Why Boston Waterfront Needs More Hotel Rooms

Following the release of a hotel management report compiled by a hotel management advisor, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority Executive Director David Gibbons stated that the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) will not undergo a planned expansion until another issue is fixed: the lack of hotel rooms walking distance to the center.

“We have a beautiful convention venue that has a fatal flaw: It does not have enough hotel rooms,” says Gibbons.

Because of the lack of accommodations, the BCEC and its sister property, Hynes Convention Center, are being turned down by planners, who claim the hotels in the area don’t offer blocks or group room rates.

Gibbons plans to persuade public officials and industry leaders that more hotels need to be built in the area before talks of expansion can begin.

While the report itself did not specify how many more rooms are needed, Gibbons said the convention center could use as many as 2,000 additional rooms in the neighborhood. Several hotels opened in South Boston in recent years, but the new report shows that two of those facilities don’t have any rooms committed to convention blocks.

Hotel managers throughout the city are making fewer rooms available for convention blocks, because of the high demand they’re seeing from other business and leisure travelers.

A 2015 report by Curbed Boston claimed that the city anticipated at least 3,745 new hotel rooms by 2018, but it appears the majority of properties near the convention center are also boutique hotels.

The Element Boston Seaport by Westin (180 rooms) is one-half mile from the convention center, located in a dual-branded complex with the newly opened Aloft Boston Seaport (330 rooms). The Godfrey Hotel Boston, also a luxury boutique, opened in fall 2015 with 242 rooms.

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