Study says Bridgton can support a national hotel

By Gail Geraghty

Staff Writer

A study commissioned by the Bridgton Economic Development Corporation has concluded that the town needs, and can support, a nationally-branded hotel — one that could add another $3 million a year to the local economy.

A 65- to 75-room hotel, such as a Best Western or other such recognized name, would ideally have a conference room/banquet space, interior corridors, an exercise room and an indoor pool, concluded the study by PKF Consulting USA.

BEDC President Skip Sullivan told Bridgton selectmen Tuesday the BEDC chose PKF in large part for its comprehensive review of multiple relevant hotel-related databases. The firm is one of the three top researchers in the country of the hospitality and tourism industry.

He said the BEDC hired PKF in March, and the firm recently released the 65-page study, which will be posted soon on their website, Their study analyzed existing and potential future supply and demand in the lodging market, which involved site visits to the area, interviews with local business and government leaders, conversations with operators of potentially competitive lodging and banquet facilities, and individuals familiar with development patterns in Bridgton, as well as other market research.

“The conclusion of this PKF Consulting study was a resounding yes — Bridgton could indeed support a hotel,” Sullivan said. Such a hotel would supplement, not supplant, existing lodging housing in town, he added.

“A rising tide lifts all boats,” he told the board, in response to a question on the impact a hotel would have on Bridgton’s current motel and lodging accommodations.

A press release issued by the BEDC reiterated the points made by Sullivan at Tuesday’s meeting:

“The lack of a hotel in Bridgton forces many people visiting the area on business or vacation to travel to Portland or the Conway area to find accommodations. Because travelers and those unfamiliar with an area use the Internet to find lodging, a nationally-recognized hotel brand with interior corridors was recommended and positioned between what is called limited and select service.

“As the name implies, limited service hotels provide a minimum of services, such as a complimentary breakfast to compensate for the lack of a restaurant, little (if any) meeting space, and few other amenities. For Bridgton, however, it appears appropriate to have a hotel that does include meeting/event space to accommodate recognized local demand, a business center within the lobby, an exercise room with cardio equipment and free weights, and an indoor pool. These factors result in a hybrid type of property positioned between limited and select service.“

The study results recommended a hotel with 65-75 rooms, and between 2,400 and 3,000 square feet of meeting space to accommodate a 200-person banquet event. It further projected that such a hotel could expect to have an annual average daily occupancy of 59% and command an average daily room rate of $133. When stabilized, the hotel could expect to fill approximately 14,000 room nights a year. The annual gross receipts from room bookings alone are estimated to approach $1.9 million and another $200,000 from the banquet facility, creating a significant number of new jobs.

Other data suggests that a new hotel would also increase the traffic with other local motels, B&Bs, and other local businesses for purchases of goods and services. Other studies of spending by hotel guests on items such as meals, gas, gifts, and general spending while staying at a hotel show a spread in the resulting multiplier effect of between one and two times the amount spent on lodging at the hotel. Such spending could, therefore, reasonably add another $3 million or more to the local economy annually.

The release states: “It is the BEDC’s position that a new hotel could provide significant economic vitality to Bridgton. The dollars spent locally by the hotel on payroll, goods and services, as well as the dollars spent by hotel guests will be a welcomed boost to the local economy. Additional tax revenue gained through the property and payroll taxes from such a hotel would reduce the tax burden on the property owners in Bridgton.”

Sullivan said the BEDC’s next step is to attract potential nationally-recognized hotel chains to consider expanding their networks of hotels to Bridgton, as well as to find individuals who may be interested in becoming investors in such a project. He said the corporation will be working “hand-in-glove” with Anne Krieg, Bridgton’s Director of Planning, Economic and Community Development, on the project.”



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