On February 15, 2010, Downtown Los Angeles will have a reason to celebrate, or at least a new place to—a brand new JW Marriott and Ritz-Carlton are opening with the Convention Center at L.A. Live. Now the center of downtown L.A. will truly be the destination place for sports, entertainment, and business. The Convention Center headquarters hotel is something hospitality experts have been advocating for years in order to increase Los Angeles’s competitive edge in the convention market. However, this new establishment could be steep competition to other local hoteliers—even if they don’t think so.
The $900 million structure is receiving an unusually hospitable response from the local hospitality industry. Hoteliers say they don’t expect the 878-room JW Mariott or 123-room Ritz-Carlton, which also has 224 Ritz-Carlton condominiums, to be a threat to their personal businesses. (Haute Living profiled the Ritz-Carlton development last year: http://www.hauteliving.com/la/julyaug-2008-deutsch/la-comes-alive/) The manager of the nearby Westin Bonaventure Hotel believes adding these hotels will bring jobs, excitement, and assistance to the entire industry in Downtown LA. In addition, his 1,354-room hotel will sustain its top spot as largest in the city considering the Convention Center headquarters hotel will consist of 54-stories and 1,001 rooms.
The developer of the Convention Center headquarters hotel is the Anschutz Entertainment Group, and ever since they broke ground back in 2007, it has been saying this will be the focal point of the L.A. Live complex. Within 18 months of that groundbreaking, tourism officials for Los Angeles had booked more than 53 conventions for the coming years. Currently, the city’s convention and visitor’s bureau, L.A.Inc., states citywide bookings of conventions equal 20 in 2010, 22 in 2011, and 20 in 2012. Mark Liberman, president and CEO of L.A. Inc., credits this increase to L.A. Live and the new hotels.
However, the fact that officials from L.A. Inc., the Convention Center, the new hotels and other downtown hotels met with representatives from national associates probably had something to do with the increase as well. In June, executives traveled to Washington D.C. on behalf of all downtown L.A. to meet with planners and convince them that Los Angeles could handle their convention needs. With the success of the meetings came future bookings, and with the bookings will come future renovations of existing hotels.
The Convention Center headquarters hotel has been a great marketing tool for Los Angeles, and other hotels want to shine in the spotlight at well. The Westin Bonaventure is undergoing a $35 million renovation and the Los Angeles Omni will be spending $12 million on a renovation of their own, both to be completed in time for the Convention Center opening.
So as the Convention Center headquarters hotel is being viewed as a partner instead of competition by the local hotels, they also are preparing to not be forgotten. As Lester Thurow said, “A competitive world offers two possibilities: you can lose, or if you want to win—you can change.” Apparently every hotel in downtown LA is going for the win.