Sept. 28--GREENSBORO -- The $3 million in renovations on the Marriott were planned at a good time -- it'll soon have a lot more competition downtown.
The hotel had a party Tuesday to celebrate the completion of renovations that it started about a year ago.
"We've been bouncing back from the economy and we've been able to put more money in it," Marriott sales manager Kahla Hartman said.
Major chains typically require their hotels to do renovations every seven years, said a national hotel expert based in Greensboro.
"They do it to maintain their relevance in the marketplace," said David Pope, a principal with Hotel and Club Associates.
But the Marriott's status as the only downtown conference hotel might change soon.
Two local developers have announced plans to build hotels downtown.
Pope, whose company specializes in hotel appraisals and consulting assignments nationwide, said major chains don't necessarily compete with hotels down the street.
He declined to speculate about the new hotels planned for downtown and this market, but explained the strengths of a hotel chain like Marriott.
Such major hotels draw travelers to the broader city, wherever they're located. That's because major chains have the power of rewards or points programs that keep routine travelers loyal to one brand. The more they stay at one hotel chain, the more rewards they earn -- like airline promotions.
"Brand strength is extremely important and it's a fact of life," Pope said.
A Marriott's success depends on competing brands throughout the region, he added.
"The customer loyalty programs are an important factor in the success of those hotels," Pope said. "A big-box, full-service Marriott hotel competes on a broader scale than just the smaller submarket."
The first two floors of the Greensboro Marriott, which include the lobby, bar and meeting spaces, received new carpets, artwork and other updates.
The corporate office made most decisions, but the company used a local interior decorator and Winston-Salem based Landmark Builders.
The hotel on North Greene Street went up in 1985, built originally as a Sheraton. It also had a stint as a Hilton before becoming a Marriott in 2000.
On a broader scale, it's one of the region's major hotels in terms of size if not always profile.
In downtown, the Marriott's 281 rooms have little competition. The Biltmore Greensboro Hotel, a boutique hotel on West Washington Street, lacks conference space and holds only 26 rooms.
But more competitors are coming.
Local developer Roy Carroll announced in August that he's planning a seven- or eight-story midmarket hotel on North Eugene Street.
Less than a week later, developer Randall Kaplan announced he's planning a 180-room conference hotel on South Elm Street.
"It could be competition," Hartman said. "I think we'll be fine. And of course, the renovation helps."
Staff Writer Richard M. Barron contributed to this report.
Contact Kelly Poe at (336) 373-7003, and follow @kelly_poe on Twitter.