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LOCAL TOURISM INDUSTRY: News & Updates on Lodging, Restaurants, Attractions & more...

Published: Dec 10, 2017

Upscale Hotel Indigo Brand Boutique Property Opening in Hershey & Harrisburg Region in April 2018.

Posted Oct. 23, 2017

(This post was updated on Oct. 30, 2017 to reflect new date for opening)

Hotel Indigo Harrisburg - Hershey is slated to open at 765 Eisenhower Boulevard in PA’s Hershey & Harrisburg Region on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, according to hotel management.

Areya Management, which owns 15 hotels, purchased the former Wyndham Garden Harrisburg hotel in 2016 and closed it in January 2017 to begin converting the 149-room property to the specifications of the upscale Hotel Indigo brand, recognized for stylish and vibrant boutique hotels.

The Hotel Indigo brand is very unique, with no two hotels the same, according to Kenny Mehta, managing director of business operations at Areya Management. The interior of the one located in the Hershey & Harrisburg Region will be designed based on a local theme and include an onsite bar and restaurant, meeting rooms, boardroom, fitness center and an outdoor pool.

Guestrooms feature plush bedding, flexible work spaces, hard-surface flooring with area rugs and over-sized murals, and artwork, according to Indigo's website. Concept design pictured below.

Hotel Indigo Comp Design 2017

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, which owns the Hotel Indigo and other nationally recognized brands including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza, has previously only granted permission for the Indigo brand to be in traditionally larger high-performing markets.

"We were the first in what they consider a small market," Mehta said. "We're hoping that it will be one of the best hotels in the area."

Mehta says that the central location is ideal for easy access to Harrisburg, Hershey, and Harrisburg International Airport.

Areya Management will also move its headquarters from the west shore to the location of the new hotel when it is completed.

The first Indigo hotel opened in 2004 in Atlanta and there are 79 Hotel Indigo hotels worldwide today. The company expects to open 76 more hotels within the next three to five years.  

This announcement was first reported in a Pennlive.com article by Daniel Urie on October 22, 2017.

Pennsylvania Meetings + Events Magazine Readers' Choice Awards 2017 Announced 

Posted Oct. 5, 2017

PA Meetings + Events Magazine

Best Of PA Award Winners 2017

The following only represent winners from the Hershey & Harrisburg Region

  1. Visit Hershey & Harrisburg for Best CVB (Population Area Under 300k)
  2. Hershey Lodge for Best Hotel with Meeting/Event Space (more than 200 guest room)
  3. Warehouse Hotel at The Nook for Best Hotel with Meeting/ Event Space (fewer than 200 guest rooms)
  4. Forklift & Palate at Spooky Nook for Best Restaurant with Private Dining Space
  5. Spooky Nook Sports for Best Meeting/Event Venue (No Hotel)

Honorable Mentions as those “Nominated” or “Runner-Up” in other categories included:

  1. Appalachian Brewing Company (ABC) runner-up in category for Best Brewery with Event Space
  2. Vineyard & Brewery at Hershey runner-up in category for Best Winery with Event Space
  3. JDK Group runner-up in category for Best Meeting/Event Planning Company
  4. Premiere #1 Limousine Service runner-up in category for Best Transportation Provider

Sports Business Journal Ranks PA’s Hershey & Harrisburg Region in Nation's Top10 Minor League Sports Markets 

Posted Oct. 4, 2017

Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal ranked Pennsylvania’s Hershey & Harrisburg Region (HHR) as the nation’s seventh (#7) best minor league market in the nation for 2017. The HH Region was the only PA market and 1 of only 2 areas within the U.S. Mid-Atlantic to crack the TOP10 list in 2017. 

Sports Business Journal Logo

See Complete List of TOP10 & TOP25 Minor League Markets 2017

"The region is consistently recognized for being a top destination for sports fans from near and far for the same reasons we have become a prime destination for youth sporting events and tournaments," said Gregg Cook, Executive Director for the Hershey & Harrisburg Sports and Events Authority.

