LCSN: Our high hope: Businesses anticipate increased revenue from convention center crowds

August 1, 2010. Retrieved online August 3, 2010 from Brook Stockberger, Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES — The equation is simple: More hotel guests equals more customers.

Artist Maria Christina operates Regalos y Art Gift Shop in the Ramada Palms de Las Cruces, 201 E. University Ave. She hopes the opening of the new Las Cruces Convention Center nearby later this year — construction is scheduled to be completed by December — will boost the number of visitors to Las Cruces and thus bring more traffic to the door of her little store.

“That’s our high hope that we’re hanging on to here at the gift shop,” the Las Cruces artist said. “When the Ramada is busy, we’re usually doing really well.”

Even though some of them will compete with the convention center for convention business, Helga Byndas, the general manager at Hotel Encanto de Las Cruces on South Telshor Boulevard, said many overnight lodging businesses are excited to have the convention center in town.

“I definitely think we can have a symbiotic relationship (with the convention center),” said Byndas, whose hotel does host a multitude of events. “It’ll lure more outside conventions and (when more people are in town overnight) almost every hotel makes more money.”

James Peach, who teaches economics and international business at New Mexico State University, believes the convention center will be a boon to the area.

“I think it’s going to be good, no doubt. We clearly need the facilities in Las Cruces,” Peach said. “If you think about it, on campus for example, we have the Corbett Center ballrooms, which are just inadequate for larger events.”

Peach believes success will beget success and the facilities in town that also offer conference space.

“I think it’s sort of like the Starbucks effect. People worry about effect on local coffee places when Starbucks moves to town, but generally the locals have done well,” he said. “There will be some conventions and conferences that check out the convention center first and then go to one of the other places. The more the merrier in many respects.”

The one negative he sees is the lack of a four-star hotel property. One was scheduled to be built on campus property near the convention center, but that project has been put on hold due to the economy.

“We don’t have like a Grand Hyatt or that kind of place, but we will. It’s almost inevitable,” Peach said.

Read the Las Cruces Sun-News article.

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