Travel to Butler County continues to remain strong due to a variety of factors, including its convenient location between Cincinnati and Dayton, according to Tracy Kocher, director of marketing for the Butler County Visitors Bureau.
That rapid growth looks to be sustainable, Kocher said.
“Hotel occupancies and room rates continue to be strong especially in comparison to statewide numbers,” she said. “Developers and their research teams are continuing to see the Butler County area as a good place to invest their dollars over the long term.”
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New hotels and renovated properties offer a variety of new options for travelers to the area. Both Aloft and Avid are relatively new brands with different amenities that cater to changing and younger travel preferences, Kocher said. Other new builds like the Hampton Inn and Towneplace Suites also offer refreshed design and a variety of new options for visitors.
“As existing Butler County hotels also go under renovation, they evolve to offer new amenities for guests as well,” she said.
The hotel industry’s explosive growth has been a shot in the arm for the county’s lodging tax, which soared to nearly $1.7 million in 2018. That’s a significant jump from the $655,106 in lodging tax amassed in 2006 and even the $910,873 earned in 2009.
That lodging tax is used by local governments to develop new and support existing infrastructure. Without visitors, each Butler County resident would have to pay approximately an additional $653 a year in taxes, according to BCVB data.
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The new and existing hotels are an important part of supporting the county’s efforts to support tourism, which had a $1.17 billion impact on the county last year with visitors touching every facet of the region from airports to local fast food restaurants. It employed more than 14,700 people, according to a Toursim Economic 2017 study.
That represents 7.1 percent growth in 2015, 6.4 percent growth in 2017 and 2.7 percent growth in 2018, according to the study.
BCVB-hosted sporting events welcomed more than 165,00 athletes and spectators in 2018, with those visitors pumping an estimated $40 million into the local economy, Kocher said.
In 2017, tourism in Butler County generated $140 million in taxes. This includes $70.3 million in state and local taxes.
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A strong travel sector is critical for the local economy, Kocher said.
“People who visit us not only spend money at hotels, but they also shop locally, dine at area restaurants, use gas stations, medical facilities and many other amenities while here,” she said. “This influx of money helps support residents through job opportunities, increased entertainment options, and stronger community resources and amenities. Communities and businesses grow and are more vibrant as a result of travel.”
Butler County isn’t the only area seeing hotel growth. In Warren County, there’s a Tru Hotel slated to begin construction in Monroe and open by 2020, and a new Holiday Inn Express will be constructed nearby next to the Hampton Inn near Walmart.
Hotels under construction in Butler County and when they are scheduled to open
• Aloft, West Chester Twp.: mid-September
• Hampton Inn, West Chester.: December or January
• Towneplace Suites by Marriott, Fairfield: early 2020
• Hyatt House, Liberty Twp.: no opening date slated
• Avid, West Chester: summer 2020
• Spooky Nook at Champion Mill hotel, Hamilton: third quarter 2021
Hotels opened in the past 5 years in Butler County
• Hilton Garden Inn, West Chester: 2014
• AC Hotels by Marriott, Liberty: 2015
• Homewood Suites by Hilton, West Chester: 2015
• Holiday Inn Centre Park, West Chester: 2015
• Home2 Suites by Hilton, Liberty: 2016
• Holiday Inn Express, West Chester: 2018
Source: Butler County Visitors Bureau
Hotel/Lodging Tax collected in Butler County
Source: Butler County Auditor’s Office