This time of year is a big one for conventions, and the City of Huntsville has worked hard for (and is glad to) have them. But it also means hotels across Huntsville and Madison County are booked up for the next few weeks.
"It means a great economic boost for Huntsville, which is a great thing," said Jessica Carlton, marketing manager of the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
But it also has a downside. "There are definitely larger conventions that we can't recruit right now because we don't have the room inventory," said Carlton.
She said it would be helpful if Huntsville had a larger hotel, to better accommodate big conventions. Huntsville city officials tell us they've researched the issue and decided that 1,000 rooms would be the sweet spot.
A hotel that size would provide a lot of things for meeting planners, Carlton said. "They can be in walking distance of the convention center... and they can fit all their groups in one location," she explained.
But recruitment is still in the preliminary, exploratory stages, so it's still in a research phase. Von Braun Center officials say they've put out letters of interest to a group of developers hoping to interest them in a Huntsville location, and they still plan to send out more. That's a first step in a long process to attract a hotel of the right size to Huntsville, so it's not even on the horizon yet. But city leaders say they're hopeful there will be movement down the road, and recognize it would be very good for the Rocket City and its surrounding communities.