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New hotel could change game for business travelers

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer
The new Hampton Inn in Lincolnton had a “soft opening” on Thursday, with the official ribbon-cutting ceremony set for Friday.
As a highly anticipated addition to town, the hotel will provide much-needed rooms for visitors to the area, particularly business travelers.
Barry Matherly, executive director of the Lincoln Economic Development Association, said the additional lodging is “just the beginning of more options.”
Matherly noted that LEDA, which was instrumental in the inn’s decision to open a location here, had several discussions on possible site selections, with the hotel chain ultimately picking what worked best for it.
He added that sign visibility and a close proximity to U.S. 321, as well as to restaurants and other hotels, factored into the decision.
Matherly said several local industries had stressed to LEDA that they needed another option for where they could book rooms for visitors and hold events. LEDA conducted a survey of those industries and discovered that the number-one hotel brand wanted was Hampton Inn, which Matherly said was probably due to people wanting to get points for loyalty clubs.
In addition, Matherly said companies cited the need for rooms for training seminars and also for bringing in
vendors, suppliers and corporate staff visiting from headquarters based elsewhere.
“It will be well-used in the business community because they asked for it,” he said of the Hampton Inn.
Furthermore, he pointed out that there are many downtown Lincolnton events that will bring people to the hotel.
From surveying local companies, Matherly also believes there will still be demand for more options, such as hotels with suites for business travelers staying for extended periods of time. He said LEDA will continue to look for other development prospects.
In the meantime, Matherly emphasized that the Hampton Inn will help keep visitors’ money in the area, whereas before many would stay outside Lincoln County. The hotel should also benefit local retailers, such as restaurants and gas stations, by providing additional customers from those staying in its rooms.

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