Hershey’s family-friendly atmosphere paired with Harrisburg’s blend of history, culture, and nightlife are significant contributors to the region consistently appearing on this list of top minor league sports market, according to Cook. In addition to having a loyal base of local sports fans, the region is also extremely fortunate to have world-class attractions and amenities with a wide range of affordable lodging and event venues.

"All of those factors, plus our central location to the major population centers within the Mid-Atlantic Region, make us one of the most easily accessible markets for youth sporting events and a highly desirable destination for tournament organizers," said Cook.

The Hershey & Harrisburg Region previously earned consecutive honors as the #1 Minor League Market in U.S. in 2009 & 2011 from Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal, which compiles their ranking every two years.

Bike Sharing Arrives In Harrisburg

Posted Oct. 4, 2017

Starting today, you can rent a bike to zip around Harrisburg, according to a recent report by Wallace McKelvey on Pennlive.com (Oct. 4, 2017). The bike-sharing service Zagster has set up nine stations across the capital where it will rent 55 bicycles. Two more stations are in the works.

Bikes are available for a $25 annual fee with trips of up to two hours free and $2 per hour for longer trips. They can also be rented without a membership for $2 per hour for up to 10 hours. Those who keep the bikes for more than 24 hours will be charged a $50 overtime fee. 

Ninety-three percent of proceeds are earmarked for the nonprofit Communities In Schools of Pennsylvania, which serves local students and their families.

How does the Bike Sharing System work?

  1. Download the Zagster app on your phone and join the Harrisburg bike share.
  2. Plug the bike number (For example #1234) into the app and receive a unique code to unlock the bike.
  3. Dial that lock code, remove the docking cable and use the bike. (With helmet, of course.)
  4. Return the bike at any other station. Press and hold the lock button on the keypad until the light flashes.
  5. Find the orange tab on the ring lock and slide it down.
  6. Place the docking cable from the station into the port on the ring lock. Tap "End Ride" in the Zagster app.
  7. The lock can also be used on any public bike rack with the unique code for mid-ride stops.

Coming Soon to Downtown Hershey

Posted Oct. 2, 2017

After years in the planning stage, the new Hershey Towne Center will welcome dozens of businesses when the 32,000 square-foot complex opens along West Chocolate Avenue in Hershey in 2018, according to leasing agency Bennett Williams Commercial.  

The new multi-use complex is centered around a former Post Office building in the heart of Hershey and will include two outdoor plaza areas, 400-car parking garage, and a mix of retail & restaurants, according to a report by Sue Gleiter on Pennlive.com (Oct. 2, 2017).

Businesses slated to lease space include Primanti Bros. Restaurants, Starbucks, Great Clips, Tropical Smoothie Cafe, and Jersey Mike's Subs. Lancaster-based TONO Architects and RVG Management & Development Company in Wormleysburg, PA are collaborating on the project.

Hershey Towne Center Rendering 2017

Hershey Resorts Earns "Best of Meetings Today" Readers' Choice Ranking for 2017 

Posted Sept. 2017

Meetings Today Best of 2017Each year Meetings Today opens voting for planners to determine the best hotels and resorts for meetings in North America sorted by region.

Hershey Resorts was again named among Readers' Top Choices for Meeting Space in the Eastern U.S. based on the following criteria: quality of meeting space, guest rooms, guest services and amenities, food and beverage service, efficiency and helpfulness of staff, availability of technical equipment, recreational facilities and activities, and overall value and experience. 

Hershey Resorts was among a total of six (6) facilities in Pennsylvania and the resort has received this recognition a total of 17 times from the readers of Meetings Today magazine.  

The resort includes Hershey Lodge and The Hotel Hershey, offering more than 900 guest rooms and 125,000 square-feet of flexible function space.

