Golden Valley Hotels Hit Hard by COVID-19
Golden Valley hotels had plenty of optimism heading into spring. A couple marquee Twin Cities sporting events were supposed to be staged in March. Those included the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship and the 2020 Cross Country Ski World Cup to be held at Theodore Wirth Park.
Then the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Minnesota came March 15.
“They’ve absolutely been hit hard,” said Becky Bakken of Discover St. Louis Park, an organization that also helps promote Golden Valley. “Our hotels were poised to have a really good second quarter. The economy was good. Businesses were doing their usual thing.”
Golden Valley hotels include the Holiday Inn Express & Suites and the Ramada by Wyndham hotel. They suffered an immediate gut punch.
“When things changed, they changed on a dime,” said Bakken. “The hotels knew from that very first week in March, that March would be difficult, but April and May would be more be even more difficult and that’s what we’re experiencing right now.”
The pair of hotels in Golden Valley also benefit from their proximity to Target
Field. But with the Minnesota Twins season currently on pause, no games, means no fans staying in nearby Golden Valley.
“They absolutely fill up,” Bakken said. “This is a big drive market and the Twins are such a draw for folks from Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and outstate Minnesota. This is a great place for them to stay, two exits to Target Field. Not having the Twins is a real hit for this area.”
COVID-19 Pandemic Challenging Bars and Restaurants Too
An extension of those hotels are bars and restaurants that visitors would frequent. JJ’s Clubhouse, Good Day Cafe, Super Moon Asian restaurant, TGI Fridays and Yangtze Restaurant are all in close proximity.
“It’s challenging,” Bakken said. “You’re hearing the unemployment numbers and of course a lot of those numbers are coming from this hospitality industry. The restaurants, so many of them are doing their best to maintain a presence, but the takeout and curbside delivery doesn’t really make up for everything.”
One challenge of the pandemic is that know one knows where the finish line is and how long the hardship will go on.
“Tourism and the hospitality industry is such an important part, such a vibrant part of our economy,” Bakken said. “It’s not just the economic side. It’s the social vitality for all of us as individuals. I think it’s really been an eye-opener for all of us just how important this industry is.”
Despite these bleak times, Bakken is optimistic that Golden Valley and other cities will power through and travel will make a comeback.
“We believe that there will be a pent-up demand for people to get out and do things,” Bakken said. “Our market might look a little different for awhile. We’re a pretty strong drive market anyway, but it might be a little bit more Minnesotans doing things in Minnesota, including our business travelers.”
Bakken also sees one more positive.
“We have a lot of groups and even individuals, folks that have planned weddings and other personal things as well, that are saying, ‘when can we rebook?’ not just, ‘when can we cancel?'”
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