Potential challenges for The Karol Hotel

US: A Marriott Tribute Portfolio hotel, The Karol, moves towards its opening day with several challenges ahead.

Set to open in December, the nine-storey, 123-room hotel is the first of the Tribute Portfolio to open in Pinellas County, Florida.

“The Tribute Portfolio is a small but growing brand within Marriott,” said The Karol’s general manager, Adam Duffey. He explained that Marriott inherited the brand when it acquired Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide.

Starwood had since been developing the Tribute Portfolio in response to Marriott’s Autograph Collection.

Mainsail Lodging & Development will operate The Karol, which has been developed by The Bullard Group.

Bullard and Mainsail intend to attract local residents and workers to The Karol with the addition of a rooftop bar, dubbed Vantage.

A separate side entrance that leads directly into the first-floor bar and restaurant area is also expected to encourage non-overnight visitors.

“A lot of our business will be that Monday-through-Thursday corporate traveller, so the weekends will be a little slower, which is extremely common for the area,” said senior sales manager, Lindsey Ferguson. “That’s where we think having the rooftop bar will give us an advantage over our two main competitors here: Hilton Carillon Park and St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater.”

Duffey added: “On average, our first-quarter occupancy rate is projected to be around 90 percent or so. During the summer, when it’s a little softer, it’ll be around 70 per cent or so. Then we’ll bounce back in the fall to around 80 per cent.”

In addition to the rooftop bar and first-floor bar and restaurant, The Karol will also include a ballroom, two executive conference rooms, a swimming pool and a fitness centre.

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