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DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld broke ground May 17 on an expansion project that will add 40,000 sq. ft. of new indoor/outdoor meeting space to the 1,004-room property, which already features 60,000 sq. ft. of conference center space, 36 breakout rooms and 7 outdoor venues.

With the expansion, DoubleTree by Hilton is underscoring its commitment to its meeting and events business. The business/leisure hotel is within walking distance of Orange County Convention Center. It features many high tech amenities, including wireless internet access, large-screen image magnification technology, high-definition teleconferencing capabilities and business center services.

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“Our hotel is one of the largest DoubleTree properties in the world, so it is important that we continue to branch out and expand our already-impressive portfolio of services, amenities and onsite venues,” said Director of Sales & Marketing Steven Green in a press release. “Once complete, the new conference center and event space and accompanying services will result in more productive meetings, more seamless events and more memorable special occasions, all enjoyed in a more beautiful setting.”

The picturesque resort sits on 28 acres and boasts 3 swimming pools, 7 restaurants, L’Esprit Day Spa, a fitness center, a miniature golf course and a putting green. Located just 15 minutes from Orlando International Airport (MCO), the hotel offers free shuttle transportation to the theme parks.

Growth in the Orlando Market

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Orlando Business Journal reports that AWH Partners, the group that owns DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando at SeaWorld, is carefully eying the Central Florida market, and alludes that the organization may initiate further projects in the region. AWH also owns the Sheraton Lake Buena Vista Resort near Walt Disney World.

“We believe we need more space and a larger single ballroom [at DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando]. So we will have a single ballroom over 20,000 sq. ft. that alone will allow us to take on some new groups we otherwise couldn’t take,” Russ Flicker, co-manager and founding partner of AWH Partners, told Orlando Business Journal.

He notes that Orlando has become a four-season market, with hotels achieving an 80 percent occupancy rate year-round.

Orlando Tourism is Exploding

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In early May Visit Orlando reported that the city drew a record 66.1 million people in 2015, a growth of 5.5 percent since 2014. It holds the title as the most visited destination in the United States. Over the past two decades hotel inventory has grown by more than 37 percent, rising to 117,000 guest rooms in 2015, and visitation to the destination has more than doubled.

The anticipated opening of new attractions at Orlando’s famed theme parks is expected to further drive tourism.