What hotel growth means to Downtown Knoxville

Local News

New and renovated hotels are cropping up in and around Scruffy City. 

And what’s not to love about those who visit Knoxville? With the East Tennessee sights, sounds and unique boutiques as well as breweries, plus sports teams both pro and collegiate, Knoxville is continuing to draw crowds from near and far – all needing to stay somewhere, like local hotels. 

We looked into the state of Downtown Knoxville’s hotel offerings and where the local hospitality industry is heading. 

It being springtime, Knoxville is well worth exploring for the Cuthbertson family, who call Chicago home. 

“Market Square, I love this,” says Cindy Cuthbertson of Chicago. “It’s really cute. The bars, local restaurants, I love it.” 

Families like theirs are common among hotel guests. The Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association saying there are currently 10 hotels in Downtown Knoxville. 

“I think this is a very dynamic market and we’re at the right place, right time, with the right hotel,” says Mike Sellge, the general manager of the Courtyard Residence Inn Knoxville Downtown. 

The Courtyard Residence Inn Knoxville Downtown officially opened in late February, a plan they say has been in the works for two years. 

“If you look at some of the other smaller cities around the country that are beginning to grow, they’re growing from their downtown areas now,” Sellge said. 

Basic economics beg a simple question: What does this kind of growth mean for our downtown when it comes to supply…and demand? 

“The positive is that will give the city a little bit more opportunity to go after some more business, maybe that’ll catch up. There’s certainly some ebb and flow into those type of things… we’ll just take it as it comes and understand it’s still a fantastic place to do business,” says Paul Jordan of Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association. 

That business side of growth including conventions, meetings, sporting events like the recent Bassmaster Classic, festivals, film projects, and more. 

“It’s huge if you think about the big picture,” says Kim Bumpas of Visit Knoxville. “I mean, just think about the event we had with Bassmaster Classic, all those people came to town and then we also filmed an hour-long TV show that people are going to watch on the web or on their TV – and it’s going to show them why they should visit Knoxville.”

So, putting it all together, Visit Knoxville saying the growth is all good for tourism. But, can you have too many downtown hotels? 

“There’s probably always a supply-and-demand in a place where you can get to capacity but we’re not there right now,” Bumpas says. “They’re coming in very naturally. So we’re able to bring in business to help support them as they’re opening.”

Greater Knoxville Hospitality Association weighing in at the positive side as well: 

“Your market can’t grow unless you’re growing these types of things,” Jordan says. 

Many saying with the recent growth of fun, businesses – and hotels as well, they’re excited by what’s happening and what will happen. 

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