in the Fayetteville market,” Carey said. “The local business community has been a strong partner for over 10 years and we are excited to bring this new hotel to the community.” 

As NHG’s other Fayetteville locations continue to see strong demand, Carey said the Home2 Suites will offer another alternative. The 110-unit, all-suite hotel will have a full living space and sleeping area as well as a fully stocked kitchen, fitness room, indoor saltwater pool, outdoor sundeck and a grilling area. 

“The Home2 Suites by Hilton brand typically attracts travelling business people as well as transient families who desire a larger room with some cooking capability,” Carey said. “The hotel will provide travelers to Fayetteville a comfortable convenient hotel option with great access to local points of interest.” 

Nationally, the lodging industry reported a strong summer in the wake of falling COVID-19 rates and people eager to travel again. But industry analysts say autumn has been uneven for the sector. 

The consulting firm PwC, which tracks the lodging industry, notes: “As kids headed back to school, individual business travel and group demand that historically replaces summer leisure business post Labor Day has yet to surface, with office re-openings pushed later into 2021 or early 2022 as a result of the variant(s) of the virus.” 

Although the lodging business in the Greater Fayetteville area has not been immune to the impact of COVID-19, Carey said it has fared better here than in other areas. 

“While the hospitality market has suffered from COVID, the Fayetteville market has remained generally strong,” Carey said. “Fort Bragg has continued to create strong demand.”

That’s a view echoed by Shari Fiveash, president and CEO of the Greater Fayetteville Chamber. 

“During COVID most of the country was running a hotel occupancy rate below 10%,” Fiveash said. “But in Fayetteville it remained much higher, like 30% to 50%. That is unheard of, and yes, the military drove the occupancy.” 

And it’s not only active-duty military personnel who keep the demand for lodging strong. Officials with the Fayetteville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau say that events such as military reunions are a significant part of the area’s hospitality business. Fayetteville also is a popular destination for large-scale sporting events, many that are held outdoors, lessening the impact of COVID on events such as indoor meetings and conferences. 

As business slowly but surely bounces back for the lodging industry, PwC sees two positive trends: hiring continues to ramp up as with increased occupancy and stronger demand means hotels are able to get a higher rate per room. 

As for rates at the new facility: “We expect that will be guided by the local market dynamics,” Carey said.

 Meanwhile, with close to 100 hotels in the area, he knows that NHG facilities need to stand out: 

“The Hilton brand affiliation and the room configuration make Home2 a highly desired option,” he said. “It offers extended-stay amenities at a reasonable price.” 

And the way to keep customers coming back and rooms full? Simple, Carey said: “Deliver wonderful guest experiences.” 

The 3.5-acre parcel for the new hotel is owned by Newport Ramsey II, a Virginia-based limited liability corporation formed in 2018. Carey is listed as the manager. According to county records, Newport Ramsey purchased the undeveloped parcel for $800,000 on Oct. 29 from GCMMB, a Fayetteville-based limited liability corporation.

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