Less room at the inns: Hotel occupancy rate climbs

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In another sign that the recession is truly over, the occupancy rate for hotels in Minneapolis has bounced back to what it was before the economy slumped. Vacationers, business travelers and convention-goers are returning and are expected to fill a higher percentage of rooms in the city in the next year, according to Meet Minneapolis.

The Business Journal reports that the hotel occupancy rate in the city stood at 72 percent at the end of 2013. That represents the highest occupancy recorded since 2005. The rate had plunged to a low of 59 percent occupancy in 2009, when business travel was sluggish. Occupancy in Minneapolis hotels has hit 72 percent twice since 1999.

Meet Minneapolis reports that bookings suggest 685,000 attendees for 2014 events are already on the books for the city. The occupancy rate is projected to hit 73 percent this year in connection with the 326 conventions or meetings that are scheduled, plus the visitors that are expected for Major League Baseball's All-Star Game. Several new hotels in the city are in the works or have broken ground.

The story added that hotels in other communities across the metro area have also rebounded, with occupancy rates of 70 percent in Bloomington and 63 percent in St. Paul. A luxury hotel is planned for the area adjacent to the Mall of America.

Last month, MPR News reported that The average hotel occupancy rate in Rochester recently hit 70 percent. Rochester is in the process of adding an estimated 2,000 rooms by 2016, according to the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau. The rooms will be available to additional visitors to Rochester who are drawn by the $6 billion Destination Medical Center expansion at the Mayo Clinic.

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