A motorcoach arrival and departure lounge, designed expressly for the group travel market, will open in late summer, at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Suites, in Hudson. The target date for opening is Aug. 1.
Group Sales Manager David Johnson said the new facility, on the western or back side of the hotel opposite the east side's main entrance, is intended to allow easy check-in for group tours and avoid the hotel's busy front desk.
"Tour takers are no more than 400 feet to any room in the hotel from the motorcoach wing," Johnson said. A 24-foot canopy will protect coach passenger debarking in rainy weather and a major part of the project is an elevator which will allow the hotel to use the second floor for senior groups, not possible previously. An adjacent hospitality room allows quick set-up for welcome receptions.
The Clarion hosted 100 motor coaches in 2012 and will grow that business to 150 in 2013. Roughly 80 percent of the hotel's tour business is senior groups.
The 237-room hotel is located at Exit 180 of the Ohio Turnpike and State Route 8, 9 miles North of I-77 and state route 8 interchange.
A new nearby attraction expected to drive group business to the Northeast Ohio area is a Hard Rock racino, a $250 - 300 million gambling and entertainment complex to be built at Northfield Park, an existing harness race track, just 7 miles North of the Clarion. Opening is slated for late 2013 or early 2014.
Other attractions in close proximity include the Cuyahoga Valley Line, a restored rail line within the Cuyahoga National Park the downtown and suburban attractions in Cleveland, Akron and Hudson.
In addition to group tours, the Clarion, a full service property with a restaurant, full service lounge and indoor pool, hosts a substantial sports teams business with quick access to playing fields at local Universities in both Akron and Kent.
The hotel sales team is headed by Debby Sankoe and the hotel is overseen by General Manager Tom Hibsman.