The Hershey Lodge is one of the largest convention facilities in PA and The Hotel Hershey is a four-star, four-diamond historic property overlooking the town of Hershey.

Recent developments at the resort include renovations of The Hotel Hershey's West Tower guest rooms, Iberian Lounge and Overlook function room. Grand view of the formal gardens and Cottages at Hotel Hershey pictured below.

Hotel Hershey - Exterior Back

The Hershey Lodge has opened a new contemporary American restaurant Fire & Grain (pictured below) and created Water Works, the new indoor pool complex.

Fire & Grain Restaurant at Hershey Lodge

For more information on this property, contact Michael Reynoldson, Managing Director of Resorts Sales at 866-726-3387 or MCReynoldson@HersheyPA.com. 

Visit Hershey & Harrisburg DMO hires Jessica Bomgardner as Content Marketing Manager

Posted July 26, 2017

In her new role as Content Marketing Manager, Harrisburg native Jessica Bomgardner (pictured below) will become the voice behind the friendly & energetic destination brand for Visit Hershey & Harrisburg, which represents Dauphin County in Pennsylvania.

Bomgardner earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications & Journalism from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania in 2009 and a Master of Arts degree in Communication & Leadership from Gonzaga University (Wash.) in 2014.

Jessica currently resides in Harrisburg with her husband, son, and rescue dog.

Bomgardner was previously a Communications Analyst at United Concordia Dental.

Jessica Bomgardner Headshot 2017

New Hotels Coming to Harrisburg International Airport in 2018

Posted July 19, 2017

July 19, 2017 - The Central Penn Business Journal reported that Restin Hospitality LLC, based in the Hershey area, kicked off construction of a Comfort Inn & Suites Harrisburg Airport hotel that is slated to open in spring 2018 near the Harrisburg International Airport

The four-story, 47,000-square-foot hotel will have 87 rooms, employ 30 people and be managed by Prestige Hospitality Group of Albany, NY. Choice Hotels International owns the Comfort Inn & Suites brand.

Reporter Jason Scott said it's the latest hotel project to emerge near the airport — developments that could entice more commercial growth in the Middletown area — and one of several active hospitality sites across Central Pennsylvania as the lodging industry nationwide bounces back from the last economic downturn. See more on his story about the new property and hotel growth.

June 20, 2017 - Pennlive.com reported Shaner Hotels recently broke ground on a new Fairfield Inn & Suites Harrisburg hotel in the Middletown area of the Hershey Harrisburg Region, marking the first hotel that will be located at the Harrisburg International Airport.

Prior to this property, the nearest hotel to the airport is approximately 7-miles away, according to the article by Daniel Urie. The 4-story hotel is slated to open in mid-to-late summer 2018 and will include a sky bridge connecting the 120-room property to the airport.

The project was financed by Kish Bank and will be managed by Shaner Hotels. See more of this article.

Spooky Nook Sports Names Jonathan Snavely Director of Marketing & Abby Dixon as Graphic Designer and Project Manager

Posted July 14, 2017

Spooky Nook Sports in East Hempfield Township named Jonathan Snavely director of marketing. He will maintain brand identity, develop marketing campaigns, and assist with developing and accomplishing strategic goals of Spooky Nook Sports, Warehouse Hotel and Forklift & Palate Restaurant. He was employed with Premiere #1 Limousine Service.

Abby Dixon was named graphic designer and project manager. She will manage marketing projects and the Spooky Nook Sports, Warehouse Hotel and Forklift & Palate Restaurant brands. She has a bachelor’s degree from Lebanon Valley College.

Mid-State Wine Among Country's Favorites Says Expedia

Posted July 7, 2017

South central PA is one of the best wine regions in the country, according to online travel company Expedia.com. This was first reported by Jason Scott in the Central Penn Business Journal on July 7, 2017.

