Event planners who are attending the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) annual meeting in Detroit Aug. 8-11 have hopefully secured guest room reservations. Downtown Detroit is facing a hotel room shortage that becomes especially evident when big conventions convene in the Motor City.

More than 5,000 delegates are expected to gather for ASAE event, and the ASAE website indicates that 12 of its 14 partner hotels are already fully booked. These include Aloft Detroit at The David Whitney, Atheneum Suite Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott, Crowne Plaza Detroit, Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, Greektown Casino-Hotel, Hilton Garden Inn, Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, MGM Grand Detroit, MotorCity Casino Hotel and The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit.

The two ASAE partner properties currently showing room availability Aug. 8-11 are Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Detroit- Dearborn and Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport. They are located 10.5 and 21 miles respectively from the Cobo Center, where the convention will take place.

Downtown Detroit is Booming

As Sherri Welch points out on Crainsdetroit.com, Cobo Center is one of the largest convention centers in the country. Although Metro Detroit has added more than 17,000 new hotel rooms over the past 30 years, the majority are in outlying suburban areas. More hotel rooms are needed in the thriving downtown district, which is currently experiencing a great renaissance. STR Inc., a Tenn.-based hotel consulting firm, notes that the downtown Detroit/Dearborn region has added just 2,100 rooms since 1987 — the earliest year it has on record.

Cobo recently underwent a $299 million renovation—giving it the clout to attract larger conventions—however new properties must open or existing hotels must expand in order to accommodate the growing demand for guest rooms in downtown Detroit. Michael O’Callaghan, executive vice president and COO of the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau, told Welch that “the real push for new hotel development in the decade to come will be from events,” adding that the largest growth is expected in downtown Detroit and Novi, near the Suburban Collection Showplace.

Over the past few decades, the largest growth occurred in outlying regions such as Livonia, Romulus, Troy and Auburn Hills.

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