Airports want to be your next vacation destination
Airports around the country seem to think you’d like to spend even more times on their premises.
In the past year or so, five airports have announced plans to build their own hotel complexes in an effort to transform themselves from travel hubs into standalone destinations, reports the New York Times.
Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo approved a deal to turn the TWA Flight Center at New York City’s Kennedy International Airport into a 505-room hotel an observation and 40,000 square feet of meeting space by 2018. (JetBlue will be a minority partner in the hotel.) With the planned project, Kennedy joins a growing roster of airports that are improving their lodging accommodations as a way to compete for more tourists and business travelers. San Francisco International Airport, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Baltimore-Washington International, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport have already announced such plans. And a 14-story Westin hotel with 519 rooms and 37,000 square feet of office space at the Denver International Airport is set to open next month.
There’s demand for lodging in close proximity to airports. The Times reports that for the 12-month period that ended in August, vacancy rates at hotels that are close to airports have an occupancy rate of 75%, second only to hotels in urban areas. The on-site hotels will allow airlines to more cheaply accommodate stranded passengers, but airports also expect their new hotels to appeal to travelers who would rather be close to an air travel hub than a city center.
These projects are not without their hurdles. The Federal Aviation Administration must okay the plans to ensure a complex’s location, height, and, in some instances, building materials, meet its requirements.