After monitoring social media shares and posts, most notably on Instagram, Expedia rated U.S. wine regions based on six criteria: wine selection, dining options, activities, buzz factor, transportation and social media presence.

The mid-state was the only wine region in the Northeast to be featured in the company's recent ranking. The so-called taster's tally for South Central PA included a mix of threes and fours out of a possible five emojis, which were used instead of stars for ratings in each category.

The Expedia report noted that the mid-state has more than 40 wineries. However, it highlighted only a few, including The Vineyard and Brewery at Hershey and Spring Gate Vineyard, both in Dauphin County.

The article also cited Harvest Seasonal Grill & Wine Bar in Susquehanna Township as a good farm-to-fork dining option, as well as Hershey's Chocolate World and Premiere #1 Limousine.

PA Farm Show Complex & Expo Center Selects SAVOR as F&B Provider

Posted July 1, 2017

The PA Farm Show Complex and Expo Center announced SAVOR is the new exclusive catering and concessions provider for the complex, beginning July 1, 2017. Over the last 30 years, SAVOR has catered receptions for private small gatherings to 30,000 plus events. They offer food and concession services to more than 140 locations throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

SAVOR is looking to tailor their operations, menus, and supply chain to support the local producers and to partner with the businesses who share the PA Farm Complex’s commitment to ‘PA Preferred’ suppliers for quality, sustainability, and freshness, according to Scott Campanella, Senior VP for SAVOR. 

SAVOR wants to re-imagine the concession operations with an eye on PA Agriculture and has introduced Executive Chef Stephanie Gelberd who previously featured Pennsylvania farm products at the café at Phipps Botanical Garden in Pittsburgh. See the original article posted HERE.

New Courtyard by Marriott opens on Chocolate Avenue in Hershey, PA

Posted June 2017

Courtyard by Marriott in Hershey 2017

A new 120-room Courtyard by Marriott opened on Chocolate Avenue in Hershey in June 2017.

The four-story hotel, owned by Bears Creek Hershey Hotel LLC, will employ 26 full-time staff. According to local newspaper Pennlive.com, this property was a joint development between Shaner Hotels and Chafia Capital Partners, a real estate investment and private equity firm. 

The property will be managed by Shaner Hotel Holdings LP, and was financed by CNB Bank.

Courtyard Hershey Chocolate Avenue has a guest laundry, fitness room, indoor pool and a business center. The hotel also features the Courtyard Refreshing Business lobby which includes a bar. The lobby has flexible seating options ranging from a communal table to private booths with high-definition televisions. Guest rooms offer free Wi-Fi.

Shaner Hotels owns and manages 50 hotels across the United States, Italy and the Bahamas. Shaner, located in the State College area, operates Courtyard Harrisburg West/Mechanicsburg in Lower Allen Township and Courtyard Shippensburg in Southampton Township.

The Hotel Hershey Named Bill Hendrix New GM as Brian O'Day Retires

Posted May 1, 2017

Bill Hendrix was promoted to the position of general manager of The Hotel Hershey on May 1, 2017. Hendrix has been in leadership roles at the property for more than a decade, which includes his most recent position as the hotel’s assistant general manager.

The Hotel's past general manager, Brian O’Day announced his retirement that would begin in April 30, after 14 years of service as general manager at The Hotel Hershey.

In his new position, Hendrix will oversee the entire operation of The Hotel Hershey. He will also oversee the operation of Hershey Laundry & Dry Cleaning. Hendrix has more than 23 years of rooms, housekeeping and front of house experience in the hotel and resort industries throughout the United States.

Prior to joining Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, Hendrix spent five years at various Ritz-Carlton properties. He also has seven years of experience with Four Seasons at properties including Four Seasons Hotel at Beverly Hills and Four Season Resort and Club in Irving, Texas.

Author: Rick Dunlap

Public Relations Director
Visit Hershey & Harrisburg
3211 North Front Street, Suite 301 A, Harrisburg, PA 17110