CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — The hotel industry seems to be the fastest growing industry in North Central West Virginia, with new chains opening and properties developing all along the Interstate 79 corridor.
Harrison County has experienced the most growth to its hotel industry, Harrison County Chamber of Commerce President Kathy Wagner said.
“We’ve certainly seen a significant surge in hotels in our county,” Wagner said. “We’re up to 16 in Harrison County within a seven-mile stretch of I-79. The last couple years we’ve had higher than average occupancy rates, and that’s what attracted them to this area.”
Both hotel managers and business professionals agree that Harrison County’s surge of hotels came with the boom of the oil and gas industry.
“Looking back at several years ago we had pretty much nothing,” said Devann Hoffman, general manager of Comfort Suites in Bridgeport. “But it’s grown drastically in price range, as well as the amount of beds available.”
Comfort Suites celebrated its one-year anniversary Friday, and Hoffman already has seen changes in the region’s hotel industry.
“When we first opened, within a week we were sold out,” she said. “There wasn’t enough beds to cover the demand in the area with the oil and gas industry, but then the market kind of went down in March.”
Hoffman said the oil and gas industry’s decline has led area hotels to experience a reduction in business…